Article: Kids and Devices? Great tips on how to get your kids off their device!

Toddler_Device_article

Ever try to pry a tablet from sticky fingers? Check out these tips to avoid the tantrum.

“Just a sec,” say nine out of 10 parents answering an email when their kid asks them for something. If it’s hard for us to jump out of the digital world, just imagine you’re 3 and the lines between fantasy and reality are already blurred — then throw in a super-engaging, colorful, fun, immersive experience. Or you’re 5 and each episode of Mutt & Stuff on the Nick Jr. app is better than the last. Or you’re 8 and you’re almost finished building something amazing in Minecraft. Why would you ever want to stop?

This is why getting kids off their devices is so tough. And when threatening doesn’t work, and you discover the research that two-minute warnings aren’t the best option either, what can you do? Thankfully, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some new guidelines around screen use that ease some parental guilt, but you still need to get your kid off the iPad at some point. Aside from being a strong role model, try these tips to minimize conflict and find the balance we’re all seeking.

  • Have another activity lined up (bonus points for making it seem fun). For the youngest device users, transitions are hard — period.  Even if the next “to do” is a “must do” (such as eating lunch), tell your kid what’s coming next. You can rehearse the process: “When I say stop, it’s time for the iPad to go night-night. Let’s see how fast you can flip it shut! As soon as it’s asleep, we can sneak into the other room and paint.”
  • Use visual and sound cues to help kids keep track of time limits. For kids who don’t yet know how to tell time, try a timer that can help put them in charge of the process: “When the time is up, it’ll look and sound like this.”
  • Find apps with built-in timers. Video streamers like Cakey and Huvi throw parents a bone and have internal timers so the app stops on its own. Then it’s up to the parent to make sure kiddo doesn’t just jump into another app.
  • Tell kids to stop at a natural break, such as the end of an episode, level, or activity. It’s hard for kids (and adults!) to stop in the middle of something. Before your kid gets on a device, talk about what they want to do or play, what will be a good place to stop, and how long they think it’ll take. Set the limit together and hold to it, though a little wiggle room (a couple of minutes so they can finish) is fine.
  • Discuss consequences and follow through when kids test the limits. When all else fails, it’s important to have discussed consequences for when your kid won’t give it up. For little kids, the line can be something like, “If it’s too hard to turn off, the tablet has to go away for a whole day.” For older kids it’s more about keeping devices in a public space, setting expectations, and enforcing them. If they show you they can be partners in moderating and regulating themselves, there can be more flexibility.

About the author

Christine Elgersma works on learning and social media app reviews and parent talks as Senior Editor, Parent Education . Before coming to Common Sense, she helped cultivate and create ELA curriculum for a K-12 app, taught the youth of America as a high school teacher, a community college teacher, a tutor, and a special education instructional aide. Christine is also a writer, primarily of fiction and essays, and loves to read all manner of books from Stephen King to Anne Lamott. When she’s not putting on a spontaneous vaudeville show with her daughter, Christine loves to hike and listen to music, sometimes simultaneously.

 

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.

Article: Screen Time and Kids – Achieving a balance

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You balance their meals, so why not their media? Learn the secrets to a well-balanced media diet. By Caroline Knorr
Many parents struggle with exactly how much screen time is OK for their kids. Is a half-hour show OK but a full-length movie “bad”? How much gaming should you allow when your kid also uses his computer for homework? Does Wikipedia count as “reading”? And when does a passion for say, video games, become problematic? The truth is, there is no magic formula. And just as every family differs in what they eat, when they eat, and what they like, a healthy media diet is different for every family. The key is making sure that the things that are important to your family are fairly balanced over the long term.

A healthy media diet balances activities (games, social media, TV), time (15 minutes? Three hours?), and choices (YouTube, Minecraft, Star Wars) with offline activities (sports, face-to-face conversations, daydreaming). At some point, kids will be able to manage their own media diets. In the meantime, these tips can help set them up for success.

Find balance. Instead of counting daily screen-time minutes, aim for a balance throughout the week. Get your kids to help plan a week that includes stuff they have to do and stuff they like to do, such as schoolwork, activities, chores, reading, family time, and TV or gaming. Decide on limits and behavior using our Family Media Agreement.

Walk the walk. Put your devices away while driving, at mealtimes, and during important conversations. Kids will learn habits from you.

Talk about it. Ask questions about kids’ favorite games, shows, and characters. Discuss ideas and issues they read about or learn about through a TV show or a game. This is an opportunity for bonding, learning, and sharing your values.

Create tech-free zones.Set rules that fit your family, such as “no devices during dinner,” “no social media during homework,” or “all screens off before bedtime.”

Check ratings. Choose age-appropriate, high-quality media and tech for your kids. Use our reviews to find good stuff.

 

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 Wars, StarCraft,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.



Bugs and Bubbles by Little Bit Studio – Review & Giveaway



What we love…

the music, the amount and variety of games, graphics, the ability to explore and play while learning.

What we’d love to see…

more instructions within the app and the ability to either “test out” or skip certain skills for older kids

Summary

This app appeals to a wide variety of ages from toddler through elementary school and skill levels with skills such as early literacy, early math, fine motor and more.  For the price, this app is a great value for all of the content it provides.  The graphics and music are top notch and the app is extremely well executed.  Great job Little Bit.  I can’t wait to see what you bring us next!

Our Rating

Bugs and Bubbles Bugs and Bubbles, an iOS Universal app by Little Bit Studio is part of a collection of award winning collection of apps.  This app provides beautiful music, advanced interactivity, 18 games and activities all set in Uncle Bob’s Bubble Factory, stickers to earn, graduated stages within the app, multiple user profiles, “adaptive play”, multi-touch interaction, visual instructions and more.  Skills addressed in the app include: shapes, colors, patterns, balance, counting, pinching, sorting, tracking, balance and more!

iPhone Screenshot 2This app is gorgeous from a viewers perspective and the graphics provide a significant amount of depth.  The music is soothing and does not take away from game play.  There are always new things to open touch and explore each time we use the app.  I love that my son is able to practice a variety of tasks within the app such as colors, counting, letters and sorting while having fun and not even realizing that he is learning.  I also really like that the modules are divided into multiple stages which get more difficult as this helps the app appeal to a wider age bracket and can help parents/teachers/therapist tailor the app to the child’s needs.  Our favorite games were the patterns where you had to slide the bubbles into an ABAB pattern which teaches early math skills, “which” which requires following directions to select balloons based on specifications like color, size and quantity and color Ninja where we practiced the names of colors as we popped the bubbles.  More advanced games include: matching bubbles which requires you to make pairs by popping letter-filled bubbles, shape stack where you can “stack” bubbles to make a tower and pinch garden where flowers grow and sprout bubbles which are pinched and collected.  The games in stage three were too difficult for my son, but I think math scales where you sequence numbered boxes on  a scale to come up with the same total was interesting to him since we have done a similar exercise in the children’s museum   The follow me tracing game uses a foggy window for a writing surface which we practiced with our stylus which was very responsive within the app.

I would like to see instructions integrated within the app.  Although the app is incredibly intuitive, there are times that having an instruction or two especially when you are playing the first time would be helpful.  It would also be nice to have a place where kids can “test out” of certain skills rather than having to practice them in stages 1 and 2 if they are older and already understand the concepts.

This app appeals to a wide variety of ages from toddler through elementary school and skill levels with skills such as early literacy, early math, fine motor and more.  For the price, this app is a great value for all of the content it provides.  The graphics and music are top notch and the app is extremely well executed.  Great job Little Bit.  I can’t wait to see what you bring us next!

 

 

 

Bugs and Bubbles
Bugs and Bubbles
by Little Bit Studio, LLC.

Category: Education, Games, Family
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone3GS-iPhone-3GS, iPadWifi-iPadWifi, iPad3G-iPad3G, iPodTouchThirdGen-iPodTouchThirdGen, iPhone4-iPhone4, iPodTouchFourthGen-iPodTouchFourthGen, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74, iPhone8-iPhone8, iPhone8Plus-iPhone8Plus, iPhoneX-iPhoneX
Size: 109.14 MB

$2.99USD

Screenshots
(Click to enlarge)
Screenshots for iPad
(Click to enlarge)

Giveaway

If you would like to win a promo code for this app, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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