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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tips for Supervising Your Child's Digital Life - s post

We all know the horror stories of poorly managed or unsupervised internet use. Cyberbullying has taken lives and Facebook rants have ended careers. The problem for parents is knowing how to protect their children while still offering them all of the benefits that the digital age has to offer. Here are a few things to keep in mind when supervising your child's digital life:

Privacy Is A Myth

Social media posts last forever. If a post is innocuous, it will be seen by about 2 percent of followers, but if it isn't, it can go viral and be seen by thousands. Since most information is digitized, digging into a person’s life is relatively easy. If you want an eye-opening example, create a free account. You will be amazed at the amount and depth of information these digital databases can offer. Understanding that privacy is hard to come by online, a simple rule of thumb for parents is to always have access to their child's digital information. One of the caveats of having a smartphone should be that the parents always get to know the passwords.

Talk About The Threats

What is perhaps more effective than a bunch of rules governing usage is to talk about proper internet practices; but don't just list the threats, especially because your child most likely already knows them. Discuss how to handle threats and when your child should get you involved. You should also broach the Echo Chamber Effect, a phenomenon that arises once you filter out those that disagree with you and listen only to those that share your views. By being validated only by those that agree, people began to develop more extremist views. This is something can lead to reckless and socially disengaging behaviors in a child.

Tech Vs. Tech

The good news is that there is technology to help you stay on top of your child’s digital use. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge has built-in parental controls so that you can have different accounts for different ages. It is also water resistant to prevent damage from the active lifestyle of a child. Microsoft has a family feature that lets you create an account for each family member and you will get a daily report emailed to you about their activity. If you use Norton as your antivirus software, it also comes with a parental control function. It's important to educate yourself on your options. PC Magazine has a good list of parental control apps and software for you to explore.


Digital supervision of your child should be dynamic. That is, the rules that you enforced when your child was 6 should not be the same when they are 14. Researchers and legislators are finding that rules are being set that are not taking into account the young person’s perspective. The best way to supervise your child without it becoming an issue of dominance is to get buy-in from your child. Develop a plan that works for both of you and update it periodically. Make digital use into a running conversation so that you can enjoy the benefits of this technology as a family.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Ten Activities That Can Increase Your Kid's Creativity -- Guest Post

Rev Up Your Kid's Creativity with Unique Activities!
When it's time to focus your kids' attention away from video games and texting, parents often struggle with how to interest kids in creative activities. To rev up your kid's creativity, begin by considering your kid's age level, general interests and attention span.
It's important to choose activities that meet with your kid's attention span. For example, the attention span of today’s five year old kids has a duration of about then minutes.
For older children, ages ten to fifteen, they may be able to concentrate for up to one hour without losing interest in the activities you provide. Keep in mind that each kid has a diverse sense of whimsy and fantasy that is all a part of their creative thinking.

1. Making Music is Fun and Creative
For the first activity, parents may want to invest in ear plugs and several musical instruments like tambourines, maracas, castanets, ukuleles and small tambor drums. There is a wealth of creativity to be found for kids who have the chance to "make music." These basic musical instruments help children develop a sense of sound, rhythm and ability to create music that requires "teamwork."

2. After a wild session with musical instruments, parents may want to reverse the frenetic pace by allowing kids to dance to classical music in free form. If parents prefer, they can also teach their kids classic ballroom dance steps. The idea is to allow kids to "feel the music" and to create adaptive movement that is uniquely theirs.

3. There's another creative and fun activity kids will love: creating rhyming words. Parents can give their kid a small picture of a cat or dog, and make a game of finding as many words that rhyme with these words. Older children can write them down. To make it more of a contest, offer a prize to the kid who rhymed the most words.

4. Nothing is more creative or fun than a scavenger hunt. Kids' creative juices spike when parents create a list with five items kids should hunt for. The hunt can be done at home, in a library, museum, outdoors in a park with supervision or in their own room or even their toy box. It's a great way to get children to creatively organize their possessions so they can be found at a future date.

5. Creating a Recipe
Few kids understand how to follow recipes. By allowing kids to create a recipe of their very own, they can see the connections between certain ingredients, preparation, cooking or baking time and serving food to others. For this, parents can use a list of basic ingredients like cookie crumbs blended with cream cheese to make truffles. Provide cocoa or powdered sugar and cookie decorations they can roll the truffles in.

6. Organizing Kids Money
Kids today don't often get a chance to use cold hard cash. It may be a creative learning curve to teach them how to count back change from a dollar or make a game of having them purchase items from your pantry with a specified amount of "play" money.

7. Activities for Autonomy
As kids become more independent, parents need to reinforce the idea of responsibility. Provide activities kids can do without assistance that fits into a general plan.
For example, allow kids input for the next family outing, such as organizing an itinerary for sightseeing and preparing the things for family outings. Older kids can research sights they feel all members of their family want to see. By allowing kids to create a sightseeing itinerary, they develop a sense of timing and also a keen sense of awareness of their family's likes and dislikes.

8. Hands On Creative Activities
Make a game of teaching very young children how to tie their laces. Older children should be exposed to learning how to sew buttons or put labels on their clothing. These are valuable skills they can develop for use in a variety of arts and crafts.

9. Speaking of Arts and Crafts
While kids' fingers grow ever more adept at texting, their fingers need a more creative outlet like crafting their own scrapbooks or learning the creative art of sculpting. Sculpting for kids can begin with ordinary clay or kids’ putty. Provide an idea of a form from a picture or other source and then let their creative juices flow.

10. Who Am I?
There is an artist in every kid. Too often, their art is limited to living room walls. Create a structured format for their "artwork" by allowing them to create free form drawings of themselves on large poster board paper. The result of their self-imagery might be fascinating.


Every kid has a creative urge that needs to be set free. When kids are working hands on instead of allowing hi tech devices to do it all for them, they realize their true inner sense of creativity.


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