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

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

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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: Setting Cell Phone Rules for your Kids

Article: Setting Cell Phone Rules for your Kids

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Simple, easy-to-follow rules for every phone-carrying kid. By Caroline Knorr 

Whether your kid is heading to school toting a brand-new device or is already a cell-phone pro, you want everyone on the same page about the dos and don’ts. (Get more information on cell-phone parenting.) You can keep an eye on kids at home (kind of), but at school, they’re on their own. As with any kind of boundary setting, these conversations can be tense. Fortunately, there are only five rules for them to remember — and one for you, to show that you’re all in this together. (Tweens and teens can also play our animated, interactive Digital Compass game to pick up digital-citizen skills.)

Here are our key guidelines for cell-phone carrying kids:

1. Respect the school’s rules. Some schools permit students to use their phones at certain times: between classes, at lunch, on the playground, even occasionally in class. Abusing this privilege — like, by texting during a test or playing Pokemon GO in math class — could get your phone taken away and possibly jeopardize your classmates’ freedom. Only use your phone when you’re allowed to on school grounds.

2. Pick up when it’s parents calling. Ugh, why can’t they just text like everyone else? Sometimes mom, dad, or your caregiver need to talk to you. It’s probably very important, so don’t send it to voicemail.

3. Ask permission before downloading anything. Even if you have your own app store account, get sign off on any apps you download. If something has in-app purchases, those costs could wind up on your parents’ bill — so they need to know what extra charges a download may incur. They also need to make sure it’s age appropriate and reasonably good for you.

4. Don’t flaunt it. Owning a cell phone is a privilege that not every kid has access to. It’s OK to be proud of your phone — it’s an expensive piece of equipment for which you’ve been given responsibility — but showing off could make other people feel bad. Also, it could get stolen.

5. Use your phone for good, not evil. You’ll see all kinds of misbehavior and mischief regarding phones in school. Set an example for others by being respectful and responsible with yours. Ask permission before taking someone’s picture. Take a moment to consider whether a text or video could hurt, annoy, or embarrass someone else. Turn off the phone when you’re supposed to. Don’t let the phone be more important than someone standing right in front of you.

And here’s our essential rule for parents:

Don’t text your kid during the school day. Unless it’s a real emergency — like, you’re going to the hospital — resist the urge to text your kid during the school day. Kids have survived for many, many years without talking to their parents while they’re at school — and they need to be allowed independence. And if your kid texts you, make sure he’s not breaking any rules to do so.

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.

 

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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: Low Power Smartphone Batteries Get A Little Help from Friends & Giveaway

News: Low Power Smartphone Batteries Get A Little Help from Friends & Giveaway

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Low Power Smartphone Batteries Get A Little Help from Friends myCharge’s Charge It Forward campaign releases free power into the hands of helpful strangers, asks everyone to pass the charge on

 

myCharge’s Charge It Forward campaign releases free power into the hands of helpful strangers, asks everyone to pass the charge on

According to a 2015 study from Deloitte, people in the United States across all age groups check their phones an average of 46 times per day. It is no wonder that smartphone batteries are constantly drained of power and people are always searching for a power cord and outlet. myCharge, a leading portable power bank manufacturer, hopes to lend a helping hand the next time anyone finds themselves with a low battery and an urgent need to send a text or make a call with its new Charge It Forward campaign.

Over the next several months, myCharge will be releasing free, specially marked portable chargers. myCharge power teams will hand out over 25,000 chargers at 12 events across the United States with one simple ask, that everyone use the devices then pass them on the next time they come across someone with a low battery and no way to charge it.

To encourage people to do the right thing and pass on the charger instead of keeping it, each Charge It Forward device will be marked with a unique number. Texting that number will direct the person in possession of the charger to a website where they will join that particular charger’s team. Teams will be able to track how far their charger has traveled on the website. And, each month the team whose charger travels the furthest distance will be eligible to win amazing prizes including trips, chargers and gift cards. One lucky individual will also be randomly awarded $1,000 at the end of the year for “charging it forward”.

Charge it Forward Events

The Charge It Forward event schedule includes stops at:

• The Belmont Stakes – June 9 – June 11, 2016 in Belmont, NY
• Rock the Garden – June 18, 2016 in Minneapolis, MN
• CE Week – June 21 – June 23, 2016 in New York City
• Summerfest – July 6 – July 10, 2016 in Milwaukee, WI
• The Beats Run – July 15, 2016 in Seattle, WA
• The NASCAR Brickyard Race – July 23 – July 25, 2016 in Indianapolis, IN
• Hood to Coast – August 26 – August 27, 2016 in Portland, OR
• Cincinnati Reds Game – September 2, 2016 in Cincinnati, OH
• Stanford vs. USC Football Game – September 17, 2016 in Stanford, CA
• Chicago Marathon – October 9, 2016 in Chicago, IL
• Tennessee vs. Alabama Football Game – October 15, 2016 in Knoxville, TN

“That feeling of dread when you look down at your phone and see a low battery alert, knowing that you have no cables, adapters or a portable charger on hand, is something we have all experienced. In today’s world being cut off from technology for a few minutes or hours means missing out on something, which leaves us all running for outlets or asking strangers for a charge on a regular basis,” said myCharge VP of Marketing, Julie Pickens. “We want the Charge It Forward campaign to help people out when they are in a power pinch, and we hope that we will get to hear some great stories along the way like a family being able to connect in an emergency or someone being able to deliver good news like the birth of a baby or a new job. By empowering people to do a little good by passing on a charger they got for free, we anticipate that those who are touched by the gesture will want to do a little good of their own.”

Anyone not able to attend an event that myCharge will be present at for Charge It Forward can still participate in the campaign by texting “TeamCharge” to 95577 to play and win prizes each week. For more information about the myCharge Charge It Forward campaign, visit: www.mycharge.com.

About myCharge
myCharge, innovators in portable power create the ultimate portable power solutions for anyone, anywhere who needs to stay charged. Incorporating the highest quality components, cutting-edge design, and smart technologies, myCharge responds to the latest technological advances by providing products dedicated to restoring everyday balance and fulfilling consumer needs in today’s on-the-go, always connected, digital society. Learn more at www.mycharge.com.

Do you want to win a myCharge to share with others? Check out our great giveaway below and see how you can #payitforward with a charge

Giveaway

If you would like to win a myCharge powerbank to share with others, 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 to those with a United States physical mailing address only. Blog post comment is mandatory, if you do not complete this you will be disqualified. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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.
Interview with Nancy Smith, Co-founder and CMO of Bevy

Interview with Nancy Smith, Co-founder and CMO of Bevy

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Today’s interview is with Nancy Smith,Co-Founder and CMO of Bevy.  Please visit their website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Thank you Nancy for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.

I have long had a love of technology that makes a difference in our lives. I was the head of Marketing for iRobot (the makers of Roomba) for over a decade and developed a great appreciation for making complex technology simple. I am married with a 5 year old daughter and my family is a huge reason why I decided to co-found Lineage Labs and help create Bevy. I love sports (pretty much all of them), being outside on a sunny brisk day, playing dress up with my daughter and I struggle daily with the elusive work/life balance.

Can you tell me a little bit about how your idea for the product came about?

My Co-founder and I come at it from different angles so I think that really helped us come to a great solution for a family. In his house, he’s the tech guy- his wife wants to use the photos and his son is the best photo taker in house while his other daughters contribute and consumer the photos in their own way. The one constant was that they were always going to him to handle/fix/manage it all and it drove him nuts. For me, I was more concerned about how on earth I was going to find all these amazing photos I was taking in years to come. How would my daughter ever find these if they’re locked away on some old phone? Together we look at the problem that families have with photos and we created what we believe to be the best solution for families.

I know I have lots of pictures on all my devices, can you tell me how this device would make my life easier?

Bevy pulls in photos from your mobile devices (either automatically or manually—you choose), it has multiple USB 3.0 drives so you can plug in old media to it, we also have a built in SD card reader to make it easy to pull in pictures from your DSLR cameras. We also have apps for your computers (both Mac and Windows) that will allow you to bring in all your old photos so they’re in one place, then you can access them all from anywhere you are through the app on your smart phone.

Bevy connects via wireless, how do I ensure my photos are protected and safe?

The first time you connect to Bevy from your device in your home we create a secure 256 bit encrypted connection between the two, this creates an incredibly secure connection and also allows Bevy to know who’s adding what photos to Bevy to make it easier to search more later. Also because all your photos are stored locally on Bevy in your home, you don’t have to worry about anyone having access to them in the cloud.

How has the market feedback been?
The feedback has been incredibly positive. People have become accustomed to technology that’s difficult, so they’re initially nervous or intimidated about bringing new ‘tech’ into the home, we focused on making the tech intuitive so all you have to worry about is actually enjoying your photos. You can see some testimonials on our website.

Tell me about how people are using Bevy in the home? Is it a good way to share photos with family and grandparents?
Bevy is designed for the family experience. For people to add and share their photos. When you think of a typical family weekend; Dad is with Johnny at the baseball game and Mom is with little Liv at the lacrosse game both are taking pictures, with Bevy Mom can see all those pictures that Dad is taking and vice versa. Johnny comes off the field, looks at Bevy and sees a great pic Dad took of him at the plate and instantly posts it on his social channels, Liv can do the same without ever bugging Mom or Dad for the photos. When they come home the photos are playing on the TV screen in the living room. It’s that easy. We have also seen grandparent really getting into it. They want to see photos but in the past it’s been tough to share with them either because they don’t have a lot of tech in the house or it’s tough to share more than a few photos. With Bevy, whether they have their own their house that you and other family members contribute to, or if they have access to your Bevy they’re more involved and able to see the pictures without having to ask for them.

Is there anything you want to share with our readers?
If you’re interested in a Bevy, we would like to share the code: iMum50 this will give you $50 off of Bevy!!
Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company.  We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!

Alison, the American iMum is from Massachusetts. She lives there with her sons and husband. In their spare time, they enjoy playing outside, enjoying nature and of course testing apps and fantastic products on their devices. They have a variety of devices including an iPad, iPhone, and an iPod and is often found with a device! 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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