10 Cool math app games that teachers and kids love

Math apps save the day. Seriously. While parents worry about too much screen time and other possible cyber problems their kids may run into on their phones and tablets the upside of these gadgets kids use are math apps.

There are tons of benefits to be had by tech savvy kids who can navigate through the muck to uncover the gems of the digital frontier.  Not sure where to start? Next time your youngster is in need of some screen-based stimulation, consider these educational and fun math apps for kids.

Teachers and parents alike are now using following math apps for kids to help their students acquire mathematical skills easily while having fun with numbers:

1. Prodigy Game – math app

kids math prodigy game
Fun with math – Prodigy Game is a go to favorite

Meant for students of grades 1-8, Prodigy Game is available for free on iOS, Android and web platforms. Teachers love this game-based learning program because it allows them to use games in classroom and for homework assessment projects and make learning a fun activity.

The app offers built-in diagnostic test which generates real-time reports on students’ progress and helps teachers identify their strengths and weaknesses.

2. Math Training for Kids – math app

Android free math app kids
A classic Android math app

Meant for students of ages 3 and up, Math Training for Kids is an Android-based app helps students to pick up four basic concepts of Math – addition, subtraction, multiplication and division – quite easily. You will find tons of interesting exercises and games to give kids much needed practice.

3. CK12 – math app

Not just Math - a whole bunch of great educational material
Not just Math – a whole bunch of great educational material can be found here at CK-12

A free app, available on Android, iPhone or iPad, Windows 8 or 10 and web platforms, CK-12 pairs high-quality content with latest technology. The interactive learning activities it offers include adaptive practice, PLIX, and simulations.

High School students would love its BrainGenie section while those who specifically want to develop their Algebra Proficiency and Higher Mathematics skills should delve into its FlexMath section.

Teachers love the app because it is easily accessible anytime, anywhere; and include workbooks, quizzes and tests too.

4. Colorado’s PhET – math app

This is a treasure trove of math goodness
This is a treasure trove of math goodness

Colorado’s University PhET simulations project is quite popular as a classroom tool in progressive Maths and Science teachers. The animated illustrations can easily be incorporated into lectures as well as homework assignments to help students understand certain concepts easily.

While PhET app is available for $0.99 for Android and iPhone/iPad users, K-12 students can access its PhET simulations online External link  for free to study mathematical concepts like Projectile Motion, Calculus Grapher, and Arithmetic.

5. Photomath – point and shoot math app

Take a picture of your math problems and the app helps you solve them
Take a picture of your math problems and the app helps you solve them

Available for free on both Android and iOS platforms, Photomath allows you to snap a picture of the math problem and get its step-by-step solution! From basic arithmetic to fractions to trigonometry to linear and quadratic equations, it can help you with a lot of Math problems quite easily.

While a good teacher will certainly never allow you to use this app in a classroom, teachers do recommend it as a study support too that students can use at home.

6. Khan Academy – math app and more

The wrath of Khan? Nope - actually a leader in online education for kids
The wrath of Khan? Nope – actually a leader in online education for kids

Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, uploaded videos on Algebra on YouTube with a purpose to provide remote tutoring to his cousin. The videos got more views than he expected and today Khan Academy offers free video lessons to all students through its apps and website.

One can learn anything here – from counting to calculus. There is a dashboard which allows students, parents, and teachers to track the progress of students too.

7. GeometryPad – math app

Geometry pad - great on tablets
Geometry pad – great on tablets

Free for Android and iOS, the app is loved by teachers for making the understanding of geometric concepts easier and ensures better student engagement in class. Teachers can also give assignments for home using it, in which students can practice taking measurements and using the compass, experiment with different geometric shapes, and create complex geometric sketches too.

8. BuzzMath – math app

Buzz math - Anytime Anywhere
Buzz math – Anytime Anywhere

Buzz math interactive math taken to the next level. Primarily a web-based app, it offers over 3,000 problems that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Teachers love it because it is accessible from any device, offers a variety of input styles, allows students to try again and again, and of course, detailed reporting tools (in paid versions only).

9. Brainscape Flashcards

Available in iOS and Android
Available in iOS and Android

Available on both iOS and Android based platforms, Brainscape Flashcards is unique because it gathers inputs from a student and then, creates a study plan tailored to him or her.

Math tutors External link  love it for its flashcard function, which is quite useful when it comes to helping high school students learn their formulas. Flashcard repetitions in the app are timed according to the individual’s cognitive requirements and have been scientifically proven to help you learn better in half the time.

10. Komodo math

Designed by teachers for families, Komodo builds a solid foundation in maths for children aged 5 to 11. It works on all devices and doesn’t keep kids at the screen for long periods

Expertly designed interactive math practice and animated videos. Motivation built-in to keep learners on track. The app includes over 500 learning games and educational videos.

So that’s our recommended top 10 in an age when attention spans of students are  diminishing rapidly and gadgets play a major role in their lives. We hope that this list helps forward-thinking parents and teachers to find new ways to help their students learn better and keep them interested in their studies.

10 Best Kids podcasts for long summer road trips

It’s that time of year again and we have put together a list of the 10 best kids podcasts for this seasonal tradition – the road trip.

You’re going to need some serious in-car entertainment if your family is planning to drive to a destination over an hour away from your home. A lot of parents don’t exactly think of podcasts as kid-friendly entertainment however there there are a surprising amount of amazing family-friendly podcasts just waiting for the eager ears of your travelling clan.

Check out these kid-friendly podcasts as you explore the world with your gang this summer.

The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd

best podcasts for kids Dr. Floyd
The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd

A Classic. Painting with words, The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd does an awesome job of animating Dr. Floyd’s wacky adventures. With over 300 episodes the show provides countless hours of entertainment. If your kid loves exploring mysterious world, travelling in spaceships, exploring  and solving mysteries this podcast will keep them quiet, at least for the 6 minute episode.

Life of Dad

life of dad podcast safe lagoon
Life of Dad is not only for dads

This one is for all the dads out there, especially the ones with sons. Two dads chronicle their life of video games, diapers, comic books and trying to one up their kid’s moms. Life of Dad is a great show that gives a male perspective on parenting that is often left out.

StoryCub

StoryCub podcast Safe Lagoon for kids
StoryCub – Video stories every day

StoryCub allows kids to watch video versions of the latest children’s books with or without their parent’s attention. With StoryCub, kids can hear stories read by real adults with, or without, pictures to boot. It’s great for long road trips when your toddler doesn’t understand that your hands cannot physically open their favorite book.

Brains On!

Kid's podcast that teaches about science
Brains on! Not just for kids.

This well-informed podcast answers questions to get your kid’s mind moving, like: What happens to your brain when you’re reading a book? Why is the ocean salty? How does a piano work?  Question-based topics by kids is the name of the game here and its great fun. The host interviews kids as they explain the answers to all life’s mysteries in a youthful way. Brains On! is available on just about every podcasting platform you can think of.

The Moth Podcast

The moth podcast Safe Lagoon
The whole family will enjoy these stories

The Moth Podcast brings stories from the world’s greatest storytellers into one common space. This podcast celebrates the diversity of the human experience. Podcast stories range from one man’s heartfelt experience on the traffic-hectic streets of LA to a KGB interrogation and one woman’s journey through extreme weather. If your older kids are up for hearing some otherworldly, life-transforming stories, this podcast is for you.

Stuff Schools Don’t Teach

Stuff Schools Don't Teach podcast safe lagoon
The Stuff Schools Don’t Teach

this podcast is a hidden gem. Teens, young adults, and mom and dad will be excited to listen to this podcast. Stuff Schools Don’t Teach gives teens and young adults a chance to catch up on life skills they weren’t taught during their school years or miss out on. From how to save and budget to how to get a mentor, and history’s unsung heroes.

Sesame Street

podcast sesame street for kids
Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

When all else fails, everyone loves Cookie Monster, Maria, and even the Grouch. Sesame Street brings it’s historically dynamic programming to podcast and video via their website and iTunes. You can listen and watch the Count count to 100 or have story time with Elmo right in your car.

One Bad Mother

bad mother podcast safe lagoon
One awesome podcast from one bad mother

Get some laughs with the web’s resident bad moms with the One Bad Mother podcast. Laugh at the hilarious antics of these moms as they chuckle their way through the various stages, experiences, and emotions of motherhood.

The Moth Podcast

The moth podcast Safe Lagoon
The whole family will enjoy these stories

The Moth Podcast is dedicated to bringing stories from the world’s greatest storytellers into one common space. This podcast celebrates the diversity of the human experience. Podcast stories range from one man’s heartfelt experience on the traffic-hectic streets of LA to a KGB interrogation and one woman’s journey through extreme weather. If your older kids are up for hearing some otherworldly, life-transforming stories, this podcast is for you.

Wow in the World

podcasts kids safe lagoon
Dad’s don’t need to know everything anymore

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting schooled by NPR’s first podcast for kids. Hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz take listeners through a weekly conversation around the most incredible kid-friendly stories of the last 7 days. Each Wow in the World Podcast episode kicks off with a series of questions about a new amazing scientific discovery or finding, which are answered through comedy and debate. For example, “How long would it take to get to the closest star outside of our solar system?”  Congrats dads! You no longer need to know everything.

With all of these podcasts at your fingertips (ear tips?) and ready to be listened to, your next road trip should fly by and you have the kids asking you to circle the block once you have arrived so they can hear the end of the latest episode.

Safe Lagoon at the World Anti-Bullying Forum 2019

World Anti Bullying Forum
World Anti Bullying Forum 2019 in Dublin

Safe Lagoon Software is proud and excited to be a part of the  World Anti-Bullying Forum 2019 Dublin, Ireland on June 4-6th, 2019.

Some of the world’s most renowned anti-bullying researchers and practitioners will be attending, presenting and working at the conference, which is a going to be a great event for Dublin University.

The aim of this international and multidisciplinary forum is to broaden our understanding of bullying, harassment, discrimination, ostracism and other forms of degrading treatment and violence among children and youth. The forum will encourage this by sharing knowledge and exploring new perspectives and acknowledging that bullying and other forms of inhumane or degrading treatment have to be understood as a complex interplay between individual, interpersonal and contextual factors.

The forum invites perspectives from different disciplines and areas such as (but not limited to) psychology, social psychology, sociology, social anthropology, education, gender studies, social work, health sciences, childhood studies, political science, philosophy, and criminology. The intention of the forum is to create multidisciplinary and cross-level dialogues, panels and meetings to improve the understanding of bullying and the work to stop and prevent it. The forum in 2019 will also emphasize the importance of cross-cultural and cross-national dialogues and sharing of knowledge and experiences to reach an even more thorough understanding of the complexity of bullying.

Aside from academic contributions, several industry and organisational sessions by the likes of Facebook, Vodafone, Webwise, Bulldog Solutions, McAfee, and UNESCO will also deliver their input into how they tackle bullying and promote online safety within their industries.

In terms of specific topics, there will be a wide range of research areas presented including: school bullying, cyberbullying, sexting, peer and sibling bullying, bystanders, interventions, harassment, policy evaluation, among many others. See the full conference programme here for more detail on the specific talks and presentations.

 

10 Million US parents know why you should use Safe Lagoon

In today’s world where children are “growing up digital”, it’s critical to help them learn healthy concepts of device use. Parents now need to protect their children online and off and teach these online skills to their children. With the average screen time for a child today at a whopping 7.5 hours per day parents are looking for a way to establish healthy usage of technology. There are many parental control apps out there claiming to handle specific online issues for children. But with the launch of Safe Lagoon there is now a single app for families addressing their most important needs.

It’s not just about web surfing anymore

Parents are looking for a one-stop solution which will help them manage and interpret the huge flow of data that kids encounter today across their devices.

In today’s digital age children are met with new threats and challenges everyday including: bullying, privacy, predators and explicit content and more. Left to their own devices, kids lack the knowledge and experience to properly maintain their online safety. Safe Lagoon is a simple tool that can help them manage the complex online world.

Saving Your Time

As we address the challenge of developing responsible and safe usage of connected devices we are saving parents valuable time as well.

When parents use Safe Lagoon they no longer need to spend time with hands-on page by page reviews of their kid’s browser history and avoid causing a scene when they grab their child’s telephone and start scanning text messages manually. The Safe Lagoon app frees up parents by analyzing in the cloud all the channels that their kids use to communicate – and if there is a problem or a behavior pattern that could signify an issue – we send out a notification.

Parenting is hard enough without having to learn a new language  

Parents aren’t always aware of the slang and abbreviations used online today (the good old days of plain old “lol” are long, long gone) and a lot of time can be spent trying to decipher content and serious events can be missed. We take care of that. Safe Lagoon is always evolving and learning how kids speak and communicate today. We have an excellent success rate on understanding jargon, screening with comparisons against the millions of records we have in our database. It would take a huge amount of time for a parent to do that – and to be honest, it’s really boring reading kids texts all the time. Now parents are saving valuable time by letting let Safe Lagoon handle it for them.

Parents Protect Kids Online

Pew Research Center survey of parents finds that parents today have a variety of methods in guiding their kids in the direction of healthy digital habits.

Connected devices are so abundant in a child’s life, that 65% of parents have taken to “digitally grounding” their children when they misbehave.

Infographic

While more and more parents are incorporating parental software tools like Safe Lagoon, most are still taking a hands-on approach to managing their child’s interactions online, from screen time to sites visited. According to the Pew study:

  • 61% of parents say they have checked which websites their teen visits.
  • 60% have checked their teen’s social media profiles.
  • 56% have friended or followed their child on Facebook, Twitter or some other social media platform.
  • 50% have looked through phone call records or text messages.

More and more parents are looking to technology assist them in managing and monitoring their child’s internet use. For example:

  • 39% of parents report using parental controls for blocking, filtering or monitoring their teen’s online activities.
  • 16% use parental controls to restrict their teen’s use of his or her cellphone.
  • 16% use monitoring tools on their teen’s cellphone to track their location.

39% of US parents using parental controls for filtering, blocking or monitoring their child’s online activities equals more than 10,000,000 US parents who have decided to implement software such as Safe Lagoon to protect their children.

The app of choice for parents

From blocking unsafe content and search results, managing games and device screen time, child location, and real-time reporting as well as automated insights into online behavior – Safe Lagoon is simply the best way to protect your kids as they explore online.

Safe Lagoon is a unique and revolutionary parenting tool, which aims to help parents better understand and maintain their children’s digital activity and safety. At Safe Lagoon, we’re excited to bring parenting into the 21st century. We’re working hard to help facilitate strong relationships, and a safer world for families around the world.

Sign up for a free trial and join 10 million other parents who use parental software to protect their kids.

Tips for teens in a digital world

Today childhood and technology go hand-in-hand: with many parents feeling like tablets and smartphones have become extensions of their children, could I go so far as to say our kids sometimes seem like cyborgs – plugged in and absorbing data at an impossible rates of speed.

The younger generations have grown up amid computers, the world wide web, and digital media. Our children have not experienced the liberating experience of flip cell phones or dial-up Internet; they have only known a world where high speed information and communication is a given.

This can be difficult at times. There are days where you feel like you’re trapped in a foreign land as you try to tap your way through touchscreens of “likes”, disappearing messages and Snaps. Our lack of app understanding may frustrate our children, because apparently even our choice of browser is “so old school”. Parents can feel lost and confused at times, desperately grasping for ways to communicate and relate to their children on their level.

It’s time we took a broader look into society’s love of the digital world and what it has brought to the table of parenting. Many people believe that high school can make or break a child, so it is even more vital to be aware of the digital and real worlds our adolescents straddle.

Common sense can go a long way when raising teenagers, but navigating unknown territories can be intimidating for the “older” generation.

Our children are already comfortable living in two realities at the same time:two realities: digital and face-to-face. So parents are going to have to learn to navigate both worlds if we want to keep up.

Finding Balance: Tips For Raising Teens In A Digital World

Parents may lack the newest skills or digital gadgets, but we aren’t completely in the dark. Although, we may need to step up our game and conquer the technology gap before it plunges a permanent wedge between the generations.

Social media and technology are not necessarily something to fear. As we raise digital natives, the new advancements can bring us closer together and work in our favor.

Keep in mind:

  • Technology is changing the way we relate to one another, but face-to-face conversation is still important in the present. Future generations may value it less, but in the meantime, for our children to be successful in communicating with older generations, they must be able to communicate both online and in-person.
  • Technology increases opportunity for distraction. From dropping conversations, procrastinating important work, or losing the ability to self-reflect, technology represents an ever-present temptation to leave difficult places. Those who will succeed in the future will be the ones who learn to overcome this temptation.
  • Technology can be used for consumption or creation. We can play video games… or we can create them. We can browse Facebook… or we can create places and communities that serve a purpose. Help your children know the difference.
  • You can’t believe everything you see on the Internet. It concern not only the question of how reliable Wikipedia or news feed is but the profiles we create representing ourselves online. We post our most glorious moments online, but hide the most painful. We build a facade of happiness and success but inside, we are as lost and broken as the next person. Our online selves need more authenticity. And our children need to know the danger of comparing themselves to the rose-colored profiles created on social media.
  • Your self-worth can not be calculated by likes and shares and retweets.
  • You can’t expect anyone else to guide your teenager. Relate to them about what high school was like for you. Ask them about drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Also, be on the lookout for warning signs your teen may be developing a problem.
  • Use media hype to your advantage and use sensitive headlines as an opportunity to begin a dialogue.
  • Supervise- their activities, even when you aren’t able to be there in person. Follow up on his whereabouts and check in regularly.
  • Research sites and understand the digital world. Knowing potential problem areas can help you avoid traps and pitfalls.
  • Talk about “edited reality”. Discuss photo editing and profile grooming. Anyone can edit their updates and online presence. Teens are likely to be “concrete and literal thinkers” and may jump to conclusion that they are not worthy or that everyone is better than them.
  • Remind your child that deleting a tweet or post won’t completely remove the comments. The Internet doesn’t forget.
  • Use smartphone monitoring software to be aware of your child’s Social Media etiquette and activity.

Raising teenagers can be an adventure of a lifetime. This voyage can be delightful and terrifying at the same time, especially as our children maneuver in two worlds at once.Technology can hinder or improve our parenting, but it doesn’t need to be feared. The digital world allows us to keep updated with our teens and help translate their behaviors. It’s always best to prepare for unexpected surprises along the road.

Gaming Devices: a Parent’s Guide to keeping kids safe

Gaming

Children and young people love gaming. In fact, it is often through games that children first start to use technology. According to latest reports more than 41% of young people aged between 5-15 have a games console in their room.

Handheld Games: Handheld games are played on small consoles. Some of the popular handheld consoles are the Nintendo DSi, 3DS, Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) and the PS Vita. These devices can access the internet wirelessly, and allow for playing games with others online.

Consoles: These devices, like the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii and WiiU, are designed to work with a TV. Consoles like these are capable of connecting to the internet via a home internet connection just like other computers. This allows users to download games or ‘expansions’ to existing games as well as playing online, although a subscription may be required for this. All of the three main manufacturers (Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft) include parental control functions in their consoles that are linked to age ratings systems.

From sport related games to mission based games and quests inspiring users to complete challenges, interactive games cater for a wide range of interests, and can enable users to link up and play together.

Games can provide a fun and social form of entertainment often encouraging teamwork and cooperation when played with others. Just like offline games, they can have educational benefits, helping to develop skills and understanding.

Today’s games consoles have in-built wireless so they can connect to your home internet or other wifi hotspots. This enables a wide range of online functions, such as playing with or against people online (in a multi-player game), viewing films and TV, storing photos and music, browsing the web and chatting to friends.

Internet safety advice is directly applicable to gaming devices because risks of ContentContactConduct and Commercialism also apply:

Content Risks: age-inappropriate material can be available to children in games and through online services.

Some games might not be suitable for your child’s age – they may contain violent or sexually-explicit content. The quality of graphics in many games is very high, so the games can appear very realistic. Many devices allow users to browse the internet, and watch films and TV, and some of the content available is not appropriate for children.

Contact Risks: potential contact from someone who may wish to bully or abuse them.

Many games allow gamers to play with people online, potentially from all around the world. While gaming you can communicate with users by text, voice or video chat. This might mean your child is exposed to offensive or aggressive language from other players. Bullying can also happen, which is known as ‘griefing’ in games, when players single out others specifically to make their gaming experience less enjoyable. Young people can also make themselves vulnerable to contact by those with a sexual interest in children if they give out their personal details.

Conduct Risks: children may be at risk because of their own and others’ behavior.

Specific conduct risks for gamers include excessive use to the detriment of other aspects of their lives. This is sometimes referred to as ‘addiction’. Gamers also need to think about their own behaviour and attitude towards other players, as well as the importance of not sharing any personal information.

Commercialism Risks: young people can be unaware of hidden costs and advertising.

There have been cases where children and young people have got into difficulty by inadvertently running up bills when playing games online. Some young people may also not be aware of advertising in games, for example, within the game there might be a billboard advertising a real-life product, or the whole game might be designed to promote particular products or brands.

How to stay safe

Gaming devices provide a variety of interesting activities and ways for young people to engage with their friends and families. However, it is important to be aware of what these devices can do and how you can talk with your child to help them to use this technology in safe and positive way. All modern gaming devices offer parental controls to help you manage how your child uses their device, but these do need to be set up in order for them to be operational.

Three steps for parents:

  1. Understand the capabilities of gaming devices and how you as a parent can support your child to be smart and safe in their gaming. To help, read the FAQs below. If you are buying a gaming device, why not print our Shopper’s Checklist and ask these questions in the shop?
  2. Find out about the parental controls available – it helps if you are the one to set up the gaming device so you are in control of these. Gaming devices have parental controls to help parents manage their children’s gaming, for example, to prevent internet browsing or restrict access to age-restricted games. Find out about PEGI age ratings to help you decide which games are appropriate for your child’s age.
  3. Talk with your child about safe and responsible gaming and agree a set of family rules. Perhaps you could agree rules with your child about how long they are allowed to play for, how they should behave towards other gamers and agree rules about not meeting up with people they have only met online.

FAQs: Your questions answered

How do I know which games are appropriate/ suitable for my child?

The Pan European Game Information (PEGI) age rating system exists to help parents make informed decisions about buying computer games, similar to the BBFC ratings for films. The rating on a game confirms that it is suitable for players over a certain age, but is not indicative of the level of difficulty.

PEGI age labels appear on the front and back of games packaging. Additional ‘descriptors’ shown on the back of the packaging indicate the main reasons why a game has received a particular age rating. Parents should be particularly aware of the ‘online gameplay’ descriptor which indicates whether a game can be played online.

Encourage your child to only access online games that are appropriate for their age and always check the age rating on any game before buying it for your child, as well as considering whether it has an online component. Games consoles have parental controls so that you can restrict your child from accessing games which are not appropriate for their age (e.g. see the picture at the beginning of the article).

How long should I let my child play games for?

Consider what is appropriate for the users in your house and their gaming needs. This may depend on the type of game they are playing, for example, quest based games are unlikely to be completed within half an hour. Talk with your children about family rules for playing games online, which could cover safety considerations as well as play time limits. All games should form part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle – the recommendation is to take five minute breaks every 45–60 minutes.

Communication

How might my child communicate with people using their gaming device?

Many games offer users the ability to chat with other gamers while playing. Players can ‘talk’ by using Instant Messenger style messages which are typed during the game and they can often use voice chat (made possible through in-built microphones or headsets, depending on the console) which is similar to talking on the phone.

Parental control tools are available, which can limit certain functions in games, including chat. Make sure your children know how to protect their privacy; advise them never to give out any personal information, pictures of themselves, or agree to meet someone in person, either when using online chat or sharing information in their user profile. If your child does play against people they don’t know, make sure they know how to block and report other players and use the mute function which can disable chat in many games.

Encourage your child to use an appropriate screen or character name (also called gamertags) that follow the rules of the game. These names should not reveal any personal information or potentially invite harassment.

In addition to chatting within a game, many gamers chat on community forums and content sites related to the games they are playing. Gamers use these sites to exchange information about the games as well as to provide tips and hints to others. It is important to encourage your child to remember to respect their privacy on these sites too and make sure they know how to report any issues they encounter.

Costs

How can I ensure that my child doesn’t run up a big bill when using their gaming device?

Gaming devices with online networks, such as Xbox LIVE or the PlayStation Network, allow you to make purchases online. This may include games, game add-ons or films. It is helpful to understand how your child could spend money on their device. You should talk to them about agreed spending limits or use parental control settings to restrict spending as necessary.

 

 

 

Text Message Bullying: Responding to Aggression

sad-emoticonBullying comes through many venues – the classic image is a gang of thugs gathering behind the gym at school, but the truth is that many bullies have moved to alternative forms of attack like social media, public message boards, and text messaging. The last of these is most common and today we’re going to take a look at the best ways of responding to any kind of aggression and ridicule sent through texts.

There are several factors that can make text bullying more damaging than traditional bullying for both the victim and the bully:

  • It can happen 24 hours a day, even at home, which is usually a refuge from bullying, so it can feel inescapable.
  • Text bullies are often much meaner because they don’t have to see their victims.
  • The victims may not know who is sending the text messages, which can be frightening.
  • Teens may think text bullying is anonymous and that they can’t get caught. They also may use someone else’s phone to send the messages.
  • Victims often respond by sending mean messages back to the bully, becoming bullies themselves.

Discovering The Problem

Most kids are intensely private when it comes to their technology – they have no desire to share their private communications or let you know when anything is wrong, and like many cases of bullying, children are often unwilling to call attention to it. They may be afraid of retaliation or being thought of as weak, so it’s up to parents to take the initiative when it comes to detecting the bullying.

There are two fairly reliable methods of doing this:

  1. Method one involves paying attention to the child’s behavior. If they’re happy and having fun when they get home, but come down worried and upset ten minutes later, then there’s a good chance that they saw a message of some kind that bothered them. This is a warning flag and should prompt a discussion about what’s upsetting the child.
  2. Method two – and the more reliable way of discovering the problem – involves monitoring the child’s text messages. This can be used separately or in conjunction with method one – quickly glancing over the recent messages for signs of bullying is an excellent way of monitoring the situation without intruding too far on the child’s privacy.

Dealing With Text Message Bullying

The best method of dealing with bullying via text message is ignoring it. Bullies want to provoke a reaction, and nothing will make them happier than getting a response demanding they stop.

Text messaging is, by its very nature, a delayed response. There’s no instant gratification of seeing another child afraid, and no way to escalate things when the bully wants to do so. The upside of this is that bullies will quickly get bored when they don’t receive a response, though they may send increasingly frequent (and crude) messages in a desperate attempt to provoke a response of some kind.

There are cases of cyberbullying which caused teen to take their own life – it’s in the news and it is scary. Any parent may be tempted to take away a teen’s cell phone to prevent text bullies from harassing a victim, but this deprives teens of social connections that are very important to them. Fear of losing their phones is a major reason why teens don’t report text bullying. There are, however, other ways that parents can help combat the effects of text messages from bullies:

  • Talk to your kids about text bullying and why it is wrong. Tell them if they ever are the victim that it’s not their fault and they won’t be punished.
  • Help teens block numbers that are sending mean text messages.
  • Tell teens not to let anyone else use their phone to send messages.
  • If the text bullying is serious, contact the cell phone company to get the teen a new phone number and have the teen be very careful about who they give it to.
  • If the teen knows who the bully is, let the bully’s parents know what they are doing.

Despite examples on the news, warnings, and tough consequences, bullying will never completely go away. As parents, we need to constantly be aware of popular apps and websites that are popular with teens.  The more we monitor what our children are doing with their cellphones, the safer they will be.

Monitoring vs. Spying – which way is the right way?

Online Überwachung - Und die Privatsphäre?

The most basic impulse of parenting is to make sure that children are safe. Ironically, in our culture of constant checking in, selfies, status updates, and tweets, ensuring our children’s online safety can feel more complicated than ever.

Recent studies show that 78% of teens now have a mobile phone, almost half (47%) of those own smartphones, and over 90% of teens have access to a computer or have one of their own. With all of this access to technology that changes on a dime, how can parents monitor their teens without crossing over into spying on them? Does privacy exist for teenagers, and does online monitoring cause teens to lose trust in their parents?

Before addressing the sticky subject of teen privacy within a family unit, it is essential for all teenagers to understand that privacy, while a privilege, does not exist online or anywhere else, for that matter. Regardless of where we go and what we do online or in the physical world, we are observed through a variety of tools, such as security cameras, traffic cameras, internet records, mobile phone records, what comes in the mail, credit card purchases, social media sites, and GPS devices. And even though we believe that certain information can be deleted, that is just not true when it comes to our online reputations.

This is a hard lesson that teens need to learn as soon as possible: If it is online, it is forever, even if they think there is privacy.

The Difference Between Monitoring and Spying on Teens

This hard lesson is partly why parents are so concerned about their children’s behavior online, but the fact remains that teens require the chance to be independent, show responsibility, and experience privacy as they develop into adults. Monitoring software such as Safe Lagoon, can be added to teens’ smartphones and other devices by parents as a preventive measure, offering protection against people who want to do their children harm.

The best way to monitor kids of all ages is to keep talking with them, no matter how difficult it might feel, especially with teens. Open communication is the key when it comes to monitoring online behavior and helping parents keep teens safe. Monitoring is a form of – and adds to – open communication between parents and teens, allowing them to cooperate in an increasingly noisy and busy world.

How to Talk to Your Teen About Monitoring Software

When talking to your teen about online behavior, it’s good to begin with statistics:

  • On average, teens spend 5 hours and 38 minutes online every day
  • More than half of teens have witnessed cyberbullying on social media.
  • Out of over 1300 teens surveyed, 18% have considered meeting with someone in person whom they first met online. Of these, 58% have actually met up with someone in person.
  • 15 percent of teens admit they have hacked into a social network account.
  • In 100% of the cases teens that are the victims of sexual predators have gone willingly to meet with them.
  • About half of young people have experienced some form of cyberbullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly.

Your teen probably doesn’t realize what’s going on in the world outside of themselves. Also, share some stories you’ve read about recently that concern you. Teens need to hear examples of what other teens have done and the consequences of their choices. Even as adults, we learn from others mistakes.

Parents may decide for their child’s safety monitoring software would give them peace of mind. If you do decide to go this route, it is important to give your child a heads-up before you do. Again, you may discuss the statistics, the stories, but mainly your concern is for their safety. Explain to them that you are not spying on them, and you want to make sure they are not putting themselves or their family at risk.

We all want that ideal, picturesque relationship with our teens. We all want to avoid dealing with their bad attitudes and senseless behaviors. Part of us would love to just have them skip their teenage years and go straight into adulthood. The thing is we know that can’t happen and really we don’t want to miss out on any part of their growing years. And fact is teenagers are good at drama. While they are reacting negatively to being monitored, secretly, I’d bet they are thanking you for caring so much about them. It’s simple. We need to open our eyes and be the parent! And remember that Safe Lagoon is always ready to give a helping hand!

-based on TeenSafe publication

 

Smartphone Addiction in Teens

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It’s a familiar scene: you’re trying to facilitate family bonding time and your teenager’s attention is off somewhere else, her eyes glued to her glowing smart phone. You’re exasperated! Is this normal, you wonder? It’s hard to comprehend what could be so important!  You begin to wonder if your teen has an addiction.

Well, it’s not outside the realm of possibility…

Many surveys and researches suggest that social media addiction occurs because we become hooked on the validation gained from having our posts “liked” and commented on. 62% of adults worldwide report an increase in self-esteem after they receive positive social-media feedback.

This phenomenon might be intensified for teens that are just beginning to build their identities outside of their parents. Teens across the globe are learning to equate the size of their online audience with feelings of love and acceptance… and when those likes stop rolling in, teens become unhinged.

Worried your teen might be a victim of modern age technology?

There’s a good chance that smartphone addiction is happening if your teen…

  • …feels uncomfortable when they do not have instant access to information
  • …gets angry when told they should leave the smartphone behind
  • …appears agitated when the battery on their smartphone is low, and abandons conversations or activities so they can plug their phone in
  • …frequently expresses concern about, or goes past, any data limit on their plan – and regularly asks to have more data if there is a limit
  • …seems incapable of navigating to a destination without checking for directions on their phone
  • …feels anxious any time they cannot check up on social media
  • …obsessively checks for new messages, and grows increasingly agitated if they go for a long period of time without receiving an update                                                               What can you do to help?                                                                                              1) Be a role model.                                                                                                     When you’re with your teen, be present and put your own phone away. The recent survey has discovered that  parents showed that the smartphone addiction is not restricted only to teens. In fact, 69% of parents admit that they check their phone every hour, with 56% of parents even admitting to checking their phone while they were driving! This alarming behavior does not go unnoticed by teens. Whether they realize it or not, teens are watching you to learn how to behave, so set a good example by limiting your own screen time at home.                                                            2) Set limits.                                                                                                                      Create “no phone zones” in your home to make sure that your teen is putting the phone away at certain points of the day. For example, teens shouldn’t be allowed to carry a phone to the dinner table or to their bedroom when they’re supposed to be going to sleep.                                                                                                                               3) Encourage in-person socialization.                                                                 Allow your teen to have his or friends over after school so they can spend time together in person instead of texting back and forth. Look for clubs or after school activities that your teen can participate in that will help him or her put the phone down and engage in other activities.                                                                                       4) Talk to teens.                                                                                                                      The older a teen is, the more likely they are to argue with you about any rules that you set. To avoid this additional conflict, talk to teens prior to establishing new smartphone rules. Tell your teen about how much he or she is missing out on by being glued to the phone, and tell them this is not a punishment, but rather a lifestyle change that you want the whole family to get on board with. Remind them that a handful of great friends are worth a million acquaintances.

The key to solving smartphone addiction isn’t to totally remove a teen’s smartphone as a part of their life – it’s simply to get them to recognize it as a tool, not a safety blanket, and that like all other tools it’s okay to put it down for awhile.

The ultimate goal is to promote a healthy online/offline balance that improves your child’s life instead of dragging them down and tying their happiness to a single object.

based on TeenSafe article