Chapter 10: Technology Use in Family Health and Money Management

10.3 Learning Activities

Online privacy check

Think your social media site is secure? Commonsense Media offers privacy evaluation of a number of popular sites, along with advice for ensuring online privacy. Check out the page, explore the questions asked in their site evaluations, look at the criteria for pass, warning, and fail ratings, and review the criteria for security testing in categories that include data sharing, device safety, account protection, device security, and software updates.

Then select several sites for evaluation. Type the name in the box “search for a privacy evaluation.”

For example, As of 2022, it was given a 55% “warning” rating. Read about safety, security, privacy, compliance, and the other factors that this rating is based on. When you apply this evaluation to Instagram, TikTok, or other sites (or games that a family or child might play), what concerns might you have going forward? What might be the “deal breaker” for you in choosing not to continue to use a particular site? Or does it not really matter?


How far can it go? [data tracking and health information]

Threats to the provision of health care, including abortion services, go beyond the availability of doctors and clinics. As this piece from Shira Ovide in the New York Times observes, data trackers will identify the location of individuals crossing state lines, and where abortions and other health care are being offered.

Beyond awareness of this data tracking, what are the recourse for individual citizens’ human rights to privacy, safety, confidentiality?


Children and internet safety

Play Reality Check, selecting at least one of the five missions? How might this game be helpful to a 9-year-old child? What about to a 16-year-old, who has a better understanding of internet safety?


Check your spending on technology

In this activity you’ll estimate the amount you spend on technology for a month and a year. Using this form, identify the amount of money you spend in each category. This is for you, so be honest and use as much flexibility as you need. The costs include:

  • Monthly charges for phone data usage/plans, streaming services, and internet service
  • Occasional charges for peripherals (e.g., cords, cases, rentals) and repairs
  • Annual costs (e.g., service plans, warranties)
  • Major costs (devices, annualized for the expected life; if you purchase a laptop for $1,000 every 4 years, for example, your yearly cost would average $250.)

Once you have the totals, do a sum for the year, and calculate the monthly average.

  • Consider how this compares to the amount you spend in other categories. If you spend  $2,000 a year on technology and $7,200 a year on rent, your technology costs are 28% of what you pay for rent. Consider your total yearly expenses, which might include tuition, lodging/rent, utilities, food, transportation, and clothing. What is the portion of your total expenses goes to technology use and access?
  • Now consider this amount of money for technology use and access for a single parent with two children living at the poverty level of $21,960 per year. Her household budget will include child care for the two children (on average about $226/week or about $20,000). Consider the many ways in which she’ll need to stretch her money; how would she pay for wireless access, a smartphone and data plan, and hardware? If you were in her situation, how could you make the technology dollar stretch?
  • You may want to do this activities with others and see how your technology costs compare. What figures into the variation in your costs?



Explore games and apps to teach children about money

Check out “10 Interactive financial websites that teach kids money management skills.” Select three of the websites with a child or group of children in mind (most are written for ages 5–18 years). Explore the ways in which children would learn about spending, saving, and earning money. For your child/group of children, would the site be engaging? Why or why not? Does the site invite participation by an adult or other person who could facilitate the child’s learning and motivation?



eHealth Literacy scenarios

Watch this video tutorial on evaluating health websites. Then select a number between 1 and 16 and, using the scenarios on this document, go online to find information to help resolve the problem that aligns with the number you picked. You can either a) do a search through a browser like Google, DuckDuckGo, or Firefox and select the first few links offered, or b) intentionally find sites that you think will be useful for your question. In both cases, be sure to identify at least one social media source (e.g., Facebook, TikTok, Instagram).


Eating disorders: A critical perspective on technology influence

The chapter discussed the many ways in which social media, the internet, and applications can be beneficial to those dealing with or recovering from an illness, including eating disorders. On the other hand, those predisposed to developing an eating disorder and those dealing with anorexia, bulimia, overeating, or other conditions may be significantly influenced by negative messages seen online. Explore both sides of the issue, form an opinion, and make recommendations for action. Given our current state and use of technology, do you find it more beneficial or more harmful for eating disorders? What are your recommendations for a) the design of social media platforms and b) use by individuals?




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Critical Perspectives on Technology and the Family Copyright © 2022 by Susan K. Walker is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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