The Scoop on Smartphone Usage with Kids

People of all ages are affected by mobile or screen devices, even children. As a parent, you may feel tempted to let your child play with your phone or tablet as long as they stay quiet and keep out of trouble, but like most things it is important that you remember to do so in moderation.
Using mobile devices is not tremendously harmful; certain apps can have a huge educational impact on children boosting their skills in areas they may not otherwise be interested in.  The problem is the amount of screen time your kids are being exposed to on a regular basis.  They younger they are as their brains are developing the more adverse the effects may be.
According to Psych Central more than 1.8 billion people own smartphones and according to recent studies, people check their screens more than 150 times a day on average. These statistics have affected children, too, and data from Britain shows almost 70% of 11 to 12-year-olds use a mobile phone and that this usage grows close to 90 percent by the age of 14. Parents of infants and children under the age of 2 should avoid exposing them to smartphones, tablets, computers, televisions and anything else that serves to entertain people through a screen according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
With this in mind, you may begin to wonder how this affects children, especially since they are still growing and developing.
It may inhibit their social skills development
The American Psychological Association has not confirmed (due to inconsistent studies) whether screen time negatively affects children’s social skills but it can play a role.  Time spent on a mobile device means less ti

me interacting face to face with others. There are pros and cons to every situation but the goal is to moderate screen time for children.

It may contribute to shortened attention spans
The percent of children that are thought to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has increased to 11% from 5% before 1990 according to the CDC in a New York Times article. It’s said that this increase is likely to do with sociological changes, including how kids use the Internet and mobile devices.
It can cause aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, hands, back and other parts
The fact is that using smartphones forces people to tilt their heads down while moving wrists and fingers in unnatural ways.  Doing this for long periods of time can cause pain and prolonged joint damage especially in the neck and spine.
Contributes to inactivity and obesity
Lets face it kids these days rather be on their smartphones or tablets than going outside and playing. This requires long periods of time sitting down and kids have the natural urge to jump, hop, skip, climb and be active. This physical activity helps develop a strong and healthy heart, bones, lungs and muscles.  Our suggestion is to enroll them in sports or make sure that they do some form of physical activity every day for at least an hour. You can join them too to make it fun!
Can lead to eye discomfort and unhealthy sleep habits
Staring at a screen for a long period of time can cause digital eyestrain, which can come in the forms of blurred vision, fatigue, headaches and dry eyes. Reduce the amount of screen time and help them properly position their devices to at least arms length.  Trying to reduce the amount of screen time especially before bedtime can help, especially if they are experiencing irregular sleep patterns.  Cut off their time at least an hour to two before bedtime, instead, read a book to them or have them read a book to you.

As important as it is to remember to instill healthy habits in children, it is also vital to remember that children learn a lot by example.

Ways to Help Your Kids Overcome Their Tech Dependency

There is no denying that technology has taken over our lives. There is hardly a way to avoid it these days whether you are paying bills, doing research or simply trying to stay in touch with others. In many ways technology has been a blessing. It has helped us communicate more easily and more effectively than ever before, and it can save a lot of time and energy. But with just how prevalent technology is, it can be difficult to look away from the screen, even when it comes to relaxing and entertainment. This is true for both adults and children, but since children are growing up into this world it can be easy for them to miss out on the outside world – especially if all they know is technology.

As a parent, it may be easy to give your child a mobile device of some sort, whether it be a phone or a tablet, or sit them down in front of the TV all queued up with their favorite Netflix shows. While this can come in handy once a while, and making sure that your kids are watching and playing positive and educational shows and games, it is still important that you make sure that your children are not too dependent on technology.

For kids growing up in a world where technology is everywhere, this may seem like an impossible task, but here are some things you can incorporate into your child’s daily routine in order to make sure that they don’t get too attached:

  • Schedule some tech-free time. Set aside mobile devices, TV’s and other electronics for an hour, during certain activities such as mealtimes, or even entire portions of the day. Making technology-free time can make a huge difference. If kids know that they aren’t supposed to be using specific devices during a certain time of day, they can begin to interact with the world and the people around them more naturally without feeling like they are being forced to do so. Kids are very receptive to routines, so making it a part of your day will make it come naturally to children and it will be easier to draw them away from mobile devices while encouraging play time, family time, or any other activity.
  • Lead by example. Kids do a lot of learning by watching, listening and mimicking, so it is important that parents learn not to use technology too much as well. When enacting tech-free portions of the day or other tech-free activities, make sure to take part yourself! As studies show, when parents read so do their children, so picking up some good habits of your own can prove to be beneficial for both you and your children.
  • For older kids, social media may be a huge part of their lives, so banning the use of technology entirely by taking away phones and computers can actually be a bit detrimental. What you can do, however, is limit social media usage to certain times of day or to places such as only while at home. This way, your children can be social and chat with friends without being on their mobile devices all day long, no matter where they happen to be. The same goes for younger children who may use these devices for games and apps instead of social media. Limit game time to car rides or other periods of time, but make sure that kids participate in other activities as well, such as reading, physical exercise and good old family time.
Most importantly get your kids to pick up a book and read. YES! A physical book!  With reading done on tablets picking up a good old fashioned book gets them away from technology.  If your kids are reluctant to pick up a book try something new… like a personalized book! Personalized books makes kids the star of their own stories so they will be intrigued to read about themselves. 

How to Find Fun Educational Apps for Kids

Educational Apps for Kids

Kids love playing games, and with more and more kids fascinated by their parent’s phones and other mobile devices, many children are spending more time playing video games and looking for apps that are appropriate for them and their interests. Some of the most popular games in the app store are big hits with kids, like Angry Birds, and while this game does teach kids some basics of physics, it’s mostly just a fun game. If your child is mesmerized by mobile devices, there are ways to harness that interest and use it to help bolster their early education.

There are plenty of educational games, activities and other apps that can benefit kids and their learning skills. With games that focus on math, spelling, language arts, science, social studies, languages, early learning, storybooks, games and more, kids can still have a blast while learning key skills that will help them perform better in the classroom.

When it comes to choosing the right educational apps for your child, there are so many for you to choose from. There are apps like Fishing with Grandpa available in the iTunes App Store that are great for developing early learning skills or Wonster Words, also available on iTunes for various devices, that helps acquaint kids with phonics. Traffic is a programming and coding game for children, a field that is exponentially growing and is becoming an arguably necessary and employable skill for people in many different fields. There are also interactive stories, like Pinky the Pink Penguin that aims to teach kids about diversity and accepting others because being different can be good. We also offer a wide variety of different personalized interactive e-books that can be downloaded and accessed on mobile devices for kids to peruse and learn key reading comprehension skills.

Personalized eBooks for Kids

There are other creative unique apps out there as well. ADHD Skill Boosters Tween is great for kids struggling with this particular disorder and helps them bolster their learning skills in a way that suits them and their needs. When it comes to finding the right apps for your kids, one of the best places to look is in recommendations lists or app pages that link to similar apps. Look at what games your child is known to like and see if there are any similar apps out there that might offer some educational benefits as well. Even searching for the apps listed here will bring you to even more “recommended” and “similar” apps that you can peruse. Before downloading an app, especially ones that cost money, make sure that you read the comments and that it is not too easy for your kids to accidentally buy features and other aspects of the app that they may advertise.

It also helps to remember that educational apps are still games. Spending time on a digital device is not inherently bad, and making sure that your child is acquainted with the various digital platforms out there can help prepare them for the world – but it is just as important that kids have variety in their daily activities. It is still important and beneficial to encourage reading from physical books, playing board games, being active in or out doors and participating in a wide range of different kinds of activities, is good for children and their overall development.