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Common Sense Media’s Guide to Low–Cost Internet

High-speed internet at home can make a big difference: Fast internet can make it easier to do schoolwork, apply for jobs, and use government services. But what if you can’t afford the internet? There are now several affordable options for high-speed internet. Still, it can be confusing to locate the best option. This guide can help, but check the details carefully before you sign up; Common Sense Media can’t guarantee these offers.

Best Nutrition, Health, and Fitness Apps for Kids

These health-focused apps, games, and sites give kids the straight dope on a host of essential and often taboo topics about bodies. They’ll be moving: practicing yoga, enhancing motor skills through teamwork, and analyzing sports techniques. Whether it’s in physical education (PE) and health class, or core content areas like science, students are sure to find the vital information they need to stay energized and active.

Get the list from Common Sense Media

Devices vs. Empathy

From Common Sense Media

The mere presence of a phone on the table between two people having a discussion has been shown to decrease feelings of empathy. Whether this is because the phone owner is distracted by the possibility of an incoming message or the promise of something more interesting on the device is unclear. But it makes sense that if someone isn’t giving you their full attention, they’re less likely to understand or empathize with you, and ultimately that can affect the quality of the relationship.

What to do: Prioritize face-to-face conversation over devices by putting phones and tablets out of site during meals. Recognize your thought pattern during conversations, and if you find yourself wondering about a missed call or guessing how many people liked your most recent Instagram post, refocus your concentration on your friend, spouse, or kid. And acknowledge how difficult digital distraction can be to manage yourself so that your kids understand that you think it’s an important challenge to wrestle with.

 

Digital Citizenship for All Pledge

Technology provides incredible opportunities for young people to learn, connect, create, and collaborate in ways never before imagined. But with great power comes great responsibility, and kids need to be empowered to use technology safely, responsibly, and effectively to avoid the pitfalls.

Encourage your child’s teacher to take Common Sense Media’s Digital Citizenship for All Pledge to empower their students to use technology safely, responsibly, and effectively.

 

Healthy Family Media Diet

Common-Sense-Media-LogoFrom Common Sense Media 

Many parents struggle with exactly how much screen time is OK for their kids. Is a half-hour show OK but a full-length movie “bad”? How much gaming should you allow when your kid also uses his computer for homework? Does Wikipedia count as “reading”? And when does a passion for say, video games, become problematic? The truth is, there is no magic formula. And just as every family differs in what they eat, when they eat, and what they like, a healthy media diet is different for every family. The key is making sure that the things that are important to your family are fairly balanced over the long term.

A healthy media diet balances activities (games, social media, TV), time (15 minutes? Three hours?), and choices (YouTube, Minecraft, Star Wars) with offline activities (sports, face-to-face conversations, daydreaming). At some point, kids will be able to manage their own media diets. In the meantime, these tips can help set them up for success.

Find balance. Instead of counting daily screen-time minutes, aim for a balance throughout the week. Get your kids to help plan a week that includes stuff they have to do and stuff they like to do, such as schoolwork, activities, chores, reading, family time, and TV or gaming. Decide on limits and behavior using our Family Media Agreement.

Walk the walk. Put your devices away while driving, at mealtimes, and during important conversations. Kids will learn habits from you.

Talk about it. Ask questions about kids’ favorite games, shows, and characters. Discuss ideas and issues they read about or learn about through a TV show or a game. This is an opportunity for bonding, learning, and sharing your values.

Create tech-free zones. Set rules that fit your family, such as “no devices during dinner,” “no social media during homework,” or “all screens off before bedtime.”

Check ratings. Choose age-appropriate, high-quality media and tech for your kids. Use our reviews to find good stuff.

Click here for more great tips from Common Sense Media