“But everyone has a _____! I need one too.” Sound familiar? As the winter break nears, many parents will likely receive intricate wish lists of tech gear and video games. How do you navigate it all? Read on for some advice from our tech coaches.
“These days, it can be hard to keep up with our children’s ever-changing tech requests, not to mention understanding their digital lives,” says Middle School Instructional Technology Coach Daniel Mendes. Along with our other instructional tech coaches—Danai Maramba for elementary school and Thomas Galvez for high school—Mr. Mendes shares some valuable resources with parents.
What’s on the Screen?
Common Sense Media reviews games, movies, and TV shows, evaluating the content on specific criteria such as violence, age-appropriateness, role models, and diversity. They also recognize high-quality, high-impact entertainment by giving it their official “Common Sense Media seal.” The “Parents say, Kids say…” section is especially helpful in providing additional perspectives to help assess your family’s particular needs and values.
Not all screen time is equal. Having your child learn how to make a game, create music, or practice coding is a great way for them to engage in a high-quality digital experience. Internet Matters offers this curated list of skill-building apps and interactive games to foster lifelong learning on their devices.
If you are looking for an alternative to your child simply consuming content on Youtube, the award-winning website, The Kid Should See This is a great resource. Started by a parent, the website has 5,000 carefully selected videos ranging from tech, engineering, and dance to Do It Yourself guides, all suitable for children.
Another great use for devices over the extended break are our very own SSIS libraries! We offer digital books and audiobooks for our students through the platform, Sora.
To download digital books, go to the Sora login page and select “Saigon South International School” and log in using your child’s SSIS Google account. For our ES students, Tumblebooks is a great resource. The password can be found in Seesaw, in a post from the ES librarian.
Smartphones – What’s the Right Call?
Parents of teens and tweens will likely have the “everyone’s got one” smartphone conversation at some point. What exactly is the “right” time to get one? Although each family must determine what is right for them, some studies suggest that parents delay this request as long as possible because the full impact on developing brains is not yet known.
If smartphones are already part of your children’s digital life, the book “Behind Their Screens” is a must-read for SSIS parents. Harvard researchers with Project Zero, Emily Weinstein and Carrie James share data and stories from children about their digital perceptions and experiences. It’s a perfect book to share with other parents and a great way to keep these essential discussions open.
Our Instructional Technology Coaches, Librarians, and our dedicated Counseling department are available to support parents on technology topics and positive online habits.