Durable Human (2 book series)

Tag Archives: design

Parents Go Legal on Austin Schools over Student iPads

"We Need to Know" Graphic by EISD Parents for Responsible Use of Technology in School Facebook Group

The mother of a 6-year-old who accessed photos of topless women on his school-issued iPad believes his Austin,Texas school system has not done enough to protect students, so she and other parents are taking legal action.

At a board meeting of the Eanes Independent School District, Meaghan Edwards used the Texas public information act to request terms of service for every website, app, and software product used by district students during the last and next school years.

“If you’re following the rules, these questions will be easy to answer,” Edwards said at the June 16 meeting. Because it was an open forum, board members did not respond with comments.   

So That Parents May Understand

Two separate public information requests were submitted. The more detailed posed dozens of questions Edwards and others hope will Continue reading

New Tools Help People Set Tech Boundaries

Screen Time Screen Shot

Hooray for the big tech companies who’ve enhanced their products to offer better customer control.

Apple was surprisingly quick to roll out Screen Time, a feature that iPhone and iPad users automatically receive for free with the iOS12 update. The improvements come only a year after iPod creator Tony Fadell bemoaned “We have zero data on our habits with these devices”. Now you have your data, right down to how often you pick up your phone. You can also track exactly what you do on the device so you can better manage how you spend your time.

A Boon for Parents

Screen Time is especially life-changing for parents who now can oversee Continue reading

Have a Slightly Risky Christmas: Exciting Non-Tech Gift Ideas for Kids

Chistmas stocking filled with coal

Lots of kids only have shiny objects on their holiday lists and it’s hard to imagine what would entice them that isn’t tech-related. But unplugged gifts can compete, especially if they’re just risky enough to cause a jolt of adrenaline, as do their screen-based rivals.

The gifts on this list not only pack a thrill, they also build kids’ mental, physical, and social skills, and might even draw your family closer together:

Tickle a preschooler’s fancy with a (play) knife

Little kids love slicing through the bread, tomatoes and other wooden foodstuffs in Melissa and Doug’s sandwich-making set. Besides the mental math your child does to separate and arrange the Velcro-joined pieces, this toy builds manual dexterity. Hand-eye coordination is taking a hit of late, as evidenced by young adults who are smart enough to train as surgeons, but they can’t sew.
Melissa and Doug wooden toy for fun cutting wooden food

For elementary-aged kids, a spooky night caper alone in the woods

No need to leave the comforts of home. To play the award-winning Shadows in the Forest board game, kids need only turn out the lights. Players roll glow-in-the-dark dice and take turns using a teeny LED lantern to search out mysterious creatures called Shadowlings. Opponents use cunning and logic to keep their Shadowlings in the shadows.

Shadows in the Forest Board Game

A thrifty holiday gift for older and younger kids

Toddler blowing bubbles

Bubbles! How are they slightly risky? They’re guaranteed to cause unpredictable movement. That, in turn, builds physical durability as kids stand up and get exercise, which became sorely lacking as the pandemic spread.

Blowing bubbles also helps little kids learn how to speak. By puckering up and exhaling, they strengthen breath control and muscles in the back of the tongue. They also practice a bunch of sounds, including /w/ and the /o/, /oo/, along with /k/ and /g/, according to Michelle Boisvert, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, RSP-ADHD, founder of the speech language pathologists’ reporting platform, easyReportPRO. You can buy bottles of bubbles in bulk and bubble refills at Bubble Tree USA.

Non-tech gift idea for Fortnite-prone teens: a wand of red-hot metal

Kids can’t not get creative adorning the ligneous shapes in T.S. Shure Woodburning Creations Kit. Even the box is burnable! Sure, they could possibly singe a finger, but the kit is rated 13 and older. Oh, alright. If you’re gonna get nervous, buy leather gloves to go with.

picture of child's woodburning kit

Enjoy right along with them: a genuine sack of coal

This is no punishment. Who knew you could make beautiful crystals out of coal briquettes, but here are the directions. To make the experiment work, you also need a bottle of the laundry agent, bluing.  This activity teaches your child hands-on lessons in chemistry and earth science—plus how smart and fun mom or dad can be.

Besides needing 3-D, 360-degree full-sensory play, kids crave your undivided attention. To fulfill those wishes, print out fill-in-the-blank coupons (thanks, NewDream.org!) and create your own fun, like a family kayak (or camping or sledding) adventure.

Little ones don’t hold much sway in household decision-making, so love redeeming coupons such as:

  • Let me stay up 15 minutes past bedtime
  • Read me an extra bedtime story
  • Drop everything and play with me

When the holidays are over, continue your tech-management momentum with this free downloadable Durable Family Pledge. Family members choose five life-balance habits to try over 4-week period. Long enough that they just might stick.

Download the Durable Family Pledge for FREE

About the author: Jenifer Joy Madden is a health journalist, digital media professor, and parent of three durable young adults. Her words have informed millions on news outlets including ABC News, The Washington Post, and in her books, How To Be a Durable Human: Revive and Thrive in the Digital Age Through the Power of Self-Design and The Durable Human Manifesto: Practical Wisdom for Living and Parenting in the Digital World.

Be sure to also see all the Durable Human holiday gifts (mugs, clothing, tech hygiene gifts, book, and courses) here.

Insights Behind the TEDx Talk Durable Humans are Smarter Than Their Phones

Kids with arms around huge durable Sequoia tree.

Top TED talker Brene Brown nailed it at the Mom2Summit when she declared: “I’ve never done anything that was worth much unless I was scared shitless and nauseous.”

That’s exactly how I felt stepping onto the red circle at TEDx Tysons in Tysons, Virginia. But as I delivered “Durable Humans are Smarter Than Their Phones,” I was uplifted by the inspiration of a host of brilliant people I want to thank here.

Copious credit goes to Hilarie Cash, co-founder of ReStart, the nation’s first Internet addiction treatment center. Hilarie invited me in to meet people like “Jeff,” the young tech addict whose heartbreaking yet hopeful story you can read about here.

ReStart’s track record proves that simple things like cooking dinner and mopping the floor can help young people break the stranglehold of addiction and return to success in real life. By creating and sustaining Attachment, Hilarie told me in this interview, parents can help kids Continue reading

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