Children and Technology – Should you be Concerned

father and Son
Why should we be encouraged?
My philosophy is that technology can also play a role in helping children develop socially and emotionally, when used in balance. Media has helped children care about what is happening on the other side of the world, giving them access to people of different cultures and lifestyles in a click.

Technology is creating common platforms of socialization, exchange of information leading to more understanding and connectedness to the greater whole. Online polls allow teens to participate in social issues. Through blogging, many youths feel they have a voice on different social issues, allowing expression of their perspectives and learning about other people’s perspectives as well. Many are getting involved in online social causes and movements happening worldwide, from saving endangered species to raising money for the homeless.

Video games also offer ways for kids to collaborate, take turns and learn basic principles of teamwork and sharing, while increasing logical thinking, grasping the interrelationship of various inputs and developing motor skills and hand-eye coordination due to movements needed to effectively navigate a mouse or play a video game. New software being designed specifically for classrooms promises to be a remarkable tool for developmental learning and creativity.

Text messaging can also be a developmental tool. Researchers from Coventry University studied 88 children aged between 10 and 12 to understand the impact of text messaging on their language skills. They found that the use of “textisms” could be having a positive impact on reading development and a positive effect on the way children interact with language, rather than harming literacy.

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Choosing After-School Activities


Activities and College Admission


Whatever you choose, don’t overdo it. “What’s happened today is that parenting has become this competitive sport and the trophy is to get your child into a good college,” Newman says. “To that end, children are over-scheduled and they have absolutely no down time. For some children, this works fine, but for the majority, the pressure is intense and they’re exhausted and their academics suffer. In going for the top college prize, parents erroneously think the more activities, the better their child will look on applications, and that’s not what colleges are looking at anymore, if they ever were.”

A single, lasting commitment to one activity is more impressive, she says. And activities that detract from academic performance will end up hurting the child’s chances later on.

Newman particularly warns against over involvement in sports, citing recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics that children take the summer off from a sport and that they not play on two teams in the same sport so as to avoid serious injury.

Over-scheduling can affect your family life, too, so consider the demands on your own time. Keep in mind what will be expected of you when your child begins a new activity. This will include time and transportation, obviously. But it can also mean volunteering, fundraising, and coaching.

One way to let children try out different interests without too much commitment is to enroll them in summer programs. Many of these activities, which can run as short as a week, can be a good way to explore different interests during a time of year that’s free from the pressure of school demands.

Another activity—and one that’s free—is to let your child volunteer at a local agency. Usually, child volunteers must be at least middle school age. Organized volunteer programs can be fun and enlightening for children while helping them develop a commitment to community service.

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What Is Your Child’s Learning Style?


Homework Tips for Each Learning Style


Auditory learners are typically good at absorbing information from spoken words. Strategies that work well for auditory learners include:

  • Talking to themselves or with others about what they’re learning
  • Reciting important information aloud, perhaps recording it and playing it back
  • Reading a book and listening to the audio book at the same time
  • Using word associations
  • Setting information to a tune and singing it to help remember it
  • Limiting distracting noises


Kinesthetic learners prefer to be active while studying and may not be able to focus while sitting still. Strategies for kinesthetic learners include:

  • Reading aloud and tracking words on a page with a finger
  • Writing things down multiple times to commit them to memory
  • Highlighting and underlining
  • Playing with a stress ball or toy while studying
  • Moving around or taking frequent breaks
  • Doing hands-on activities, such as building models or playing games


Visual learners benefit from seeing information on a chalkboard or in an illustration and may grow impatient listening for long periods of time. Strategies for visual learners include:

  • Using flash cards
  • Studying charts, tables, and maps
  • Drawing illustrations
  • Writing things down and reviewing notes
  • Highlighting and underlining
  • Color-coding information



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Preventing the Common Cold


It’s no coincidence that the school year and the common cold season start about the same time. Schools provide an ideal setting for spreading germs, with children indoors and in close contact for much of the day. As infected people sniffle, sneeze, and cough, cold viruses spread through the air and onto skin and surfaces like tables, doorknobs, and stair railings, where they can live for up to two hours.

Kids bear the brunt of seasonal illnesses, typically picking up six to 10 colds a year compared with the two to four colds adults get, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The Centers for Disease Control chalks up 22 million school absences each year to colds alone. The good news is that kids can greatly reduce their risk of getting or spreading a cold with healthy habits and good hygiene. These include:

  • Washing hands thoroughly
  • Coughing and sneezing into a tissue or sleeve, not into hands
  • Not sharing drinks or food utensils
  • Not rubbing one’s nose and eyes
  • Not biting fingernails or chewing on pencils

One of the main ways people catch colds is by rubbing their eyes or nose after touching a person or object with a cold virus. Hand-washing can help ward off the common cold and many other communicable illnesses; however, most people don’t wash their hands well enough or often enough.

The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for 15 to 20 seconds, or long enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. When you’re not near hand-washing facilities, alcohol-based hand sanitizers can do the trick. Younger kids may be tempted to taste the hand sanitizer, which can spread more germs and could make them sick. To prevent this, teach kids to rub their hands together until the sanitizer dries.

Although many of us were taught to cover our mouths or noses with our hands when we cough or sneeze, health experts now say that this can spread germs even faster. The CDC recommends coughing or sneezing into a tissue, or into your sleeve if a tissue is not available.

In addition to avoiding germs and washing hands, your family can stay healthier during cold season by getting sufficient sleep and exercise, drinking plenty of water, and eating a nutritious diet.


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Show Kids Why Washing Hands Is Important


You’ll need three potatoes and three clean jars with lids.

Peel the potatoes and boil them for four or five minutes—just enough time to sterilize them, not cook them.

Remove one of the potatoes from the boiling water, using tongs. Place it immediately in a jar and put the lid on. Label this, “Boiled, Not Touched.”

Set the two other potatoes on a plate so they can cool. When they are cool enough to handle, have your child pick up the potato and handle it. Pass it back and forth between you. Then put this potato in a jar labeled “Boiled, Well-Handled.”

Now have everyone wash their hands thoroughly. Pick up the third potato. Do just what you did with the second, then put it in a jar labeled, “Boiled, Well-Handled, Clean Hands.”

Let all three containers sit in a shady spot for a week or so. Each day, have your child record what she sees in each jar. Don’t be surprised if she comes to the table with clean hands…without any reminding!

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Unique Leaf Crafts for Kids


Every fall, I’m always a little late on the leaf crafts. There is such a small window where I live of when the leaves are a true rainbow array of colors, and there are so many lovely things to do with orange, yellow, green, and even brown leaves. Here are a few of my favorites from FamilyFun.


The lovely leaves above were pressed in a heavy book for about ten days (you can see how I miss the boat every year, right?) and then decorated with a metallic paint pen. How lovely would these be hanging in a float frame?(FYI, a float frame is a glass-to-glass frame that’s great for projects like this.) Flower crowns are lovely in the spring, but don’t ignore the leaves for you little woodsy prince or princess! The leaves stay in their raffia crown without glue, so when some go bad, it’s easy to swap them out.


Test your child’s scavenger skills by challenging him to create a rainbow of leaves (blue might be pushing it). Line them up on a log or even outside on the front stoop. Lay rocks on top to prevent them from blowing away. (Idea from Lisa Jordan of

 Now do you feel the urgency to get out and find those lovely leaves of orange and gold? I certainly do!