Isn’t is just exhausting sometimes to keep up with what your kids are doing online? I thought it was tiring to chase them around when they learned to walk, and I was under the very wrong impression that it would get easier when they could learn to communicate.
Communicate. Now I wish I had more control over what, how, and with whom they communicate! The sheer volume of communication today whether verbal, through texts or through the social media profiles is enough to make any parent’s head spin off their shoulders. With volume and exposure online come risk and danger.
I’ve spent most of 2014 trying to help parents navigate the choppy, vast ocean aka digital world that is shaping our kids. I’ve seen parents bury their heads in the sand, hoping that if they don’t face what their kids are doing, it will ‘just be ok.’ I’ve seen parents who use the excuse that, “I’m just not tech savvy. There’s no WAY I can keep up with every app these kids use today!” I’ve seen parents who insist that their kid isn’t using any social media. Well, maybe Instagram. And, possibly Facebook. Oh, yeah, and Twitter. And, I’ve seen plenty of parents who are doing everything they can to manage and guide the digital experience for their kids from the time that child gets a device that allows online access. There is no doubt that the social media and online communication tools our kids use are daunting to say the least. And, when we work all day and play taxi cab from activity to activity during the evening- the thought of where to start and how to insure our kids are being good digital citizens is nauseating. So, for all parents- here are 5 awesome sites I highly recommend bookmarking as you go into 2015.
All of these offer support and value to parents as well as kids of all ages. But mostly parents- we need something for us, right? Some quick resources where we can pick up the latest scoop on what’s trending for tweens and teens, tips and news about cool technology our kids and their schools are using as well as some safe, fun learning resources for our kids- of all ages. With one surprise…#5 on this list is actually my personal #1. Stay tuned….it will be the subject of my first post in the new year!
So, in the meantime, bookmark all 4 of these resources. Take the time to check them out- it will be well worth it, and you will find yourself referring back to each of them going forward.
1. Khan Academy
My 6th grade daughter actually introduced me to this. She is bored in her math class and has consistently tested just under the advanced placement math class. Not a good tester at all (the emphasis placed on a single test in schools is a whole other topic), she consistently scores a 98/99 each quarter in math. She complains quite a lot about how bored she is and discovered this site on her own. She is obsessed with it- and I have to say this is one site I don’t mind her spending time on. It was started in 2006 by Salman Khan to provide “a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere”. There are thousands of free video tutorials as well as interactive exercises and a learning dashboard where you can track your progress on subjects like math, computer programming, history, economics, science, etc. If your child (any age) has any curiosity outside of school on any subject whatsoever- you MUST check out this site. It’s simply wonderful.
Sue’s blog is so spot on that I think she must be reading my mind as a parent every time I check it out. Her writing style is witty and easy to read. As a parent advocate and an author, she is current on the key issues facing us as electronic parents from cyber bullying and digital citizenship to the 2014 word of the year, ‘oversharing‘. This is my personal fave as far as parenting blogs go.
‘No grownups left behind’ is music to a parent’s ears. Especially with a high schooler and middle schooler who are raising me (lol:). There is a special link on the site for ‘parents start here‘ as well as one for educators, where you will be given a snapshot of all of the resources the site has to offer from online courses to news updates and articles relating to cyber civics and keeping safe and secure online.
This is a new discovery of mine, and I love it! It reads like an online magazine with headlines and snippets you can quickly scan and click into if you are interested. Created by Heather Callihan, a Technology Integration Specialist as well as a Common Sense Citizenship Certified Educator, this is a great site for staying current on the latest news in technology that impacts our kids as well as tips both for the classroom and home.
5. Well, you’re going to have to wait for this one. Stay tuned- it is the subject of the next post and it’s a big one!!!