The internet and access to online entertainment have become very prevalent in day to day life, especially for children. Children can often spend more time online interacting with friends than they do in real life. This can be a blessing and a curse to parents trying to create a balance between letting there kids be kids and keeping them safe. Here are 5 things parents can do to keep their kids safe online.
Every kid wants to enjoy the fun of going house-to-house with friends in the dark trick-or-treating on Halloween night. Many of us parents remember the sheer joy of running through the neighborhood in the dark with friends collecting ungodly amounts of candy. Back then, our parents sent us out the door and let us go. Sure, they worried about urban-legend-inspired razor blades in apples, but didn’t worry as much about stranger danger as we do today or reputation damaging photos on social media.
Related: Protecting Kids from Stranger Danger
Today, things are a bit different. Sending our kids off into the the dark isn’t something we are all comfortable with. And while many neighborhoods around the country have designated trick-or-treating events to keep children and families safe, sometimes that is not enough to reassure parents worried about sending kids off to trick or treat with friends or to attend a Halloween party.
Halloween Safety Tips for Parents and Children to Help Keep Your Family Safe
- Make sure costumes are safe. Kids don’t want to be restricted in how they wear their costume, but tell your children that there are some common sense rules they should follow. For example, make sure they keep their faces exposed so they can breathe and that their costumes don’t cover their eyes. Discourage them from wearing full masks when trick-or-treating in the dark. Of course, flame-retardant costumes are a must to prevent fire accidents and be sure it’s the right size so they don’t trip over it.
- Increase visibility. Make sure your child wears bright clothing or even small reflectors. No one wants to worry about their child being hit by a car if they aren’t able to be seen. Encourage younger children especially to choose light-colored costumes. Give them glow sticks and flashlights to carry with them so they can be seen by drivers.
- Travel in groups. Older kids are going to want to trick-or-treat on their own, without a parent. If they do, make sure they go with at least one friend, preferably more.
- Monitor social media. Remind your children to think about the consequences of a picture before it’s posted or messaged to anyone. Halloween is a high traffic time for photo sharing. Monitor your kids being tagged, or comments being made about their spooktakular attire. The MamaBear App can help you monitor your child’s social safety.
- Track your child’s location. Install a family safety app like MamaBear on every family member’s smartphone so you can monitor your children’s whereabouts. The app allows your children to check in with an emoticon to share where they are and how they’re feeling. Children can also request rides from parents or send SOS messages if they are in trouble. Alerts can let you know if your child has indeed made it to that Halloween party and when they leave.
Thankfully, parents have resources today to keep their families safe during the free-for-all that Halloween night can be. Reminding your kids of these safety measures and monitoring their location and social activity provides peace of mind while allowing your children to enjoy all the candy, haunted houses and other Halloween fun we loved when we were kids.
Image Credit: Kids Activity Blog
iPads and smart phones have become the ultimate saviour in modern parenting. Used in moderation, iPads are a fantastic tool for children to play, learn, and develop their skills. More importantly, it is the only toy or educational vice which captures children’s undivided attention for more than five minutes.
Apps are constantly developing and there is plenty of choice on the market directly aimed at children.
Here we take a look at the Top Apps for Children in 2013:
Most addictive app: Anipang
This addictive puzzle game is suitable for children of all ages, and has even become a firm favourite among adults. The simplistic challenge to match as many of the 3 animated characters as possible within the 60 second time span, keeps you on the edge of your seat. While it is not necessarily the best app on the market for learning, it is certainly fun, and will maintain interest. It has become so popular it has attracted over 20 million users.
Best for science: Tickbait’s Universe
This app is aimed at children between the ages of 8-13. It teaches children about the world and beyond. The user can zoom in and out to reveal fun facts and insightful information about our planet and solar system.
As a starting point, we are introduced to Tickbait, the lovable mascot dog lying in his back garden. From here, if user zooms in they will reveal informative pages about DNA and atoms, and if they choose to zoom out, they will learn about the planets and atmosphere. This app provides a multitude of information in easily digestible snippets, making science fun for the user. This app is a great tool to help children learn about the basic science which surrounds them in a fun, light and exciting way.
Best classic app: Peppa Pig – Happy Mrs. Chicken
Children love Peppa Pig, the brand has dominated the market for years whether in television, book, toy or app format; it is a firm favourite and is here to stay. Peppa Pig- Happy Mrs. Chicken provides the user with 6 interactive games.
It’s a true classic which provides variety, familiarity and fun for children. It is targeted towards younger children, and is a great tool for helping children learn hand eye co-ordination and problem solving, while maintaining a high level of fun.
Best for Math: Team Umizoomi Math: Zoom into Numbers
This is a great educational app for younger children. The user is guided by three fun characters who provide clear instructions. The aim of the app is to help children develop their counting skills with the encouragement of the lead characters, who are well known as they also feature on a television show, just like Peppa Pig, which aids its popularity.
The app is simple and fun and has become a firm favourite. The reviews and parental feedback for this app have been extremely positive, most commenting on its ability make learning fun. They also state that the app has really helped their children develop their counting skills which translates into everyday life when they are not using the app.
Apps are a great way to help children learn. While iPads and smart phones are often criticized when used to entertain and teach children, in supervised moderation, they are a fantastic method to encourage children to develop their maths, co-ordination, concentration and reading skills. Not only that, they provide a welcome distraction, providing parents with some solace.
About the author: Kirsten works for top toy and games specialist Letterbox. In her line of work she constantly researches the market to see what is available, and what new apps or toys are proving most popular.
The article above was from a MamaBear guest blogger. The MamaBear blog is now accepting guest post from reputable bloggers on a variety of subjects. If you are interested in guest blogging for MamaBear simply contact us here.
A family locator app may sound pretty simple. It should be an easy to use app that uses global positioning satellites (GPS) and a smartphone to give parents up-to-date information about their child’s location. In actuality, the idea of instantaneous tracking of a child’s whereabouts is fairly complex; as is the wide range of options it can offer parents. Monitoring a child’s location can be an invaluable parenting tool, and can go far beyond simple tracking. A family locator app gives parents a means to ensure children have been and are where they are supposed to be.
Family tracking apps can be used with a few intentions – safety, accountability and parental peace of mind. It offers families a life-saving technological innovation in the case of an emergency. In addition, a family locator app like MamaBear can let kids explore geographical boundaries allowing a parent to gauge where an intervention is necessary.
On the most basic level, a family locator app serves the basic function of tracking a child. With social location sharing and the utility of so many apps today, acceptance of the MamaBear app from our children shouldn’t be so uncommon. In addition, they may come to understand we’ll feel more comfortable allowing our kids to do a wider range of activities we may have otherwise found ‘too far’ or ‘too scary’ with the use of a family locator app. Knowing where our kids are when they’re camping, at an amusement park or on a day trip with friends can free up both sides of a parent and child’s relationship.
Upon the parent’s discretion, it can be a two-way street. The parent has the option of sharing their location with their children when they choose. This allows an easy way for kids to find their way to meet up with mom or dad. In addition, a quick press of the check-in or come get me button from the the child communicates immediately with the parent.
The times a family locator app like MamaBear can be the most invaluable are often the hardest ones for us as parents to consider, let alone discuss. In an emergency, a family tracking app can give parents and authorities an answer to a child’s current and recent location.
A family locator app like MamaBear gives parents options and reassures our trust. MamaBear can give us the reassurance we need to let our kids live a little, and can protect their lives in the worst case scenario. With availability on Android and iOS enabled smartphones, MamaBear represents a flexible alternative to family monitoring.
To learn more about the MamaBear family locator app watch the video below: