Created: March 2020
Last Updated: April 2020
|Group or individual activity:||Group|
|Child / children ages:||11-16 years old|
|Online / offline elements:||This activity contains an offline activity and discussion — both of which don’t require computers or mobile devices with Internet access.|
Main area: Digital (Literacy)
Additional areas: Digital Access, Media (Literacy), Safety and Well-being
|License:||This activity has been created by Sandra Cortesi and Alexa Hasse from the Youth and Media team at the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University and is licensed under a Creative Commons AttributionShareAlike 4.0 International license. Illustrations by Rebecca Smith.|
About this Activity
This activity focuses on encouraging families to reflect on the similarities and differences in how each family member uses digital devices and platforms on a daily basis, as well as before and, now, during COVID-19.
This activity is designed to help family members think about the way they use digital technology and how the use of digital technology can enhance or challenge their everyday lives.
[For participants/family members - optional] Computers or mobile devices with Internet access
[One per participant] Colored pens or pencils
[One per participant] Poster paper/large sheet(s) of paper
[For participants - optional] Printer
Report: Teens and Their Experiences on Social Media - by Monica Anderson and Jingjing Jiang (Pew Research Center)
First, as a family:
Select a timeframe, such as a two-hour window (e.g., 7:00 - 9:00 am, 12:00 - 2:00 pm, 6:00 - 8:00 pm). Alternatively, depending on the frequency of use and/or access family members have to digital technologies, you could also select a day, week, or month you would like to focus on.
Then, each family member should:
Take one sheet of paper.
On the paper, draw a line to use as the timeline.
On the left and right side of the line, add the hours of the day (or the days of the week or month).
On the timeline, indicate when you use digital technologies (i.e., what devices, apps, and platforms each person uses at a given time) and what you use them for. Whenever possible, add numbers to each activity (e.g., 10 emails, five snaps, three individual messages, and 60 messages on group chats over WhatsApp). The more info family members add, the more fun the conversation in the Discussion tends to be.
Take two sheets of paper.
On each paper, draw a line to use as the timeline.
On the timeline #1, indicate when you used digital technologies (i.e., what devices, apps, and platforms each person uses at a given time) and what you used them for before practicing social distancing and spending most of your time at home. On the timeline #2, indicate when you use digital technologies (i.e., what devices, apps, and platforms each person uses at a given time) and what you use them for now as we are practicing social distancing and spending most of your time at home. Whenever possible, add numbers to each activity (e.g., 10 emails, five snaps, three individual messages and 60 messages on group chats over WhatsApp). The more info family members add, the more fun the conversation in the Discussion tends to be.
Illustration 1: Adult sample timeline before practicing social distancing.
Illustration 2: Adult sample timeline while practicing social distancing.
Illustration 3: Youth sample timeline before practicing social distancing.
Illustration 4: Youth sample timeline while practicing social distancing.
As a family
Compare the timelines (from option #1 or option #2) and discuss what each family member created.
What are the various similarities (in terms of activities (e.g., eating breakfast or not, the means of transportation to work or school)) and differences in how you engage with digital technologies (e.g., who uses what apps, for how long, how frequently?)?
For those who explored option #2, are there similarities and/or differences in how you engage with digital technologies before, versus, now, during social distancing? If so, what are they?
If there are differences, what do you like the most about the way you engage with technologies now, versus before social distancing? What do you like the least?
Are there any apps and/or platforms only one person is familiar with (e.g., Snapchat, TikTok, LinkedIn)? If so, have that person introduce the app and/or platform to others (in whatever way they feel most comfortable).
Are there any apps and/or platforms that someone has not yet used, but wants to try (which may or may not be shown in the timelines)?
Are some people using the same apps and tools, but possibly managing different numbers (e.g., numbers of emails you get, numbers of likes for a picture on Instagram, notifications for friends who have tagged you in a post)?
Looking at each of your timelines, what part of using technologies do you most look forward to? Why?
Is there anything about your timeline you would change? If so, what would it be (e.g., maybe you would like to use Instagram or YouTube to post content you create online, or use email to connect with more people)? What do you think are two steps you can take over the next two weeks that would help you reach this goal?