Bridging the parent-child digital divide
Local parents sound off about screen time, cell phones, and social media and how they’re bridging the parent-child digital divide.
By Kristin Caliendo
Parents talk iPad use
“I’m no expert by any means but we are limited on technology. We don’t have strict limits like ‘30 minutes of iPad’ or anything because that makes me feel like if it’s too much of an award and adds to the build up of it. We just rarely use those things. We have found that after a few days of being unplugged they stopped asking and just play. Technology is just so addicting for kids and adults.”––Krista Edge
“Both my boys have an iPad. They play Minecraft together and it’s the only thing that keeps me sane in our one-bedroom vacation rental this summer. We go biking and running to the park every day and we spend several hours at the beach almost everyday. I think they have plenty of outside time so I’m not really worried about it.”––Stacey Reid
“On weeknights, it’s a 30 minute limit of technology after school, either cartoons via Netflix, Hulu, or spent playing on their tablets. Usually the younger one could care less about the TV, as she seems to have no problem finding what she wants to see on her tablet.”––Rose Ryan
“Our kids have iPads but are limited to use. They still play outside and run like crazies. iPads for travel are perfect especially for long trips.”–– Alma Hass
“As long as they still play outside two hours a day. Must master mud pies by kindergarten, forts by first grade, etc.”––Sam Hardy
“Rules and limits!”––Sheri Osgood
“I love YouTube for Kids and Google for kids.”––Susan Karber
When is the right time for kids to get a cell phone?
“Not until middle school unless they are latch-key kids.”––Karen Edwards
“My son Grey is 9 and has a pay-as-you-go phone just for emergencies. He has four numbers programmed.”––Stacey Reid
“Technology is taking away our kids’ ability to create and maintain appropriate social relationships with their peers. I do believe in allowing older kids to have an iPhone, but younger kids can get what they need with an iPod touch, as long as an adult monitors it.”–– Kristi Hartmann
“Not until they are going into middle school is my opinion. Of course there are exceptions, such as when your kids have to walk home from school alone before they are in middle school.”––Anna McClure
“My kids got cell phones when they started middle school. Half of their friends already had them.”–– Kim Miller
“When they get jobs and can pay for it themselves!”–– Dolly Marshall
“Matt and I are contemplating getting Lili one, but only for her to use when she is on play dates or out and about, in case of emergencies/urgencies. I’d love to find a phone that has no way to connect to the Internet or text, but I don’t know if those exist?”–– Maya Trivison
“The LG GizmoPal2 wristband phone offers two-way voice calling and keeps us connected with our daughter. GizmoPal2 supports up to four contacts only. With the GPS we can easily locate her GizmoPal2 from our phones when we need to know where she is, for instance on the school bus route. We set GPS boundaries and get notifications if she crosses them. At just $5 a month through Verizon it’s a minimalistic option verses an Apple Watch that can send text messages and connect to the Internet, which is a much better alternative for us wary parents.”––Kristin Caliendo
“I’m in high school and think that having a cell phone is a privilege and kids should treat them that way.”–– Kate Norton
“Maraia has Instagram (age 12) and I’m always on there watching but no Facebook or Snapchat, even though she’s asked.”––Andrea Maccioli
“Instagram, yes, but no Facebook. My kids are teenagers and they still don’t have Facebook.”––Clive Christopher
“Drew has an Instagram (age 11). He says Facebook is for old people.”––Sarah Wilke
“As it turns out, according to my teen and her friends, Facebook is for moms. Lol! They do Instagram, but I haven’t allowed Snapchat yet.”––Joy Slavin
“My daughter is 14 and has Facebook. Honestly, most middle schoolers are more into Snapchat and Instagram though.”––Becky Antioco
“I agree, Facebook is out with the tweens/early teens but comes back when they’re juniors and seniors in high school. It’s all Snapchat and Twitter with my two older kids (college) and Snapchat with my 14 year old.”––Kim Walton
“Mac is almost 13 and has no desire for Facebook, but whines that she still doesn’t have Snapchat or Instagram.”––Jeanice Ridgway
“I will try to keep my children (9 and 7) as safe as possible. So no social media for them! I am the parent; I decide what’s right or wrong for them. When they are independent adults, they can figure it out and find other options, but under our roof it’s our rules! Sorry if I sound like the meanest mom ever but my children are my precious treasures. I am an over-protective mom and I accept that proudly!”––Mercedes Gardner
A Safer Internet for All
What parents are doing to keep their kids safe online.
“Mama Bear. It keeps tabs on your kids’ online activity. It lets you see their social media posts, friend requests, etc. I believe it also has GPS tracking, and for kids of driving age, you can track some driving habits too.”––Becky Antioco
“The one thing I’ve always said is that your children should be completely visible to you when online. This is why our computer is in the common area in our house. Look over their shoulder. Ask them what they’re looking at. Don’t allow tablets in their room unless the Internet is disabled.”––Justine Bishop
Check out Safekids.com. Parents can download a family contract for online safety on this site. It also offers other valuable online safety tips and advice.
Tech in the classroom.
Local teachers chime in on using technology in the classroom.
“Kids learn keyboarding skills with Dance Mat Typing. Other educational sites that I use are kids.nationalgeographic.com, funbrain.com, pbskids.org, starfall.com, and seussville.com.”––Breanna Carroll, kindergarten teacher
“GoNoodle.com is the best! I use it every day and the kids love it! Sumdog.com is another great tool for math and spellingcity.” Kimberly Pavlisick, second-grade teacher
“Students use Google Drive which is great! They can save their work and simply login at home to access the assignment they were working on.”–– Tracy Skoog, third-grade teacher
“I love GoNoodle.com! I use it all the time. Spellingcity is great too.”–– Gabriela Sipp, fifth-grade teacher
“My students use the Arizona High School Citizen App to help them study for the civic test they have to pass in order to graduate from High School.”–– Amy Marinella, middle school social studies teacher
“Our students have access on campus to Google which provides a ton of information, but it is under a monitoring system to make sure certain sites are not viewed. Students are also taught how to use the city library database to gather information as well. What is also nice is that we have three textbooks online which provide supplementary materials to help students gather more information and to provide support.”–– Jon Doyle, interim principal at Christ Lutheran School
Cellphones in the Classroom?
Most schools now allow students to carry electronics on campus. But, policies vary. Here’s a sampling of official policies from around the North Valley.
“Notre Dame Preparatory promotes proper and appropriate use of technology on and off campus. Use of electronic devices is permitted on campus. Cell phones may be on and out of a student’s backpack in class only with permission of the teacher. Before school, at break, during lunch and after school, students are permitted to use their electronic devices at their own discretion. Students who misuse their electronic devices will be subject to disciplinary sanctions at the discretion of the dean of students.”––Notre Dame Preparatory, Scottsdale
“Inappropriate possession or use of an electronic device or toy occurs when such device is possessed or used in a way that interferes with the orderly operation of the school or otherwise constitutes disruptive behavior. ‘Electronic device’ includes, without limitation, MP3 players/iPods, music player of any kind, cell phones, electronic games, digital cameras, etc.”––Scottsdale Unified School District
“Students, staff, and parents may now bring their own technology devices to school for instructional purposes, if allowed by the teacher/administrator…Electronic devices or toys often cause disturbances or interfere with learning. Therefore, inappropriate use of the devices will result in consequences ranging from the student losing privileges…Phones that disrupt the learning environment will be held for parent pick-up. Student use of devices is prohibited in common areas when unsupervised, such as during lunch or breaks, unless expressly authorized by the students’ teacher or site administrator.”––Cave Creek Unified School District
“We encourage smart phone use for instructional purposes and leave it up to the individual teacher since they know which activities they are doing on any given day that may lend itself to smart phone use, or not.”––Dr. Debbi Burdick, superintendent, CCUSD
How to be a good friend online.
- Be Considerate: Only post photos that you think make your friends look good.
- Respect: If a friends doesn’t like something you’ve posted-take it down; no questions asked.
- Be Sensitive: Don’t post #wishyouwerehere on your Instagram when one or more of your friends weren’t able to make it to the most recent kickback.
- Report it: If you happen to notice cyber-bullying on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, tell a parent, teacher, or someone you trust. If a friend is viewing inappropriate content, take a stand and tell them to log off the site.
Top Back-to-School Apps
Bridge the digital parent-child divide with the latest apps to help you and your child ease back into a fresh school year.
5 Best Apps for Parents
Meal planning is simplified with this app that provides a recipe of the day, cooking videos, and a grocery list. (Free, for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)
A Family Matters
The Family Matters app is designed to help you engage all your family members of any age. Some of the questions and activities are simple, while others are deeper and probing. You can choose from hundreds of location-driven activities. ($1.99, for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)
Say goodbye to oversized poster boards and stickers with this virtual chore chart. Parents can set up a chore list for each kid and assign a monetary value to each chore, complete with a virtual bank account. ($1.99, for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)
Budget, log, and control your monthly expenses with this nifty expense tracker app.
Motivate your toddler with a virtual sticker chart to encourage your little one to say sayonara to diapers. ($2.99, for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)
5 Useful Educational Apps
Fish School HD (Ages 2 to 5)
Colorful fish teach your preschooler letters, numbers, shapes, and colors in an under-the-sea world. ($1.99, for iPad)
School Zone Time, Money & Fractions On-Track (Ages 4 and up)
If your child has ever struggled with telling time, counting coins, and solving fractions, then this is the app for acing these math concepts in school. ($4.99, for iPad)
Spelling City (Ages 4 and up)
This app is a fun way to learn spelling and vocabulary words by playing engaging games using any word list. (Free with the option to purchase a premium subscription, for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)
Stack the States (Ages 9 to 11)
Geography is a snap with this app. Kids answer questions about state flags, capitals, nicknames, abbreviations, and geography-related facts. ($2.99, for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and Google Play)
iTooch Middle School (Ages 4 and up)
With more than 10,000 exercises, iTooch Middle School is the largest collection of educational activities, based on the US National Common Core Standards, in the App store. It covers math, language arts for sixth grade, seventh grade, and eighth grade, and health for sixth grade only. (Free, for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)
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