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 →
If you have a teen applying for college, the New York Times article, “They loved your GPA then they saw your tweets”, may invoke a silent scream. The article highlights the growing trend of admission officers looking at college applicants social media profiles. It shares how inappropriate tweets and posts may influence a college’s decision.
The article references a Kaplan Test Prep study which found 31% of admission officers have checked an applicant’s online profile. This is an increase from 26% in 2012. Although this number is increasing, most applicants will not have their social media profiles checked. Colleges receive too many applications to review every applicant’s online profile. According the New York Time’s article, admission officers are more likely to go online if they receive information about a student’s profile or they want to learn more about an award/project mentioned in the application.
The good news is out of the applications reviewed only 30% found something that negatively impacted admission. This is down from 35% in 2012 “Many students are becoming more cautious about what they post, and also savvier about strengthening privacy settings and circumventing search,” said Christine Brown, Executive Director of College Admissions programs,Kaplan Test Prep. Kaplan’s student survey showed that 22% had changed their searchable names on social media, 26% had untagged themselves from photos, and 12% had deleted their social media profiles altogether.
Even though an admission officer is unlikely to check out your teen’s profile, it is still a good idea to review it. Other people may search their name online. Some scholarship organizations research applicants online. Plus, their new roommate or the cute student in their class may check them out online. They should spend some time senior year giving their teenage digital profile a makeover.
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 →