Raising digital citizens: defining boundaries

A few years ago, a former neighbour kept a cow and a sheep in a paddock behind our house. We enjoyed watching the sheep run back and forth along its side of the fence whenever it saw my oldest. One day, the wily cow noticed our grass was greener and decided the boundary between it and its next meal was simple to breach. We came home one evening to a half-eaten cherry tree and a completely devastated garden. We realised it wasn’t safe for our children to play in the backyard anymore, so we built a better fence.

As parents…


How family values can guide your family’s use of social media and digital technology

Image by author

*Author’s note: I’ve been in the IT industry for over 20 years and have created a variety of web applications. While there are many positives to our increasingly online lifestyle, I am also hyper-aware of its negatives. Despite my IT expertise, I had no idea how best to guide my young digital citizens. I want to share with you my ongoing research. I have found this process humbling, reassuring and encouraging — I hope you do too. Parents, we got this!!

Digital technology and social media are here to stay. As parents, we may have chosen to opt-out or limit…


Not all digital technology use should be treated equally

Image by sharpemtbr from Pixabay

Typically when people find out I design and build web-based applications the topic inevitably turns to what type of technology use we allow in the home. Most people seem pleasantly surprised to find out that my children aren’t playing the latest video games and in general their technology use is very limited.

Did you know that Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs (co-founder of Microsoft and Apple Computers respectively for those living under a rock the last few decades), significantly limited their children’s use of technology? You will find that many in Silicon Valley restrict their technology use as…


Computational thinking: abstract thinking

Image by creative2afault from Pixabay

Campfire stories are a rite of passage for many children and most people either have a memory of sitting by a warm fire on a cool night roasting marshmallows and telling stories or have seen movies with this common trope. Many stories that I have told are based on real life experiences. When you tell a story based on a real-life experience you’ve had, you can use abstract thinking to embellish it into a new and more exciting campfire story.

abstract thinking is the ability to think about something that is not specific or tangible, as well as the capability…


Computational thinking: decomposition

Photo by Jens Mahnke from Pexels

My fondest childhood memories begin with me opening the front door at the end of a primary school day. I would be enveloped by the warm comforting smell of buttery braided bread. Instantly, I knew our grandparents had arrived for another surprise visit.

For my 10th birthday, I asked my mum if she could make the delicious bread. She called my grandmother to ask for the recipe. “Oh dear, I have no idea how to make that bread. I’ve never had a recipe.” …


Computational thinking: algorithms

Image by rahulsankraft from Pixabay

One of the wonderful aspects of being a coder is the ability to work from anywhere. My favourite “office” is my local cafe. I enjoy casual conversations during work breaks with locals and tourists. Inevitably, the question of what I do for a living gets brought up. When I state I am a coder I see their eyes quickly glaze over like the donuts in the cabinet. “Oh, I have no idea what you actually do?! It sounds good though.” When I explain to them that it’s not as esoteric as they’ve been led to believe through pop culture and…

Neysa K

Fascinated about life. Always looking for that next new thing to learn. A dabbler in everything a master at nothing. IT nerd by day. Co-founder herolabs.co.nz

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