This holiday season, one the most popular gadgets for kids is a tablet. In the UK, 24% of kids under 16 are asking for a tablet. Here in the US, there has been a five-fold increase in ownership of tabletsfor families with children under 8 years old. If your child has a tablet on their list or you are tired of sharing yours, I discovered some great resources on how to choose a kid friendly tablet.
There are so many tablet options. Do you get a tablet specifically designed for kids? Do you go with a family tablet? Do you want your child to be able to take photos? Do you want internet access? To answer all these questions, start with the Kid’s Tablet Guide 2013 from the Ireland Technology Blog. This article does a nice job of breaking down all the options available and what to look for when buying a tablet.
Once you decide on what you need, the next stop is Kid Tablets with wifi. This site reviews and compares different tablets for kids and families. Basically, your choices for tablets come in 3 categories: Learning Tablets, Kid Tablets and Family Tablets.
Learning Tablets (ages 2-6)
Learning tablets have a close system that only allows educational games and apps. According to PCadvisor, the two main kids’ learning tablets are Leapfrog’s LeapPad and VTech’s InnoTab. These tablets are great for younger kids. Kids can only download age appropriate content from the Leapfrog or VTech store. So, parents do not need to worry about them stumbling upon a YouTube video of Elmo swearing.Both of these tablets are cheaper than most but their apps are more expensive. Both received 4 out of 5 stars on Toys R Us and Amazon. If you cannot decide between the two, Kids Tablets with wi-fi has a side by side comparison. Continue reading →
Neither my teen or tween have any interest in joining Facebook. They tell me Facebook is the network for parents. Kids are moving to a host of different apps depending on their interests — Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Kik and Vine. Now, a social network is emerging to try and capture all these divergent interests – Pheed.
If you took every social app and smushed them together, you would have Pheed. On Pheed, users can share everything – text, pictures, videos, audio, and live broadcasts. According to Pheed, 81% of its user base is 14-25 years old. (Users must be over 13.) Scrolling through Pheed, you notice people aren’t using it in lieu of other apps. Pheed timelines are full of Vine videos, Instagram pictures and posts from other networks. This is the place where people bring it all together.
Pheed is a free app. Teens can sign up using their Twitter or Facebook account or an email address. Once in, Pheed walks them through setting up a profile containing their name, username and bio.
One feature I like is users can choose to hide the number of subscribers to their channel. Instead of displaying how many subscribers, it just says “Ghost”. I noticed many channels hide this number. Hopefully, this reduces the pressure to share questionable material just to attract subscribers. Continue reading →
“How much recreational screen time does your child or teenager consume daily?”
“Is there a television set or Internet-connected device in the child’s bedroom?”
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is encouraging all pediatricians to ask these two questions at every well-child visit. These questions are one of many suggestions in the updated AAP policy on Children, Adolescents, and the Media. The policy makes recommendations for how to guide kid’s media use for pediatricians, parents, schools, PTAs and other organizations. For parents, pediatricians are encouraging them to set limits on unsupervised screen time.
The Kaiser Family Foundation found on average 8-18 year-olds spend 7 hours and 38 minutes each day on entertainment media including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices. In fact, children and adolescents spend more time with media than they do any other activity except for sleeping. When kids are spending 7 1/2 hrs in front of screen, they are sacrificing other activities. It is this loss of time for exercise, hobbies, or the creativity that come with boredom that is affecting kids health.
A large of amount of this screen time is unsupervised. A recent Microsoft survey found on average most parents stop monitoring internet use by the time their child is 8 years old. Kids left alone in cyberspace are more likely to stumble upon content and advertising aimed at adults. The AAP’s report on Health Effects of Media on Children and Adolescents found some evidence that the continuous exposure to graphic violence and adult topics may lead some children to see risky and cruel behaviors as normal.