Kids need parenting. They need love and boundaries in all areas of their lives. Especially when it comes to technology.
We all know the problem when it comes to teens and the internet: The Human Brain. And how it develops. The pre-frontal cerebral cortex is the last area of the brain to fully come on line, which is unfortunate because that’s where impulse control resides. Which explains why teens do what teens sometimes do.
When we grew up, impulsive youthful mistakes were a mostly survivable blip, a moment in time that came and went. Things are different now.
With the advent of the social web, comments, quips, posts, pics, vids and blogs can persist beyond the moment, can resonate and amplify. And do real harm.
Which presents a significant parenting challenge. How are we supposed to supervise these kids and their tech? They live and breathe the stuff. It’s like their brains are wired differently (some scientific evidence suggests they are). Seems like every day there is some new story of kids doing something horrible on the internet and there is some new app that’s mostly naked people and there’s a deadline at work and a lacrosse tournament in Waco and the salmon in the fridge has probably gone bad.
I suggest you:
b) support this kickstarter campaign
c) throw out the salmon
While “a” and “c” are pretty obvious, allow me explain “b.” The funds raised by this kickstarter campaign will be used to underwrite the creation of a multimedia curriculum which will help the whole family prepare for the onslaught of social media. Think of it as Drivers Ed for a child’s first Facebook account. With a twist. Parents go to school, too. The course will be made available through LookOut Social.
The curriculum, which will be similar to a multimedia e-book and made available for purchase through the LookOut Social website, has a dual track (2-e-books-in-1), which not only prepares kids to be responsible online citizens, and adults to be capable parents in the online sphere, but also stimulates conversation between parents and kids, before complications arise.
It works like this:
-Parents and tweens come to an understanding that opening social accounts is conditional upon completion of the course
-Parents get a carefully researched look at the realities of the social media landscape, a glimpse at how kids use social tools, the pitfalls, techniques for reasonable supervision
-Tweens get an authentic look at the realities of living online, in a voice that is age-appropriate, sometimes related by their peers and rich with actionable information
- Parents and kids engage in facilitated conversations on topics like: manners, voice, bullying, broadcasting risky behavior, privacy, reputation (aka: sex, alcohol, drugs and violence)
Here's an outline of the "chapters" in the curriculum:
1)When does Social begin?
2) First Social Software -- Interactive gaming for young children
3) Parent/Child Social Media Personality Diagnostic
4) First Owned Device: What’s the best first device for kids?
5)Developing Online Voice: Managing Tone & Manners
7)Applications : Apps are curriculum, what will you teach
9)Social Networks Landscape
10)Social Media Best Practices: Words , Photos , Videos , Links , Friending
12)Drugs and Alcohol
17)Innovation and the future
In writing curriculum for parents, I'll draw on the years of research and writing on kids, families and tech while Chief Creative Officer at DadLabs, a position that also allowed me to develop deep network of authors, experts, researchers, doctors and other potential interview subjects that I will certainly draw on in the process.
When writing for teens, I'll benefit from the experience of writing "Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts," a filmmaking handbook for young adults that is now in its second edition and translated into seven languages, and my eleven years in the high school classroom.
HomePage, as a sort of Social Media 101 course, is just the first step, of course, just a part of what LookOut Social will offer.
Beyond HomePage, LookOut will offer social media monitoring, alerts on emerging trends and technologies, and counseling on how to manage the inevitable moments when difficulties arise. LookOut social has already built an online service for families to social network safely. The service allows parents and their teens to:
- review social posts made by the child and their friends as well as social posts made about the child
- learn from analysis added to the social posts that describes the risks associated with the post content
- learn from additional educational material similar to HomePage about best practices for safe social networking
- manage the social posts (e.g. Edit, Delete, Remove Tag, etc.) as necessary
The online service will cover all kinds is social posts such as status updates, photos, videos, and friends.
HomePage is a first step in creating a comprehensive content and technology solution for families living in a highly social, ever changing, increasingly plugged in, documented and transparent world.
Creating HomePage (writing and shooting videos) will begin a the close of this campaign and will continue until the LookOut Social beta testing begins September 1st, 2013.
I would appreciate your support in bringing this into virtual reality.
Risks and challenges
This is a very ambitious content project, on a very short timeline. There are multimedia components that increase the complexity and the possibilities for problems. I would say this is not unlike writing a book and producing a documentary film at the same time over the course of five months.
Fortunately, I’ve done this before. Back in my days with DadLabs, we collaborated to produce our book “The DadLabs Guide to Fatherhood: Pregnancy and Year One” while simultaneously shooting daily video episodes. The DadLabs catalog not includes almost 1000 videos!
Another tricky aspect: creating something that tweens will consume.
I think my experience in writing “Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts” (now in two editions and seven languages) and my years in the classroom will help ensure that the content is palatable to the target audience. Having teenagers myself also helps. They are a tough audience, believe me, I know. We will adjust and revise based on feedback we get from the kids.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)