The Internet can feel like a jungle to the uninitiated—full of weird sights and sounds, a little terrifying, and very hard to navigate. We gave a talk to parents at the incredible BB&N high school last week, and to commemorate the event, I put together a list of 8 essential links for parents who want to understand their childrens’ world a little better. So: click around! Explore! It’s what all the cool kids are doing these days.

Learning 2.0: 23 Things

This list of 23 services and activities to try out on the Internet provides
a guided, exploratory tour of a small slice of what the Internet has to
offer. The best way for parents to better guide their children through the
ins and outs of the Internet is for the parents to understand it better themselves. Completing these fun digital adventures is a huge step toward understanding the capabilities and dangers of the Internet.

Net Family News
Make sense of the latest developments in children’s privacy and activities online. Net Family News publishes a blog and a weekly email newsletter that address these issues and explain their relevance and implications for

Connect Safely
Great forums where parents can ask questions about children’s privacy and activities online. Also associated with Net Family News. Includes a prominent focus on cyberbullying.

Parent.Thesis Blog
Two tech-savvy parents explore the ways that technology intersects with
their lives and the lives of their children. A great way to learn about
cutting-edge technologies.

Totally Wired
Although Anastasia Goodstein no longer updates this blog, it remains an invaluable resource for parents seeking to understand the online worlds of
their children. Note especially the right-hand list of links; categories
like “Where Teens Blog” provide an unusually comprehensive collection of
sites that parents should be aware of. This list of links serves as an
essential jumping-off point for any parent hoping to delve into
understanding the online realities their children face.

PBS Frontline: Growing Up Online: Parenting in the Internet Age

Frontline’s recent documentary, “Growing Up Online,” provides an essential (if somewhat alarmist) view into the digital world that children encounter on a daily basis. The documentary’s site also serves as a thorough compendium of resources and information on the topic. This particular page offers expert perspectives on how to conceptualize the task of parenting when so much of young people’s activity occurs “invisibly” online.

Why Youth Heart Myspace
This classic talk by Berkman fellow danah boyd provides an essential primer on the appeals of social networking. Though this talk was later expanded into an academic paper, the notes to the original presentation provide an engaging introduction to the matter.

A YouTube Primer for Parents

Short video, from 2006 but still relevant, telling parents what they need to know about YouTube.

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