Category Archives: CommonSenseMedia

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 4/21/2016

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Teens text, tweet, snap and post like crazy.  Half of all teens use social media every day and for many teens this means checking their Instagram and Snapchat feeds dozens (and often hundreds) of times a day. This social media-specific anxiety has a name: FOMO, also known as “fear of missing out.” While FOMO might sound like a silly acronym, it can have very un-silly consequences. Studies have found that the 24/7 nature of social media can lead to kids feeling like they need to check and respond to friends’ posts or messages constantly. As you can imagine, this can lead to poor sleep quality, anxiety, and even depression.

Please click here
 for our important post about how to help your tweens and teens deal with FOMO.  A few highlights include:

  • Just listen and don’t judge
  • Encourage your kid’s offline life and activities
  • Set limits
  • Shift the focus
  • Ask open-ended questions (our blog post offers many examples)

Have a great week and don’t forget to use Common Sense

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 4/14/2016

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Guess which media type kids and teens love most? Social Media? Video Games? Nope, neither of these.  It’s good old fashioned TV.   58% of Teens watch TV every day compared to 45% that use social media every day.  The difference from our old fashioned TV viewing is that our kids are watching on their phones (43%), tablets (17%), computers (31%) and an IPod Touch (9%).   But finding good shows can be challenging.  So why not share some of your old faves? If you think back over the past, oh, 50 years or so, you’re bound to come up with shows that affected you in some way. Maybe it was the amiable leadership of Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation or a groundbreaking cartoon like The SimpsonsWatching older shows gives your kids a new sense of pacing — and perspective. Here are 50 kid and teen-appropriate shows that shouldn’t be missed. Hopefully this list will help you and your kids bond while you enjoy and discuss.

Have a great week and don’t forget to use Common Sense!

 

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 4/7/2016

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With billions of dollars in global revenue, music-streaming services are the hottest thing since earbuds, but it’s hard to know which one is best for your kids and family.  There are several things to consider, including total cost, number of available songs, social features, and how kid-friendly the service is.  We broke down nine services, from the big hitters such as Apple Music to the radio players such as iHeartRadio. Keep in mind that these services regularly introduce new terms and features, so before you tune in check out their FAQs or the help section of the one you choose.  Look for the information here to help you choose which streaming service is best for your family, and all of the listed services are great for teens and up.  

noSpeaking of teens, raising consciousness about the importance of consent in sexual encounters is a significant issue, and many thought-provoking young adult novels address it through compelling characters and captivating stories that show what teen girls go through in the aftermath of an assault and how it affects their relationships with their families and peer groups.  Check out our list of awesome books to help teens understand the importance of “no means no.”

Have a great week and don’t forget to use Common Sense.

4th Grade Parent Coffee

Fourth grade parents joined the Hamlin digital_citizenship-certified_school-medschool technology team, lower school counseling & administration, and Common Sense Media’s own Dana Blum this morning to share frustrations, successes, research and best practices around Tweens and Screens.

Parents began by learning from counselor Kylie Cobb about the 4th grade brain and what is happening at the age level before becoming active participants and sharing what technology looks like at their house.  Lower school technology teacher Caroline Windell explained what Hamlin does and does not do with respect to technology.  Dana Blum shared research and information in response to the parents’ previously stated challenges. The overall message was one of partnership and communication and the response to the event was excellent.

Some key take aways were:

  • use a Device Contract – and remembering that what our kids sign, we should sign too.
  • to focus on WHAT was happening on screens instead of HOW MUCH time is being spent on them.
    • Creation vs Consumption – girls play games for 2-7 minutes a day vs. boys who play more than 50!  There are great games available for both genders.

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Slide Deck:


TimeLapse:

Here is the Good Morning America piece that was referenced in the workshop.

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 3/31/2016

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According to our Common Sense Census: Tweens and Teens Media Usage, only 3 % of kids are creating content which means that 97% are consuming!  So, how do we reverse this statistic?  One way is by encouraging and understanding the games kids are playing.  If your kids are playing Minecraft, they are eventually going to discover Roblox. These two  sandbox-style games have a lot in common.  Both let you design games, meet other players, and, of course, play for hours. They also each have supportive online communities that are always available for help. But Minecraft and Roblox are actually quite different when you get into the nitty-gritty.  Both games can teach the rudiments of computer coding (Minecraft uses a Minecraft-adapted Java, and Roblox uses the Lua programming language), though Minecraft has the edge when it comes to being education-friendly. They also both promote math skills, thinking and reasoning, problem-solving, and collaboration. Both games are cropping up in after-school classes, computer camps, and even teachers’ lesson plans because the abilities you can gain by creating digital content and interacting with others online are essential 21st-century skills. But, it’s important for parents to understand the differences in these two games and as always, we make it easy.  Read how both games stack up on five key elements and consider sitting down with your kid while he or she learns to play. 

 Have a great week and don’t forget to use Common Sense.

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 3/24/2016

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There is no way avoid discussing the current topic “who will be the next President.”  It is certainly the most talked about question by both the young and old.  You can help your kids tune out the noise and tune into age-appropriate resources for political news by checking out 14 Tips to Steer Kids of All Ages Through the Political Season, and Ways to Explain the News to Our Kids.  Our recommendations for Government-related Apps, Games, and Websites can help kids explore the foundations of democracy, the ethics of decision-making and the shape and purpose of governments worldwide.  Finally, see if you can get children interested in the political process through film.  Whether they rely on suspense, humor, or romance, these 17 movies make politics and government seem awfully entertaining. No matter who you think should be our next President, it is great to bring our kids into the conversation.

Have a great week and don’t forget to use Common Sense,

 

Have a great week and don’t forget to use Common Sense,

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 3/17/2016

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digital_citizenship-certified_school-medWomen who kick butt, rock out, and break barriers are the ones we want our kids to know about, not the women who make a living on their looks! These are the women who defy stereotypes and embody character traits we would like to see in our kids: perseverance, courage, empathy and creativity.  And even though it’s 2016, women have a long way to go to be equally reflected in everything from speaking parts in movies to board rooms in Silicon Valley. As actress and SeeJane.org  spokesperson Geena Davis says, she can’t be it if she can’t see it.  So, choose a few of these 10 awesome female role models with your kids (especially your daughters) and discuss why these women embody the character traits you admire.

While your thinking about great character traits, we just released a new initiative called the Common Sense Character Traits Initiative.  Launched last week, the goal is to help parents and educators find movies and TV shows that teach character and promote the positive aspects of great storytelling and media role models.

Common Sense users can now filter reviews for eleven separate character traits and find inspiration for media to view together with the family.  Dig into our popular Recommended Lists for CharacterDevelopment.  You’ll find top picks for movies that inspire gratitude integrity and perseverance, as well as TV shows that promote everything from compassion to empathy

Have a great week and don’t forget to use Common Sense,

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 3/10/2016

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No doubt you and your family are affected by all the negative, political finger-pointing and combative political atmosphere that surrounds us every day. It is often difficult to distinguish truth from fiction.  Common Sense is going to make it easy for you to know which policies are good for your family and which policies are bad. 

For years, parents and educators have turned to Common Sense to help them make informed decisions about media and technology. Now, in addition to rating apps, websites, movies, books, and television shows, we are analyzing legislation and public policy that will significantly impact kids with our independent and nonpartisan 

Common Sense Legislative Ratings.

We highlight, publicize, and advocate for bills rated as For Kids. When warranted, we also expose bills that are Against Kids-and the special interests behind them.

The Common Sense Legislative Ratings are a part of our mission to make kids our nation’s top priority. We will work to defeat Against Kids bills while rallying the public to secure passage of For Kids  legislation so we can protect our kids and give them a stronger voice in policy debates.

As Always, Common Sense is here to make your life easier!

Have a great week and don’t forget to use Common Sense,

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 3/3/2016

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Snapchat, Kik, Omegle and Whisper are just a few of the “iffy” messaging apps that kids love.  Though most teens are only sharing day-to-day moments with an already-tight social group, there can be unintended consequences when teens think temporary messages really disappear forever or when they make mean comments under cover of anonymous apps.  Here’s what you need to know about 6 anonymous and disappearing-message apps you’re likely find on your kid’s phone.

As an added bonus, I wanted to give you some suggestions from the 2016 International Toy Fair.  The fair featured some clear battles lines drawn between screen-less play and tech-focused toys. 

The most interesting innovations, however, are either a blend of physical toys and technology or traditional toys taken in a new direction.  Hear are some of the coolest offerings that will invite your kid to play on-screen, offscreen, and with new ideas.

Have a great week and remember to use Common Sense!

Digital Citizenship Tip of the Week – 2/25/2016

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Are you looking for a way to connect with your tween or teen?  Or, maybe you are searching for a few suggestions to stop that sibling rivalry?  We have a few suggestions.

  1. These  terrific apps and games can help kids go from conflict to cooperation in no time. Some picks, such as Sharing With Duckie Duck, teach kids to share, while others encourage siblings to collaborate and cocreate (Curious Words, Scoot and Doodle). Puzzles and adventures such as Plum’s Photo Hunt or  Lifeline… incite siblings to strategize together, and kid-safe messengers such as Marimba Chat keep brothers and sisters in touch. And there are a ton of picks on this list for siblings to just have fun playing together, such as Mario Party 10, Runbow, or Heads Up! 
  2. These 15 great apps will get you and your tween playing and talking together.  Whether you problem solve with puzzle games, find fun projects to take offline, or chat using a kid-safe social network, there are plenty of opportunities to talk to your kid about topics from perseverance to  online safety. 
  3. The best idea may be to put those smart phones away and head outside with your kids. Apps designed for outdoor adventures  let kids do everything from study bugs to identify constellations and create a compilation video of bike stunts. Whether you’re interested in family fitness, DIY, or survival skills, you’ll find plenty to keep kids active and engaged. So grab your device and head outside armed with these amazing tools.

Have a great week and don’t forget to use Common Sense!