Have you noticed how your children seem to natively migrate to technology and seem to have come to this earth with an innate understanding of how techy stuff works? It is frightening!
As parents there are so many things that we worry about when it comes to technology and what our children come into contact with through technology. Today we are going to talk about a few Social Media Apps and how you can integrate tech into your homeschool routines successfully.
Thoughts on Social Media
Tumblr: A place for people to post their own personal blogs. For me, the biggest concern I have is (according to one source I read): 20% of its traffic comes from porn sites. Additionally, when your child gets onto this app, your web filters may not pick up the porn and so it is very possible that your child will not be as safe as you think they are.
Instagram: We have been debating this app for our 14 year-old son. My wife and I definitely some of the more conservative parents in our area—and my son reminds us of that often. Here are some things that I learned about Instagram
- Fun place to take photos, add filters, and then post them for your friends to see.
- One of the most active social networks for teenagers (kids in my class told me that the teens had to go to Instagram because their parents took over Facebook)
- The app actually has a browser built in, so it is possible to browse certain things within Instagram without filters or blocks that you may have otherwise set up in your internet
- Privacy settings will let you be selective regarding who become your “follower”
- Turn off the Location setting. This feature will tell people on the internet EXACTLY where your child was when they took the picture.
SnapChat: This to me is an ABSOLUTELY NO! Let me explain. The base purpose of Snapchat is that it allows users to take pictures or videos and send them to others and then the image or video self-destructs (i.e. Mission Impossible, Tom Cruise, etc…) The whole premise of this app is secrecy. Secrecy will damage a trusting relationship faster than just about anything else. For that one reason alone, my children know that they will never get this app. Teens are sometimes foolishly bold when they believe they are guaranteed anonymity. That boldness can lead to major problems.
By default, anyone that knows your name can find you and send you images through the app.
Snapchat tells parents that their service is not for children under 13, but the app (at least at the time of this recording) does not even ask for the age of its users!
Final Thoughts about Social Media Apps
Porn and vulgar language are not only thing we as parents have to watch for. There is also cyber-bullying which is becoming a really big deal. We have got to watch for the things are children are receiving from others. Bullying can come in many forms: name calling, threats, and foul language are only the tip of the iceberg.
Check out this video from Josh Shipp! Share it with your children and let them watch it. Josh is hilarious. They will laugh and learn at the same time. To see more from Josh Shipp, check out his site: http://joshshipp.com/
Three Tips to Make Sure Tech Will Fit
1) Jessica and I made a series mistake a year ago. We enrolled in a particular program that provides reimbursements up to a certain amount per subject your children enroll in. We realized that this would offer us the opportunity to purchase some electronic devices so we purchased 2 iPads. Well, we had the very best of intentions and we loaded them with educational apps and limited what the children could do with them outside of educational exercises. We had not, however, really discussed how the iPads would work into our homeschooling plan. So they became major distractions.
My first tip for purchasing technology for homeschool is: Don’t just go out there and purchase several electronic devices and then hope to be able to find a use for it in your homeschool. For an expensive piece of equipment, you ought to have at least 4 specific uses in mind. Research the device and discover what it can do and then decide if it would fit into your current homeschool plan or if you would have to make some adjustments to your plan as it sits right now. (the same can be said about any curriculum choice as well).
What we discovered is that regardless of how good the app or the device, your children still need you by their side guiding, directing, and correcting. There are tons of ways for children to get distracted while studying. Check out this link to find a list of things to consider if you are getting ready to purchase a tablet (or similar device) for your homeschool.
2) Don’t plan on the technology taking over your responsibilities… I already mentioned this a little, but I want to be very specific here, so I made it its own tip. Don’t rely completely on the app or the lecturer to do all of the work. If you do this, your child will recognize that you are checking out and checking him or her off.
Instead, sit down and learn the lesson or the principle with them.
3) Make sure that the app or the device actually facilitates learning! How much game is in the math game. If there is more game and not enough math, then your child will not be learning anything. If you are sitting down with them like I just suggested, then you will quickly come to realize that your child is advancing in the subject or just enjoying the fun side of the activity without making any progress.
One thing you will want to watch is for progression within the app or activity. Does it take your children from one principle to another? Does it advance in difficulty as they move through the stages or levels? If it doesn’t, then I would not necessarily reject it, but it will not be a part of our homeschool day. I don’t mind, however, if they play these kinds of games during their electronic time.
There are three quick tips that should help you successfully integrate technology into your homeschool day. Make sure you join me for the next episode. I am going to detail 10 or 11 specific ways that you can use iPads in your homeschool day. That should be a great episode and I think will help you identify activities that you can start using right now.
Until then, thanks for listening. I hope this has been helpful. If it has, will you go over and leave me an iTunes review. My goal is to get to 50 reviews in the next four weeks. Will you help me out? To leave a review all you have to is click on this link; hit the review button, and the post a new review. Those reviews go a long way to motivate me and keep me excited about our community.
Also, if you have suggestions for topics that you would like to see me discuss on the podcast, shoot me an email (or leave me a topic below). My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks again for listening. As you turn your device off, take a look around you. Those little children are why you go through the extra effort of teaching them at home. Your efforts will pay off—even if it is a little rough now and then.