Being a parent in a world filled with social media is not easy. What makes it even more difficult is that parents of today's teens are pioneers and the social media landscape is changing so rapidly. However, there is something that you can do to keep your teens safe. Learn social media privacy settings to protect your teens.
Once your kids are 13 or older, they are legally allowed on all social networks. If you ban your teens from using social media they will probably use it behind your back and then you can't help them. The best thing for you to do is know what social networks they are on, learn all about them, use them yourself, and most important, learn everything you can about their privacy settings and security. In How To Keep Your Teens Safe On Social Media, I have already summarized or linked to the privacy policies of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and SnapChat. Show your teens these privacy settings and implore them to use them for their safety. Good luck and please feel free to ask any questions in the comments.
I obviously don't mean all children need cellphones. I am talking about the children who leave the home on a regular basis without their parents to go to school or something similar. Children ages 5 or 6 through 11 or 12, should have a simple cellphone that allows them to contact their parents. By age 13 they are ready for a smartphone.
There are three reasons that adults often use to argue children shouldn't have cellphones at this age:
- We all grew up without cellphones and we didn't have a problem. - Yes, but you had access to payphones when you were children. Payphones are now virtually extinct. And many children are reluctant or too shy to ask to go to the school office or to use a friend's phone if something is wrong.
- Cellphones are dangerous for children - The phones I am talking about simple phones without Internet. They are making your child safer because they can contact you if they get into a dangerous situation. And if you are worried about radiation, because there is very little to do on these phones, your kids won't be using them when them very much.
- Cellphones are expensive - Actually Smartphones are expensive, many of these simple cellphones are relatively inexpensive and don't require contracts. You can often pay as you go.
If you are considering getting your child a cellphone, take a look at these 4 Simple Cellphones for Children. These are some of the most popular cellphones for children on the market right now and they all have different features so you are sure to find something just right for your family.
Kids love using mobile devices. While many parents worry about the time their kids spend texting, smartphones and tablets can also be used for fun, creative and educational activities. The best learning apps are those which your kids don't even think of as educational.
During a search for apps that kids, parents and teachers love and that kids learn from, whether academically or creatively, I put together a list of 10 Best Kids Apps for Learning. The age range for these apps starts at two-years-old and goes up through teenagers. And these are all apps that your kids will love to play with and will learn with at the same time. Smartphones and tablets can be put to very good use with quality learning apps for kids.
Lots of media attention has been given to the idea of Facebook opening their systems to kids under 13, even though we all know that many kids lie about their age to go ahead and participate anyway. Three moms got together, and decided they did not want their kids to have to lie about their age to have a fun, interactive, online social experience with their friends.
Hilary DeCesare and her team created Everloop, the social media site for kids under 13. It has seen explosive growth recently, and gives kids the chance to engage with other kids that share their interests. While it does have many similar features compared to other social networks, there are some unique things as well. Namely, the focus on safety, parent involvement, and the age-specific design for kids under 13. The folks at Everloop are gaining international attention, and they deserve it, they've got a cool online experience going here that kids will love.
As kids are back in school, one of the best uses of technology is to help kids ease back into their academics. Summer can be great for hitting the reset button, and getting a break from school work, but sometimes it can take a while for the fundamentals to come back. There are tons of great websites out there to help kids with academics. Here are 5 of the best ones I've found to help kids of various age groups get the cob webs out of their brain. Each one has a different specialty and focus, but each one is really good at engaging their cyber-students in the learning process.
You may have heard of the great app on Apple's new devices called "Find My iPhone." Exactly what it sounds like, the app runs a GPS search for your device, in the rare and sad event that you misplace it. I don't think I had ever used it for anything other than fun (checking on which store my wife went to for my birthday, etc.), until a few weeks ago. My heart dropped when I realized I didn't have my precious phone while on a road trip down south. I could live without email and phone contact for a few days, but I started to panic when I realized what I lost in pictures and videos of my family (should have read up on how to back up my iPhone sooner).
But, once I got out of the boondocks, I was able to connect to WiFi, and you won't believe the story that goes along with my lost iPhone.
With all the iPads and Samsung Galaxies around, kids are taking notice, and wanting to have their own touch screen tablet to play on, just like Mom and Dad. They want to play games, send email, and listen to music just like their older friends or parents. The toy industry has not wasted any effort in helping our little ones get their hands on a new tablet, that's designed especially for them. When you start researching, there are many options out there for parents to choose from. I've narrowed it down here to 5 of the best tablets available for kids. Depending on the age of your child, and what features you're looking for, these options are a great place to start.
A startling number of teenagers today have admitted to sexting, or sending nude or suggestive photos to someone through the use of a cell phone. Many parents, sadly, are unaware that this is happening, and many kids are unaware of the dangers involved.
Besides the obvious idea that most of us don't ever want to have a photo like that distributed electronically, sexting can have dire consequences. Many criminal charges have been filed as a result of sexting, and this issue has resulted in embarrassment, harassment, and in some cases, suicide.
We have to educate our kids on the dangers, set boundaries, and help them think beyond the moment. If you're a parent of a teen, this probably sounds familiar. I've heard so many parents say, "If only we could get our teenager to think beyond the moment, that would solve a lot of problems!" With the issue of sexting, we have to take strong action to protect and educate our kids. They'll thank us later.
They're everywhere. You've seen them at the mall, at the coffee shop, at school, and at home. I'm talking about teenagers with their faces bent down looking at a smart phone screen. And of course it's not just teenagers, adults are some of the worst about swapping any real eye contact or interaction for a check of the Facebook status, or a quick Tweet to let the world know the portion size at their favorite restaurant.
As a parent, what can you do to allow your kids to enjoy the benefits of this technology, without it sucking the life out of their "real" (non-virtual) relationships? How can we train the next generation to have healthy face-to-face conversations when more and more kids seem to be face-planted to their iPhone? As more and more parents are buying their tweens and teens smart phones, we have to ask the important questions when it comes to their safety and well-being. What can we do as parents to make sure this fantastic technology is being used in an appropriate and safe way by our young person? I have some thoughts on the issue.
There's constant discussion about when kids should be introduced to technology, how much is too much, and appropriate ways for parents to protect kids from the inherent dangers. This product from Leapfrog is a great way to introduce little ones to computers. It's called My Own Leaptop. Think of it as a mini-laptop for your toddler. Specifically designed for kids from 2-4 years old, this little-guy laptop is a great addition to the family's technology toys.
Besides being a real, functioning toy, My Own Leaptop gives little ones the chance to learn their alphabet and letter recognition, as well as practice making musical sounds on the keyboard. As a parent, you can personalize the laptop to actually say your child's name at certain times as they're using it. If that wasn't enough, you can actually pick from 8 different emails, that, to your kid, will feel like a customized email message from mom. Just hook the tiny computer up to your regular home computer using the USB cable provided, download the software, and you have a nice internet portal to make a more custom experience. I've listed all the things I love about this product, as well as some "wish list" items that would make it even better.