In the Back To School 2014 SaratogaMama magazine, we introduced several tech tools that are available to support kids in their learning. Over the next few weeks we’ll share some more details about several of the tools and ideas for how kids can use them at home and at school.
As you learn more about the tools, here are some questions to consider before introducing your child or students to a new program.
Tech Tools for Kids: Questions to Consider
1. What are the age restrictions for the site?
Here are some examples:
- Yahoo: “Yahoo! is concerned about the safety and privacy of all its users, particularly children. For this reason, parents of children under the age of 13 who wish to allow their children access to the Yahoo! Services must create a Yahoo! Family Account. When you create a Yahoo! Family Account and add your child to the account, you certify that you are at least 18 years old and that you are the legal guardian of the child/children listed on the Yahoo! Family Account. By adding a child to your Yahoo! Family Account, you also give your child permission to access many areas of the Yahoo! Services, including, email, message boards and instant messaging (among others).”
- Facebook: “You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.”
- Scratch: “Scratch is open to children and adults of all ages, and we ask that you keep this in mind when using the Scratch services. When you use Scratch, you agree to abide by the Scratch Community Guidelines.”
2. What other content is available on the site?
Many sites now rely on user contributions, where users are able to browse other’s projects or profiles. This can be great inspiration for kids and they can learn from other users but at the same time, this means there could be content that isn’t always appropriate. If you can, take some time to explore with your child or on your own to see what other users are contributing.
3. Who will be seeing your child’s content?
Most sites give you the option if you want your projects to be public or private, decide what is best for your child and be sure they know how to adjust it if needed.
4. Is personal information available through a profile?
If the site includes user profiles, be sure to check your child’s to be sure there is no identifying information. If they are asked to include a profile picture and you’re not comfortable with that, kids can use an avatar creator, like Doppleme to make their own.
5. Are there ads on the page? If so, what kind?
Sometimes if the site is free to use, there will be ads. Preview the site to see if there are any and if your child could easily be redirected to other sites.
6. How to users interact with each other? Is there an option for private messaging?
Determine if users can contact each other, this could be through public comments or private messaging. Talk with your child about how they should handle this and check in frequently.
We’ll be sharing much more in this post series to help you determine the best apps and tech tools for kids!