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Skills like ‘crap detection’ can help kids meet cybersecurity challenges head on

We educational technologists often have cybersecurity discussions with students, parents and teachers with digital fluency levels ranging from expert to little-to-no knowledge. As parents and teachers we can understandably be fearful of the role of technology in kids’ lives, however this can sometimes be a barrier to student learning.

Why screen time for babies, children and adolescents needs to be limited

John J Reilly, University of Strathclyde ; Anthony (Tony) Okely, University of Wollongong; Catherine Draper, University of the Witwatersrand, and Mark S. Tremblay, University of Ottawa There is increasing concern about the amount of time children and adolescents are spending in recreational screen time. There’s also increasing controversy over whether or not screen time is actually harmful. Since ...[Read More]

Google Family Link app is now available in SA

Every parent’s dream app has arrived in South Africa. Called Family Link and created by Google, the app gives parents more control over their children’s smartphone habits. The short version? No more illicit Netflix for little Jenny after 22:00 any more. Family Link helps parents keep track of their children’s smartphone activities while also offering a remote control function. A parent can, for ex...[Read More]

Mini Meme: 6 ways to keep the kids ‘appy

With the summer holidays inching ever closer, buy yourself some peace, quiet, and time with these entertaining app downloads for the young ’uns. Sago Mini Monsters R60 / Android, iOS A monster emerges from the gloopy depths, inviting your youngling to scribble all over it, feed it disgusting food, and then – in a nod to sceptical parents everywhere – clean its grimy teeth. Then it’s time for some ...[Read More]

Some of Lego’s hardest to find sets aren’t so elusive in South Africa any more

Every Star Wars fan we’ve come across would give anything to have a Lego Millennium Falcon centrepiece in their house, even if their significant others don’t think it goes with the decor. Or the bank account. Trouble is, in South Africa it’s traditionally been a struggle finding exclusive and hard-to-find Lego sets, so many couples have been spared the discussion… but not anymore. The first certif...[Read More]

Cyberbullying: Four steps to protect your kids

In a typical classroom of 25 to 30 students, eight to 10 children — a third of the class — have been cyberbullied at some point in their lifetime. About three or four students are likely to have bullied others online. High-profile cases like those involving Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons, both of whom committed suicide after being bullied online, demonstrate how harmful this can be. Research cons...[Read More]

Toddlers and touchscreens: a parent’s guide

Mixing toddlers and touchscreens can be a tricky – not to mention sticky – situation for today’s parents. Adults often find themselves glued to their smart phones and tablet – and aren’t sure what to do when it comes to sharing those devices with their children. Should they follow the (somewhat surprising) example of Apple founder Steve Jobs, and ban them completely? Or is it better to go the way ...[Read More]

Banning smartphones for kids is just another technology-fearing moral panic

If a few concerned parents have their way, Colorado will be among the first states to ban the sale of smartphones for use by children under the age of 13. After witnessing what he called a “dramatic, very violent outburst” from one of his sons when taking away his smartphone, a Colorado father (and medical professional) helped create a new lobbying group, called Parents Against Underage Smartphone...[Read More]

Screen time is about more than setting limits

In today’s media-rich world (or media-saturated, depending on your view), one rarely has to look far to find parents concerned about the ways that kids engage with technology. Recently, managing “screen time” seems to be on everyone’s mind – particularly during these summer months when kids find themselves with more time on their hands. As someone who has spent the majority of my career studying k...[Read More]

Social media is nothing like drugs, despite all the horror stories

Letting your child use social media is like giving them cocaine, alcohol and cigarettes – all at once, or so we’re told. If you have been following recent press reports about the effects of social media on young people, you may well believe this. But there is no scientific evidence to support such extreme claims. The real story is far more complex. It is very difficult to predict how social media ...[Read More]

How should we teach our kids to use digital media?

Any time a new technology is introduced, it disrupts values, routines and behaviors. This goes back well before the printing press replaced oral histories or the telephone replaced face-to-face conversations, but is evident today in our regular habits of checking our smartphones for notifications. Kids are growing up with the expectation of auto-playing streaming videos and having access to our ph...[Read More]

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