There’s an App for That!

By: Piper Bell, Technology

In this technology filled world we now live in, we are immersed by many apps that can easily be downloaded onto our mobile devices such as, books, creative art, games, photography, weather, news, shopping, community based GPS navigation and so much more.  Looking through the App Store for apps can be pretty overwhelming.  One thing that can make your decision a little easier as to what app to download is reading the reviews that are posted on each app page.  If it is a paid app it really helps to see what others are saying about the app and if you would like to know a little more you could research the developer.

We are so fortunate to have a plethora of children’s apps to choose from and there are great resources that can select the best top rated apps for kids that are intuitive, helpful and the best priced. Here are twelve of my recommendations from the article, Best Apps for Families:

  • PBS Kids Video:  Provides a safe, child-friendly viewing experience for all ages.
  • Starfall Education Series:  ABC’s, I’m Reading, Numbers, Learn to Read, It’s Fun to Read and more.
  • ABC Mouse Education Bundle:, Mathematics Animations, ABCmouse Music Videos, Language Arts Animations, ABCmouse Mastering Math, Mastering the Alphabet, ABCmouse Science Animations, Magic Rainbow Traceables and ABCmouse Zoo.
  • Heads Up!:  Trivia on the go.
  • Hopscotch: Coding for Kids
  • Swift Playgrounds:  Learn real coding the fun way by Apple
  • Minecraft:  Education Edition – the game allows players to build with a variety of different blocks in 3D to create virtual worlds.  Families can be in the same game if on shared Wi-Fi.
  • Mathmateer:  Build a rocket and fly to the stars completing 56 different math missions.
  • Evernote:  Record voice notes, digitize documents and share files electronically.
  • BrainBreak:  Brain training exercises to increase motivation and teamwork.
  • QuizUp:  Fun, addictive, challenging trivia.
  • Waze:  Community based navigation app that provides real-time traffic updates and road information.

Technology has brought a great deal of instant information to our fingertips, anywhere at anytime, and it is extremely easy to become addicted to spending way too much time surfing the internet, playing games, watching videos, social media and more with children and adults alike. It is very important for families to be aware of the amount of time that media is being used.  With Apple’s Screen Time, you can see how much time you and your children spend on apps, websites and more.  Screen Time will let you set limits for what you want to manage.  To learn more visit,  Apple also has an app, Apple Support, which is your personal guide to find answers with articles tailored to your devices.  What ever you are looking for, more than likely, there’s an app for that!  If not…..maybe you might be the next new app developer!


Social Media and Your Child Part 1

By Cara Miller, CA Director of Technology

Social Media and your child

What seems like only yesterday, parents were concerned that their children were watching too much television or playing Nintendo too much. Those might still be a concern for some, but tides of media have shifted from traditional television watching to instant media via mobile devices. The landscape of media, specifically social media, make people feel connected and disconnected all at the same time. Is the exposure to social media harmful to your child, or just part of the daily landscape?

What is Social Media?

Social media is a generic term for a variety of apps used to interact and communicate with others online. Parents face unprecedented challenges as they raise children in a society that is inundated with instant communication. According to a research study by Common Sense Media in early 2018, amongst 13 to18 year old children the most popular social media tools are: Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Each of these social media outlets offers a different way to share information, connect with friends, or collaborate, but it’s important for parents to note that new apps are built and put onto the web every day.

I gave them a device, now what?

If you have wrestled with questions about the effects of smartphones and social media on teens you are not alone. The moment you hand your child a cell phone or tablet you are making a choice to potentially expose them to the rapid world of media information. Honestly, denying the presence of a technology-rich society won’t make it go away. There’s a great deal of responsibility in having a mobile device no matter what the age. Of course, there are measures and parental controls available to reduce the exposure to the undesirables.

If you have a teen driver, the choice is almost one of necessity. In the above referenced research study by Common Sense Media, twice as many 13-to 17-year olds own a smartphone today than just 6 years ago (41% in 2012 compared to 89% in 2018.). During that same period, the percentage of teens who use social media multiple times a day also doubled, from 34% to 70%.

Once your child has a smart device, it’s up to you to train them on how to safely use it.  It is important for you to do your research regarding the above mentioned apps and many others.  Educate yourself on the uses of these apps and to educate your child on the positives and negatives of the apps.  In the coming blog posts, I will discuss Social Media on many levels.  Check back Thursday for part 2.

Begin Your Journey.