Digital Kids Tips – Let’s start with internet safety

Raise tech-savvy kids and maintain their health in mind and body. Find out more about digital citizenship, digital well-being and how to have a healthy diet of technology. 

Start by ensuring they are using the internet safely. Click the button below to recieve your free guide.

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Kim Mackenzy Andrews Children's Author

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Digital Citizenship for Parents

The one thing that all experts are all agreed upon, is the need to prepare children for the technlogical world.

WHEN TO UNPLUG -WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR FAMILY?

Parents are going to have to set the example so that children can develop good habits when using technology. This means deciding when to unplug and sticking to it. There are no hard and fast rules. It’s depends what works best for your family. It could be mealtimes, it might be bedtimes. It may also be car journeys or restaurants. Parents need to make the conscious decisions about when is a good time to for everyone to unplug and to have family time, strengthening relationships with their children. This is  hugely important for healthy child development.

It's not scientifically proven yet but there are concerns that over-using technology as a babysitting service is going to cause problems such as problems with attention, and ability for delayed gratification. It is believed attention is like a muscle, that can be developed. Tuning out distraction to focus on one is very helpful if it can be utilized in different ways. But computer games are designed to keep your attention so you don’t necessarily learn how to do this for yourself or apply it to other situations. 

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.DIGITAL OVERLOAD

For some children every day life or school life can seem boring compared to the spectacle of virtual reality they can access on their digital devices. Visual graphics and special effects overload can make processing information that is delivered in the classroom very challenging. This is because if children have become used to being over stimulated from computers they can find it difficult to process lower-level of stimulation. This is not going to prepare them well for success in the world. A balance must be found. The artificial world provides no dull moments at the moment it becomes quiet children crave entertainment. 

Children don't want to help in the kitchen or tidy up their toys because this is basic monotonous work which they reject.Parents are can be so busy that the easy option is to give their children digital gadgets to make them busy to. When children play outside in the natural environment they can learn and practice their social skills and often technology replaces this outdoor time.

SOCIAL SKILLS

Digital gadgets are not usually used to develop social skills. And yet most successful people in life have great social skills and this should be the priority for young children. Families can use digital media to play together because this encourages social interaction, bonding and learning at the same time. So playing videogames with children is a good way to demonstrate sportsmanship. There may be opportunities to introduce and share your own life experiences as you play the game.Teaching and modelling kindness and good manners because children are great mimics.

The brain is trainable and we trainable. If you want to ride a bike you learn bike riding skills, if you want to learn patience, you must teach your child to wait. If you want your child to be able to socialise you need to teach social skills. The same applies to all other skills.Too much technology can also disconnect children emotionally from their families. And this deprives them of the nutrition they need for healthy brain development. Parents need to think about their children's screen time in terms of what it may be displacing. Are they online instead of playing with their friends? Are they checking their phones instead of having a polite conversation with people in the room? If devices are replacing human interaction parents should be concerned. And they need to show a good example by demonstrating the balance use in their own device use. 

SETTING RULES

As a parents in this digital world there are some new rules that we ought to learn for ourselves in order that we can effectively teach them to our children. Children's digital literacy is strongly linked to parent or Internet use. Although parents underestimate mate the extent to which their children learn by modelling their parents online behaviours. Older siblings are also potential source of info Internet role model. Sometimes offering protectiveness to their younger siblings but they may also offer wider access to age inappropriate material to their younger brothers and sisters.

DAILY ROUTINES

It's okay to have a schedule that includes mealtimes, sleep times and technology time. It's okay for parents to think about what is good for their children not about what they want or they don't want. They will thank you for it later in life. Parenting is a hard job and it takes creativity to give them what is good for them because a lot of the time that may could be sit opposite of what they actually want. The basics are still the same children need nutritious food time spent outdoors and consistent bedtimes. You can teach children to tidy up toys, set the table and make their bed. Initially, you may need to make it fun so it’s associated with something positive. You can teach them social skills such as how to take turns, to share how to lose and win how to compromise and how to complement others how to use please and thank you.

Conclusion 

Unplugged time equals creativity.

Parents should remember that it is okay for children to have some time to feel to experience feeling bored, this is the first step to creativity. Digital media use like all other activities should have reasonable limits. Unstructured and off-line play stimulates creativity. Have an plugged playtime every day especially for very young children and try to join your children in this unplugged play whenever possible. It may be a good idea to create tech free zones.It's a good idea to turn off televisions that when you're not watching them because background TV can get in the way of face-to-face time with your children. Gradually increase the waiting time between I want and I get. 

 Recharge devices overnight but keep them outside your children's bedroom to help them avoid the temptation to use them when they should be sleeping. This encourages more family time, healthier eating habits and better sleep which are all critical for children's wellness.

 

Do you have any good tips for managing your family's screen time?

Useful links:-

https://youngminds.org.uk/resources/policy/resilience-for-the-digital-world/

Kim Mackenzy Andrews Children's Author

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KimMackenzyAndrewsChildrensAuthor 

Twitter:@Kim_M_Andrews

 

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Digital Optimists or Pessimists

Should we be Digital Optimists or Pessimists?

Although the Internet and technology represents both opportunities and risks for children, just restricting their access or removing the technology from their lives will not help raise a digital generation.

BALANCING THE RISKS

In order, to think about the balance between online risks and online opportunities we have to consider the benefits and how to develop these benefits the children. There are many things to be worried about, which we will met which we will also discuss.
Such as sites for chatting to strangers, anonymous messaging, sites for adult only content sites where people share and encourage race hate and self-harm. There are apps and services where messages can be sent very quickly which can be used to upset others. But we must remember that society has worried about technological changes in the past such as the printing press or the invention of television. Every technological revolution has brought concerns about potential effects on children's minds, on their behaviours and their moral compass. What the Internet has brought is new a new visibility to some very long-standing persistent problems. But the Internet is not the cause of human misery, people are.there are lots of organisations, give , example here, working to advise parents and teachers.
We must remember stop bolding that online opportunities correlate with the online risks in other words the more opportunities the more potential to encounter risks. But remember this is just like becoming more independent off-line. When children become more independent and encounter the world they also encounter more risks. To reduce the risks we will also be restricting their opportunities. We need to teach children to develop a resilience against potential harm.

POTENTIAL PROBLEMS OR NEGATIVE EFFECTS

Parent's naturally worry about the use of digital technology by children because of all these potential pitfalls and we know that children are very much more naive than adults and not yet emotionally and socially developed or prepared enough to deal effectively with many of these risks. And because children's level of maturity and judgement is still developing their far more susceptible to marketing, and to inappropriate social interactions, addictions to online games, texting, and potentially identity theft through revealing too much information online. Some researchers also suggest that children who engage frequently in social digital social networking are more narcissistic all concerned overly concerned with their appearance. Although it's not known whether it's just those children who are naturally more concerned with their appearance who are more attracted to social net working and also perhaps more sensitive to the experience?

There are many reasons that parents and teachers worry about children's engagement with the digital world. There are a multitude of potential risks are associated with children accessing technology. For example, if children access the Internet and supervised, or stay online for long periods of unbroken time. There's lots of research looking into the claims the concerns about children's cognitive, and emotional emotional and social development in these digital times. Claims are made that children are becoming more destructible, more impulsive and self obsessed. As a consequence they are less able, concentrate inorder to learn but also struggle more to enjoy life, and to thrive socially. There is also the potential for overuse of technology to cause poor sleep which in turn damages children's health. Other risks include access to online forums which can reinforce unhealthy behaviours such as self-harm. Other risks associated with children's use of the Internet include them accessing her aggressive violent gory content. Stalking and bullying, hostile peer-to-peer exchanges. Encountering inappropriate adult contant, Racist content, personal data misuse, gambling, and copyright infringement.

Some of the negative effects:

Children who play more violent online games seem more likely to have increased amount of aggressive thoughts and behaviours. And the more exposed they are to simulated violence the more immune face they can become to it, and more inclined they are to act violently themselves.
These effects can be worsened by the games interactive nature. So in many games, children are rewarded for being more violent. And the act of violence is done repeatedly. The active participation, repetition and reward are effective tools for learning behaviour. However the jury is still out and much there is much research further research is required on this issue.
It's unknown whether children are able to leave the emotional effects of the games behind when the game is over. There have been cases of teenagers who commit violent crimes who also spent a great amount of time playing violent video games. But we must remember that there will always be violent people, and it may just so happen that many of them also enjoy playing violent video games.
But too much are video game playing can make children socially isolated. They may spend less time doing other activities such as sports and interacting with their family and friends. Others will say that gamers do not usually replace their off-line social lives with online gameplaying, but rather it expands them. It could be that for shy children, digital communicatin can enable them to engage in a wider social environment. It can help them find others with similar hobbies and interests.
But we know that some games teach children the wrong values. Violent behaviour and vengeance are rewarded. Negotiation and other nonviolent solutions are often not options. Women are often portrayed as the weak characters,

CURRENT ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST

There is potential for children to pick up bad language and bad behaviour from online games.

Those that become addicted may also become depressed and anxious. Addicted children not surprisingly also see their school performance suffer.
Some children exhibit more impulsive behaviour and attention problems. These children may have difficulty in sustaining their concentration over a period of time to reach their got longer term goals.

There are arguments over whether playing games can enhance children's concentration or are harmful and cause problems with children's attention spans, they may improve the ability to concentrate in short bursts but damage the long-term concentration. 

However games are also associated with quick thinking and decision-making. Sometimes the player does this almost every second of the game giving the brain a will work out.

 Games can also be helped to develop reading and maths skills. Children have to read the instructions follow the story-line of games and get information from the texts.

Maths skills are often important to winning many games for example when children have two consider how to manage their resources of the game. They can encourage perseverance when players have to keep on trying until they succeed in order to move on to the next level of the game. Some studies have shown that there are games that support children children with attention deficit disorders to improve their concentration spans.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT

There are tools available for parents to screen for things like cyber bullying, and Internet gaming disorder.

There will always be a few children who confuse reality and fantasy and some will be more susceptible to gaming addiction. These children may skip their homework to play online, resulting in poor performance at school.

We are now living in a high-tech, sophisticated world games can help children adapt and become comfortable with concepts of computing. When children play games with parents they can be a bonding activity. Games can also make learning fun. Animations and interactivity with challenges and rewards support learning. Teachers know that having fun gives children motivation to keep trying.

Games can improve children's decision-making speed without sacrificing accuracy. They can increase children's self-confidence as they master a game. At the beginner levels children can find tasks easy and manageable and with constant practice they can build skills becoming more confident and tackling more complex challenges. They don't fear making mistakes and so are encouraged to risk exploring more. These attitudes can be helpful if they are transferred into real life. Gaming accomplishments can give children a sense of competence which fulfils a human psychological need.

Conclusion

When children are allowed to play games for instance in the waiting room or on the way to school they will be quiet and well-behaved. But is this what they really need? Or do they need time to deal to daydream to process their thoughts, and share them with their parents,.

Today there are both opportunities and risks presented by the digital age.

Kim Mackenzy Andrews Children's Author

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KimMackenzyAndrewsChildrensAuthor 

Twitter:@Kim_M_Andrews

 

***PARENTS*** 

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Well-being for Digital Kids

"Young people may appear to have the technical skills to negotiate the Internet but increasingly, it is becoming clear that they do not have the social skills because information technology may be having a deep impact on their cognitive and social development." 

(Children's Commissioner for England, 2015)

So how can parents ensure the well-being of their digital kids?

When parent and child read together that's much better than a child staying in their room with an iPad or tablet.Technology itself is not bad it can help children explore and connect to make the world a smaller place. There are many ways children can use it to educate themselves find and talk with their friends.

Supporting children's emotional development, is very important. Otherwise they may go on to develop behavioural difficulties and be more likely to develop significant mental health problems in the future. Their emotional well-being includes being happy and confident and not anxious or depressed. Oh well socially well adjusted child has good relationships with others and does not have behavioural problems, they are not disruptive, violent or demonstrate bullying behaviour. 

It's normal for child to demonstrate how their feelings through their behaviour. However if they start to excessively repeat ways to demonstrate how they feel, they could be struggling with their emotional health. Other signs may include an ongoing excessively short attention span. They may demonstrate aggressive or withdrawn behaviour towards adults and other children. They may struggle to integrate within their peer group and seem angry or frustrated. Adults can support children by naming emotions and helping the child to realise that what they are feeling is valid and recognisable and understood and then that there are what ways to manage these feelings. For example you could say I can see you're getting very frustrated shall we look at that together? By repeating this pattern the children can learn to do it for themselves..

Parents do worry that children become so used to instant information and fast paced activity that they may lose the ability to concentrate and recall information. Perhaps though if a child gets to a point where they're using technologies so much that it seriously skews their development this would indicate an underlying problem with that child or within its family that's going to manifest itself somehow in any case.

In older children, extended use of the Internet in a virtual world of multi-identity chat rooms or multi-party games have been linked to increased loneliness and depression and the possible blurring of a child's ability to distinguish the real world from the virtual one. If children assume multiple identities and interact with strangers the distinction between real life and simulation may not always be clear. And in some chat rooms there is no way to know if you are interacting with a real person or fabricated character. As younger children as well as older children begin to participate more frequently in these environments, it becomes important to understand whether or not these experiences have an impact on children's psychological development.Teenagers on the other hand feel that digital media can result in positive benefits, such as building a sense of belonging, keeping in touch with groups of friends that share similar values and provide comfort and support to their peers.
Teenagers rate the social benefits of the Internet over everything else that it offers. Online networks can player important part in honing their social and communications skills. They perceive that digital technology is beneficial to their relationships.

We know that emotional well-being is the foundation for healthy behaviour and educational attainment and helps prevent behavioural problems and mental health problems later in life. That's why it's important for parents and teachers to focus on the social and emotional well-being of their children all the way through their childhood. Technology can play a role in helping children develop socially and emotionally, when used in balance.

It is easier now to get involved in social causes for example saving endangered species or raising money from the homeless. Games can offer ways for children to collaborate, take turns and learn basic principles of teamwork. They can increase logical thinking, develop motor skills and hand eye coordination. There is also technology available is that's designed to enhance social and emotional learning, which we know is critical to the development and future success of children. We know that it will it this improves their academic performance, relationships with family and friends emotional intelligence and empathy and supports them to make wise choices in their lives. Technologies used for parents and grandparents to interact and communicate with their children. It can be challenging for the older generation with a steep learning curve but in order to enter into the world where our children spend more time we have to learn to navigate that world with them so that we can better guide them on how to manage it themselves and their time within it.

It is also argued that it's important to establish tech free zones in order to manage technology well for children. This means recognising times when the present moment is the priority and technologies given a secondary role. Children need to learn that there are times when paying attention is the primary importance no matter what type of urgent messages might be coming their way.

Don't use technology as an emotional pacifier. Although it can be very effective in keeping kids, and quiet, it should not be the only way they learn to calm down. Children do need to learn how to handle strong emotions, and come down through breathing. Or or talk about other ways to solve the problem and find different strategies for channelling emotions. They also need to invent activities to manage their own boredom.


As they grow they become able to independently problem solve, manage their emotions, be resilient and attentive. Young children's emotional well-being is linked to their ability to interact positively with others, manage their frustrations or emotions without excess distress.

Although digital media is an integral part of our world today and the benefits can be great research has shown that face-to-face time with family and friends is even more important in promoting children's learning and healthy development. Parents need to keep up good levels of face-to-face contact and not let it get lost behind a stream of media and technology.

Kim Mackenzy Andrews Children's Author

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KimMackenzyAndrewsChildrensAuthor 

Twitter:@Kim_M_Andrews

 

***PARENTS*** 

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Raising the Digital Generation

RAISING THE DIGITAL GENERATION.

The 21st century is a challenging time to be a parent. Parents have anxieties about the types of parenting changes that they face in the digital world. Everyone is slowly working out how to control the technology to meet their values and their needs rather than being controlled by it. There is a rapid pace at which new digital products are being developed and this can lead to parents feeling overwhelmed. Technology raises questions for parents that did not previously exist. Questions fall into two main areas. Parents want to be informed about new technology and keep ahead of the game so that they can help their children. But they also worry about things like screen time and the ill effects potential effects of excessive use of technology. They want to get the balance right.

   

TECH POSITIVE PARENTING

 Parents want to know how digital devices can be used for good effect. They are seeking the right advice to support their children their children throughout their childhood and teenage years to get the best use from the technology available. Parents need to know that technology is not inherently harmful and they don't need to feel guilty about letting their children use smartphones or tablets. The trick is to use them wisely for educational purposes and in ways that bring the family together.

 Professionals issue guidelines about the amount of time children should use technology but these are frequently changing. More information regularly available and research is completed all the time. So parents do need to up-to-date with the latest information and studies from around the world.

AVOIDING THE PITFALLS

Parents want to know about  the responsible use of technology, also known as digital citizenship. They need a balanced view about both the wonders and the dangers of technology and the Internet. Information about how to build children's resilience so that they can get the best out of all that's available while avoiding the potential pitfalls.

They should choose at least one source of information and visit it regularly in order to stay informed and aware of the latest technology available. One that offers unbiased reviews about the latest devices and apps. So that they can choose the best technology for the age of their child, based on features such as robustness, price, educational value, entertainment value, and whether it promotes children's development.

TECH SAVVY PARENTING

             To summarise, if you are a parent of the digital generation and you are concerned about your child spending too much time with technology but at the same time been worried that if you don’t provide all the latest technology and digital experiences they will fall behind their peers, then you are not alone. If you want to harness the positive power of technology, then bookmark this site and revisit regularly to read the latest posts with links to other sites to help you navigate the world of digital parenting

Kim Mackenzy Andrews Children's Author

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KimMackenzyAndrewsChildrensAuthor 

Twitter:@Kim_M_Andrews

 

***PARENTS*** 

 Get your FREE digital kids tips here

       Don't forget your FREE play with nature activity ideas here.

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