News and Kids – What you need to know

Dramatic, disturbing news events can leave parents speechless. These age-based tips on how to talk to kids about the news — and listen, too — can help.By Caroline Knorr 
If it bleeds, it leads. The old newsroom adage about milking stories for sensationalism seems truer than ever today. And with technology doing the heavy lifting — sending updates, tweets, posts, and breaking news alerts directly to our kids’ phones — we parents are often playing catch-up. Whether it’s wall-to-wall coverage of the latest natural disaster, a horrific mass shooting, a suicide broadcast on social media, or a violent political rally, it’s nearly impossible to keep the news at bay until you’re able to figure out what to say. The bottom line is that elementary school-aged kids and some middle schoolers have trouble fully understanding news events. And though older teens are better able to understand current events, even they face challenges when it comes to sifting fact from opinion — or misinformation.

No matter how old your kids are, threatening or upsetting news can affect them emotionally. Many can feel worried, frightened, angry, or even guilty. And these anxious feelings can last long after the news event is over. So what can you do as a parent to help your kids deal with all this information?

Addressing News and Current Events: Tips for all kids

Consider your own reactions. Your kids will look to the way you handle the news to determine their own approach. If you stay calm and rational, they will, too.

Take action. Depending on the issue and kids’ ages, families can find ways to help those affected by the news. Kids can write postcards to politicians expressing their opinions; families can attend meetings or protests; kids can help assemble care packages or donate a portion of their allowance to a rescue/humanitarian effort. Check out websites that help kids do good.

Tips for kids under 7

Keep the news away. Turn off the TV and radio news at the top of the hour and half hour. Read the newspaper out of range of young eyes that can be frightened by the pictures (kids may respond strongly to pictures of other kids in jeopardy). Preschool kids don’t need to see or hear about something that will only scare them silly, especially because they can easily confuse facts with fantasies or fears.

Stress that your family is safe. At this age, kids are most concerned with your safety and separation from you. Try not to minimize or discount their concerns and fears, but reassure them by explaining all the protective measures that exist to keep them safe. If the news event happened far away, you can use the distance to reassure kids. For kids who live in areas where crime and violence is a very real threat, any news account of violence may trigger extra fear. If that happens, share a few age-appropriate tips for staying and feeling safe (being with an adult, keeping away from any police activity).

Be together. Though it’s important to listen and not belittle their fears, distraction and physical comfort can go a long way. Snuggling up and watching something cheery or doing something fun together may be more effective than logical explanations about probabilities.

Tips for kids 8–12

Carefully consider your child’s maturity and temperament. Many kids can handle a discussion of threatening events, but if your kids tend toward the sensitive side, be sure to keep them away from the TV news; repetitive images and stories can make dangers appear greater, more prevalent, and closer to home.

Be available for questions and conversation. At this age, many kids will see the morality of events in stark black-and-white terms and are in the process of developing their moral beliefs. You may have to explain the basics of prejudice, bias, and civil and religious strife. But be careful about making generalizations, since kids will take what you say to the bank. This is a good time to ask them what they know, since they’ll probably have gotten their information from friends, and you may have to correct facts.

Talk about — and filter — news coverage. You might explain that even news programs compete for viewers, which sometimes affects content decisions. If you let your kids use the Internet, go online with them. Some of the pictures posted are simply grisly. Monitor where your kids are going, and set your URLs to open to non-news-based portals.

Tips for teens

Check inSince, in many instances, teens will have absorbed the news independently of you, talking with them can offer great insights into their developing politics and their senses of justice and morality. It will also help you get a sense of what they already know or have learned about the situation from their own social networks. It will also give you the opportunity to throw your own insights into the mix (just don’t dismiss theirs, since that will shut down the conversation immediately).

Let teens express themselves. Many teens will feel passionately about events and may even personalize them if someone they know has been directly affected. They’ll also probably be aware that their own lives could be affected by violence. Try to address their concerns without dismissing or minimizing them. If you disagree with media portrayals, explain why so your teens can separate the mediums through which they absorb news from the messages conveyed.

Additional resources

For more information on how to talk to your kids about a recent tragedy, please visit the National Association of School Psychologists or the American Psychological Association. For more on how news can impact kids, check out News and America’s Kids: How Young People Perceive and Are Impacted by the News,

Marie-Louise Mares, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, contributed to this article.

This article was originally published at Common Sense Media.

About the Author: Caroline Knorr

As Common Sense Media’s parenting editor, Caroline helps parents make sense of what’s going on in their kids’ media lives. From games to cell phones to movies and more, if you’re wondering “what’s the right age for…?” Caroline can help you make the decision that works best for your family. She has more than 20 years of editorial and creative marketing writing experience and has held senior-level positions at Walmart.com, Walmart stores, Cnet, and Bay Area Parent magazine. She specializes in translating complex information into bite-sized chunks to help families make informed choices about what their kids watch, play, read, and do. And she’s the proud mom of a teenage son whose media passions include Star WarsStarCraft,graphic novels, and the radio program This American Life.

 

Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsensemedia.org.

Who is the Ugliest of All? by The Happy Dandelion – Review



 

What we love…

fun interactive app featuring a girl as she dresses for a Halloween event, I really loved all the interactions on each page – and seeing what would happen if I tapped multiple times

What we’d love to see…

design your own treat bag, dress some of the other characters

Summary

This fun interactive Halloween themed app includes a girl and her inner voice as she gets ready in the mirror.  Join her adventures in picking her dress, shoes, socks, and makeup while getting ready.

Our Rating

Who is the Ugliest of All? iconWho is the Ugliest of All by The Happy Dandelion is a universal Halloween themed app for iOS featuring an interactive mirror.  The main character is a young girl who is trying to figure out what to wear to a Halloween trick or treat.  This storybook app has the main character picking out a dress – which she admits is tight and stained is her attire of choice.  She then puts on her stockings with a few repairs needed and mismatched socks of orange and teal as well as two different shoes – one grey and one brown.  Then it’s off to makeup, nails and hair.  Her hair has a raven nest with three small chicks and UV sunglasses to protect her eyes.  Be sure to check out the other apps by The Happy Dandelion which include Queen Bee in Paris, The UnStealer.

This app features narration of the story – simply tap on the text to have it read aloud as well as a variety of interactive elements on each page.  On the dress page there is a belt to tap, the dress which twinkles and disappears and then re-appears in the mirror.  By tapping on the mismatched shoes – a new rip appears which is quickly fixed by a spider who you can later swing after she’s completed her repairs.  Navigation is via hidden buttons at the top of each page – simply tap the left side to go back and the right side to go forward.

This app features the internal dialog  of a girl getting dressed for Halloween.  Join her as she finds her dress, puts on her mismatched socks and shoes while getting ready.  My favorite part of the app was putting on her makeup because all of the colors made me laugh – green lipstick, blue blush and the magic marker eyebrows.  The animations and illustrations in this app are great, I enjoyed tapping around (and tapping some things multiple times) to make sure I captured all of the various animations.  Seeing the gloves with no tips against the green smile and animation was cute as you could interact with each element.  The best though was the Raven’s nest in her hair – and the raven feeding her chicks with the worms!  The app is for older kids and adults as some of the self talk especially when she refers to herself as ugliest can be a bit self depreciating until you get to the last page when you discover she’s dressed for Trick or Treat!  On the last page you can unwrap a mummy, tap on Frankenstein, or make the magic stone glow.   The app ends well when you discover that the girl was simply putting together a Halloween costume!  I have to say that I have looked at this app multiple times – and it never fails to delight with the fun animations.

In terms of enhancements – it might be fun to dress some of the other characters on the last page or even to design her trick or treat bag,

This fun interactive Halloween themed app includes a girl and her inner voice as she gets ready in the mirror.  Join her adventures in picking her dress, shoes, socks, and makeup while getting ready.  The app is child-safe with no external links or in-app purchases.


Who is the Ugliest of All? Who is the Ugliest of All? by Joshua Wilson

Price: $3.99 USD

Who is the Ugliest of All? is an interactive Halloween Story featuring a young girl's internal dialog. With her questionable fashion choices and increasingly odd imperfections she challenges our conventional.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

News: Make calculations easy with the world’s smallest laser tape measure KIWI P1 by Myantenna Tech

 

MAKE CALCULATIONS EASY WITH THE WORLD’S SMALLEST LASER TAPE MEASURE
Myantenna Tech debuts accurate, affordable and compact laser distance tool

Tape measures are a necessity for interior designers, quantity surveyors, even those remodeling their home, but for measuring distances quickly and easily, a digital measuring device cannot be beaten. Whether you are a DIYer or a designer, this tool can measure any area at the push of a button.

Myantenna Tech, today, launches the KIWI P1 on Indiegogo, an innovative solution for measurement needs.

Make calculations easy

KIWI P1 is perfect for a crew working on an exhibition design, an architect working on a building site, or a brand new homeowner relandscaping. Whether it’s home renovation, mastering the art of hanging pictures, purchasing new furniture, or painting, KIWI P1 has it covered. Put this nifty tool in your pocket or bag and never buy the wrong sized curtains or coffee table again.

Sleek design

Forget bulky, complicated laser distance meters (LDM) with multiple buttons. KIWI P1 is user-friendly, without compromising on functionality or accuracy. This device is compact, precise, and its one-button design makes it effortless to use.

This pro-tool was designed with an innovative vertical alignment (VA) display, which makes it easy to read in any environment. Whether you’re downstairs in a dark basement, or outside on a sunny porch, the visibility of the display and reading quality is never compromised.

Hassle-free setup

Use the KIWI P1 as a remote control to take measurements in hard to reach spots, and say goodbye to tangled tape measures. Simply double click to go into the auto fetch mode, place KIWI P1 on the starting point, and walk to the endpoint. In just 10 seconds, the measurement data will be displayed on the screen. Triple click the button to select between meters or feet.

KIWI P1 makes estimates quick and easy, with its stunning accuracy of +/-2 mm. It has a special Smart Switch add-on that offers users a 180-degree experience. Conveniently attach and detach the mirrored magnetic Smart Switch for 90-degree angles.

David Liu, Myantenna Tech’s CEO, explains: “When it comes to interior design or real estate, KIWI P1 makes it easy. Whether the outside of a building or the inside of a home the calculations are accurate and fast.”

The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign kicks off on 6 September 2017 with a target of $10,000 to put the world’s smallest laser distance pointer into mass production.

Specifications
Accuracy – 1/152ft (2mm)
Range – 0.6-130ft (0.2-40mm)
Laser Class – 2
Laser Type – 635~650nm, <1 mW
Battery (2 x AAA) – 5 hours
Dimension (L*W*H) – 100*35*18mm
Weight (with batteries) – 68g
Auto Fetch – Yes
Smart Switch – Optional

About Myantenna Tech

Established in 2013, Myantenna Tech designs laser distance measuring tools. It’s flagship product the KIWI P1 is ideal for interior design, quantity surveying, building and simply purchasing furniture for the home. This all-in-one product relieves complicated measurement calculations at the click of a button.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

Date Wheel Date Calculator by Creative Algorithms – Review


What we love…

super easy to use date calculator that lets you countdown to dates; figure out when follow up appointments should be and more!

What we’d love to see…

ability to integrate with iOS calendar; calculate by years as a countdown

Summary

Overall this is an easy to use date app which helps you calculate the time from period in a variety of ways.  It does include a “rate this app” in iTunes link but because it’s primarily for parent’s this isn’t a problem.

Our Rating

Date Wheel date calculator  Date Wheel by Creative Algorithms is a great app that lets you calculate from one date to another using business days, weeks, months and regular days.  It has made scheduling my life as a mom so much easier.  The app is very straightforward and easy to use and it easily calculates date duration without complicated math or even having to look at a calendar!   How many times have you stood looking at a calendar trying to figure out when you need to follow up with your kids doctor or schedule your next haircut?  Other apps by Creative Algorithms include Recipe Manager which I love to use near the holidays.

To use the app, first you click on the start date – this can be a date you can enter or you can click the button for “today”. From there you set the duration and pick the type of duration it is ranging from months, weeks, days or business days. The app will fill in the end date for you at the bottom.  Alternatively, you can fill in the start date and end date and it will tell you the duration in between – we used this as part of a back to school countdown for my kids. I can tell you how many times I have stood at the counter of my kids doctors waiting for them to schedule a follow up appointment in X weeks.  Schedulers will often say the doctor has availability at X and I usually took it at face value because I wasn’t doing the calculating at the moment – now with a quick date entry I can figure out the number of weeks and if the date is in the ballpark.  We also used the app to count down to the solar eclipse that recently occurred near us.

iPhone Screenshot 4I really like how easy the app is to use – and the flexibility of the app.  Being able to calculate by months, weeks and days is how I normally use it the app.  You can also use it for project planning as well.  At the bottom you can save and have a number of date trackers running all at the same time should you be using it to track milestones or you can simply use it and not save it.

My son used it this summer to track the number of days he had left in his summer reading program.  He also used it to count down to the end of the summer and plan for us to buy school supplies.  You can easily enable or disable sound as well as have the end date included.  You can also easily keep track of calculations by clicking hte list in the lower right hand corner.  Other ideas include: when to schedule your next dental cleaning or haircut; count down to important days; and even calculate when an item will arrive.  I also like the lock function so you can lock things like the start date, duration and end date.

In terms of improvements, I would like to be able to calculate by years in a future update.  Another would be integration with the iOS or Android calendar to remind me that I need to do x task in the future.

Overall this is an easy to use date app. It does include a “rate this app” in iTunes link but because it’s primarily for parent’s this isn’t a problem.  Under the “i” there are online links including Facebook, Twitter and various contact me items.   If you want to try before you buy, you can test it on the web.  You can also check out some other great productivity apps on our site!


Date Wheel date calculator Date Wheel date calculator by Creative Algorithms

Price: $2.99 USD

Date Wheel™ is an award-winning date calculator that calculates time between two dates in months, weeks, days, & business days. ● Save calculations for future reference. ● Countdown to an important.

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her two sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. My older son loves technology and loves testing out the “latest and newest” apps and tech. I love sharing information about apps and products with others to help them make decisions without feeling overwhelmed with all of the choices.

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