It’s nearly Easter! That means school holidays, bunnies and chocolate. What will your kids get up to during the break? Hopefully there will be some outdoor fun and maybe some playdates. Looking at the weather here in Melbourne, there’s going to need to be some indoor times too. Rain, for days on end!
Once they have exhausted all their playing, making and doing and you hear the ‘I’m bored’ call, I’ve got a suggestion to keep them happy online, using a safe website that let’s them chat with their friends – but you can keep an eye on them as they do it!
First though, they need to be 13 or older. 13 is the age that most online resources set as the entry age. Just because our kids are 13, though, doesn’t mean we should let them go without supervision. You can, of course, lie and sign up if you areunder 13 but there are a number of good reasons not to.
The tool I’m talking about here is called Edmodo
It’s a kind of Facebook-type website that uses a password to keep it safe (er).
You, as the adult, sign up and create a ‘virtual classroom’. Then you give that private classroom code to the children you want to invite and they sign up. One good feature is that they don’t need to provide an email address or their full name, so it’s a way for our kids to practice their cyber-safety skills too.
I suggest they just use their first name and initial of their last name, just to be safe.
I use Edmodo all the time and I like it best because it keeps all the posts on one big page – like one giant Facebook feed.
That means our kids can’t go to an individual page and post something they shouldn’t. It also means that you only need to keep an eye on one page of posts. You won’t need to check a dozen different pages to keep on top of what they are doing!
Your kids can share images, links, text, files – whatever they like. So that cat video that makes them giggle can be shared amongst them as a link, meaning they won’t necessarily spend hours on other sites – hopefully they will be encouraged to spend more time on Edmodo than on a hundred other sites that we don’t know about!
A few families I know have used Edmodo as a way to keep their kids happy (they get to go online) and to make sure they are well-supported and kept safe too.
You can set up a ‘classroom’ really quickly and let your kids chat and share – but know that you can check on them anytime using the website or app. I love the app because it’s easy to use and gives you notifications when anything is posted. A quick check and then you move on. Easy and not too time-consuming!
Do you let you kids go online? Use social media? Let us know what you think about using online social media at home??