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.
The newness of summer may have worn off by now, and you might be looking for a way to beat the summertime blues. Online gaming has exploded in growth over the last decade. In the summer months, when it's too hot outside, and the kids are tired of the pool, an online game can be a great way to keep them occupied. There are so many great sites out there, and they include everything from basic educational games, to complex strategy games that pit multiple players against each other online. If you're looking for a time waster, or a brain teaser, or to play a version of one of your old favorites, you can find almost any type of game online.
I found five of the best online gaming sites out there. All of them allow you play for free, and you will not have enough time to play all that is offered on these sites. From the classic "Battleship" game, to NASCAR racing and Sword Fighting, the online gaming world will definitely keep your kids (and you) entertained. Have fun!
Many parents are looking for ways to help their kids stay engaged in learning over the summer months. Sheppard Software is a great resource for parents who want to supplement their child's education.
If you're a parent whose child is starting Kindergarten or First Grade next fall, you may be looking for a way to help them prepare and gain the foundation they'll need to be successful. While the website appeals to lots of different age groups, there are some great specific features that will help your preschooler.
Some surveys have indicated that a startling number of people will accept friend requests on Facebook from people they don't know. As soon as they hit "accept," they allow that person into every photo, video, comment, post, and interaction that they've posted on Facebook. Just as you're concerned with where your kids hang out, and who they're with, you should also be concerned with their online connections. Facebook is the world's most popular social network, and chances are either you have an account, or know lots of people that do. So as our children enter the online social networking world, how can we as parents engage in a healthy way, without getting the dreaded "helicopter parent" label?
I've compiled some great conversation starters to help you help your kids be smart and safe on Facebook. Use these as initiators to help, as you engage your child in ongoing conversations about their use of technology.