There are so many apps now. Did you know we have over half a million iPad specific apps to choose from? That’s a lot of downloading and trying things out. When I’m working with teachers and parents, I get asked a lot of questions about the actual day to day use of iPad or laptops. Or about what might go wrong with mobile devices…
I reckon most of it is common sense once you start thinking about it, but because most of us didn’t grow up with this much technology, there are some things I see so often that I’m now calling them the 7 Deadly Sins —->
- Sitting on floor with a device. This is just bad posture and a bad idea in general. For your kids it means their legs or necks or backs are on a funny angle, and for the device it likely means its sitting on the floor getting hot and potentially over-heating. Keep those devices on laps or at tables – especially when they are younger.
2. Holding the device way too close to their face. Yes they want to zoom in to the cartoon face or that YouTube video but most apps these days are designed to be used on a standard iPad screen – so holding it at a ‘normal’ arms length shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not a optometrist but it can’t be good for their eyes with all that squinting.
3. Sitting in one position for an hour. So I get that our kids (and us) get caught up in our video, or online book or game, but we really have to avoid being so stationary. Move around a bit. Stretch your legs. Go sit at the other end of the couch – try to move every 20-30 mins and you’ll feel better, promise
4. Only ever being a consumer. It’s true that when iPads first came out they really were a consumption device – watch this or read that. But now the range of apps we have means our kids should be creating as well as viewing online. Show them the Explain Everything App or get the Microsoft Windows Live Moviemaker free software. Have the take a camera scavenger hunt outside or make a photocollage (I love PicCollage free app). Get them creating. This helps them understand what goes into that content they are consuming as well as getting them thinking and questioning and moving. PS an online game doesn’t count as they are still following the game developers plans!
5. Giving out your password to kids. Yes you trust them and yes they are responsible but the reality is you are teaching them that passwords and credit card numbers and usernames aren’t actually that private. If you really want to give your older kids access to your iTunes account for example, set them up their own account and buy an iTunes voucher to add credit. Much safer than giving your account details (with your credit card attached) and they will learn how to budget and save money. Please don’t give your password to your kids!!!
6. Charging their devices in private spaces. I really think that our kids don’t need technology in their rooms at night. They can sign off from their friends and leave the phone or tablet or tablet in the kitchen or family room. If it’s in their room I think it’s just too much temptation to check in online….our kids need a good night’s sleep to be ready for school or work or sports – whatever gets them up in the morning. Online bullying requires our kids to be online – and at night in their bedrooms there’s a lot less chance of them coming and asking for help.
7. Not knowing what apps are on the device. So our kids have a range of digital devices, and these all have apps or software on them. Many apps and softwares are now free which makes it very easy for them to download them without us knowing – no money or credit card required. Every week or so, just pick up the device and have a look at what’s installed. Then ask questions about it – what does it do, why do they like it? It’s good for them to know that we are interested in these things that take up so much of their time and attention :0) You might find they have software you aren’t happy with – like maybe Facebook or Instragram if they are under 13, or Snapchat or Q&A sites. You can then chat to them about why they shouldn’t be using them…yet! When they are adults (or just older) they can make their own decisions but for now, it’s our job to help them make good choices online!
So those are my 7 Deadly Sins of mobiles devices – do you agree? Any you’d add? These are just my opinion of course so feel free to share your thoughts below! ;0)