9 Educational Apps that Are Actually Fun

Like most parents, you're probably worried about your kids' brains frying over the summer holiday. Research has shown that all kids experience learning losses when they are not engaging in educational activities during summers. With technology being a major pastime of kids, tweens, and teens, it is even more disconcerting to think that they could spend the next few months sitting on the couch consuming mindless screen entertainment.

While technology has many "mindless entertainment" options available for all age ranges, it can just as easily be used educationally. Avoid the pitfalls of summer learning loss by combining technology with learning through encouraging the use of educational apps

The key in finding mentally constructive apps that your kids will actually use is to make sure that they're entertaining. Help your kids foster their interests and expand their knowledge and creativity with these great apps:

  1. Stack the States is a game that makes learning about states fun! Kids can play the

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Does Social Media Use Impact My Kid's Self-Esteem?

Yesterday we posted an article about how kids, teens, and young adults typically have high numbers of Facebook friends, yet most don't have actual, one-on-one interactions with more than 3% of their "friends". Do follower and friend counts among social media profiles serve more as a self-esteem boost and status symbol than as an actual indication of one's popularity? What do social media sites actually do for teens' and kids' self-esteem?

In the past few years, you may have heard one or two conflicting studies reported on the subject of social media's impact on self-esteem. A variety of research centers and psychologists have come to a multitude of conclusions on the matter. Since social media is still relatively new, it is difficult to find a concise answer about the direct implications of social media. Here is a brief synopsis of released studies on the subject:

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5 Methods to Limit Screen Time in Your Home

Let's face it: most of us spend too much time in front of screens. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that kids and teens ages 8-18 spend about 7.5 hours using entertainment media daily. Kids and teens aren't the only age groups that spend too much time in front of screens! In 2013, Advertising Age magazine concluded that adults in the U.S. spend approximately two and a half hours a day online, nearly the same amount of time on mobile devices and smartphones, and another four and a half hours watching TV. 

While, at best, screens can be educational, entertaining, and convenient, there's a fine line that exists between screens adding value to our lives and where they begin to negatively impact our health. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that no one should spend more than 1 or 2 hours in front of a screen daily. Excessive screen time has been

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Surprise, Surprise: TV Time Linked With Less Sleep For Kids

Yet another study has been released that indicates the harmful effects of excessively watching television. This article was originally published on the Huffington Post by Amanda L. Chan. 

TV time could be putting a damper on your child's sleep time, according to a new study.

Researchers found an association between increased TV time and less sleep in kids.

"Overall, each additional hour per day of average lifetime TV viewing from infancy through mid-childhood was associated with seven fewer minutes per day of sleep over the same period," the researchers wrote in the Pediatrics study. The effects seemed to be especially pronounced in boys, compared with girls.

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7-Day Digital Cleanse for College-Bound Kids

We already know that poor social media decisions can impact a teen or tween's future. Read on to learn about how a 7-day cleanse can help them refresh their online reputations. This article was originally published on McAfee Blog Central by Toni Birdsong.

Sorry, this post will not push the health benefits of a kale-flax smoothie (although they do rock). But, if your aspiring college student follows this 7-Day Digital Cleanse for a full week, he is bound to become more digitally fit. (Disclaimer: the side effects of the 7-Day Digital Cleanse could be life changing and dream saving).

By now we all know about the fallout that can happen when young people with big dreams fail to post properly on social media sites. We’ve seen Olympic athletes sent home for a tweet, a zillion people get fired, and college scholarships revoked because a tweet or photo made it to the desk of a college decision maker. 

In 2013, Kaplan Test Prep surveyed nearly 400 college admissions officers and found that 30% said they found something online that negatively impacted the applicant’s chances of getting admitted. On the flip side, when canvassing students in a separate study, Kaplan found that 50% of students admitted they would “not be concerned” about an admissions officer researching them online while 27% said they were “not too concerned,” and 14% said they were “very concerned.”

Offenses cited in the admissions study included essay plagiarism, vulgarities in blogs, alcohol consumption in photos and “illegal activities.”

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5 Myths About Teens and Technology Every Parent Should Ignore

This article was originally published on the Huffington Post by Elizabeth Perle. 

As the editor of HuffPost Teen, I spend a good part of my day talking to Snapchat-sending, Facebook-hating, selfie-taking, iPhone-obsessed teens that many adults love to judge. I also talk to their parents.

This week, I received a fairly typical email from the concerned mom of one of our bloggers asking questions like: Is having an Internet profile safe? How many people will see it? Will strangers try to communicate with my kid? What about online predators?

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Could Screens be Affecting Your Child's Sleep?

When it comes to your children every parent wants the best for their health and well being. An important aspect of this is a healthy sleep pattern since proper rest aids their overall development. Sleeping is an absolutely essential part of your child's life, but with technology on the rise it's becoming apparent that too much screen time can lead to detrimental effects that could be avoided.

Cell phones, TV's, computers and other gadgets that are used on a daily basis are often linked to over stimulation especially in the evening hours. Finding a happy medium is crucial in order to ensure that today's modern connected kids can develop a healthy and regular sleeping pattern.

Why Too Much Screen Time Is Unhealthy

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Meet the 13-Year-Old Using Social Media Data to Map Cyberbullying

According to the Cyberbullying Research Center:

“about one out of every four teens has experienced cyberbullying, and about one out of every six teens has done it to others.”

The Center has also found that victims of cyberbullying are nearly twice as likely to attempt suicide than youth who have not experienced cyberbullying.

The overwhelmingly widespread nature of online bullying, its potentially fatal consequences and the lack of control held by adults to stop this behaviour has made this an extremely difficult problem to solve. However, 13 year old Indian American teen Viraj Puri may have found the solution for this complex issue.

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Digital Parenting: Does Facebook Make Your Child Sad?

How Teens Compare Themselves to Others on Facebook

Most teens spend a lot of time glued to their computers and cell phones.  Rather than interacting with people directly, they tend to do it through the medium of Facebook.  Sure, Facebook can help you keep in touch with people you might not ordinarily meet all the time e.g., people who moved away from the neighborhood or went away to college.  It’s nice to be able to know what these people are doing and to keep in touch in some way or the other.

However, teens also tend to use Facebook just to communicate with school friends and see what other people are doing.  Many of them read glowing depictions of the lives of their fellow classmates—how much fun they had at a certain party or what a great shopping haul someone brought home.  And this makes them feel worse about themselves.

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Digital Parenting: Help Your Family Spend Less Time on Their Phone

The smart phone is a great tool for families. It allows you to remain in constant contact with your kids wherever they are, meaning you never have to worry about where they could be if they are late for dinner – you can simply send them a text, or vice versa. It’s also a great tool for allowing them to keep in better touch with their family, from uncles and aunts to their cousins. Of course, there are drawbacks to smart phones as well.

Kids especially tend to be drawn to the quick fix entertainment that smart phones offer, from access to the Internet to the many games and apps that are available for download. This can lead to your family being glued to their smart phone screens instead of interacting with their family at home.

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Digital Parenting: How Much Internet Activity is Too Much?

Most news concerning adolescents and the Internet highlight the actual dangers of online scams, cyber-bullies, and sexual predators that endanger credulous, gullible teens. The other risk is teens themselves. Perpetual hours spent online updating Facebook pages, writing tweets, emailing, instant messaging, sending photos on Instagram, downloading music, visits to game sites, shopping, and in some instances gambling, all contribute to the disturbances we see today regarding teen online activity.     

Kids today are spending on average slightly more than ten-hours per day, every day, online. This means that out of 168 hours in a week, kids spend 75 of those hours with some type of electrical or technical gadget.  

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The Benefits of Living Unplugged (Even If Just For a Day)!

When you close your eyes at night, what do you see? Is it a scrolling bar that ends up sounding like the ramblings of a crazy person? "Sarah Smith likes Diet Coke. Anthony Jones likes K-Mart. Pink slingbacks are now trending on Twitter!" In a modern household, spending a great deal of time on the internet is a foregone conclusion. In the working world, it's even worse. You're expected to be connected at all times for an email, a text, or a phone call. The obsession with connectivity has led to busier lives both in and out of the office, and new advances in technology aren't doing anything to lessen the problems. With this in mind, it has become increasingly important to take some time to disconnect everything, even if it is just for a brief 24 hours.

Reducing Connectivity Produces Connections

How often do you see an advertisement where a family sits around a table and has an actual conversation that doesn't include incognito texting or tweeting under the dinner table? The landscape for family dinners has changed so drastically with the introduction of smartphones and tablets that family dinner has become a family plus Facebook dinner, where the virtual guests are invited to ogle your meal via Instagram, and find the recipe through suggested banner advertisements. 

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Digital Parenting: How To Get Your Child To Pay More Attention

With all of the distractions that are around these days, children are having more and more trouble focusing. However, there are ways in which you can get your child to stay on task every day, it just takes a little digital parenting tricks. 

It can be a bit difficult at first, but if you follow these plans then you will have a child that is focused and interested. Here are the best ways to build focus: 

Eliminate distractions

Although you can not control the weather (which may be a distraction all in itself), there are many distractions that you can prevent.

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This Family is Living Like it's 1986

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Amanda Sherker. 

If you want to get in touch with a member of the McMillan family, you can't call them on their cell phones, you can't reach them on Facebook and you certainly can't ping them on Gmail. This Ontario family isn't Amish; they've simply instituted a ban on all technology invented after 1986, according to an interview in the Toronto Sun.

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How to Know and What to Do When Your Child is Being Cyberbullied

This article originally appeared on FoxBusiness.com, writen by Kate Rogers.

Teasing used to be limited to school recess on the playground, but now it has evolved into a malicious trend among youths on the internet.

As technology advances and more children are using it, they are increasingly exposed to cyberbullies on social networking sites like Facebook (FB) and Twitter, and texting and apps on phones and tablets. And the consequences can be devastating. For some children being targeted, like 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick in Miami, they see no other way out of this cruel cyber world, than to take their own lives.

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The Connection Between Sexting and Suicide

Here is a very interesting and shocking article in Psychology Today by Elizabeth Meyer, Ph.D about sexting and suicide.  Even though it is from 2009, most of the article still rings true, and unfortunately not much has been done to help victims of sexting cases that got out of hand and the bullying/cyberbullying that almost always follows.

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Study Finds Links Between Cyberbullying and Adolescent Depression

A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health reports that teenagers who experience cyberbullying are more likely to develop negative responses such as depression and addictive behaviors.

The study's lead author, Dr. Manuel Gamez-Guadix of the University of Deusto in Spain, said that it is important to understand how cyberbullying impacts adolescent health.  While many adolescents both become cyberbullying victims and also bully others themselves, those that experience cyberbullying attacks for six months or longer are more likely to experience problems such as depression or substance abuse.

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Digital Parenting: McAfee Releases Study on Online Disconnect

In a study published on May 28th, 2013, McAfee explores the online disconnect between parents and pre-teens, teens and young adults.

Here are some of the study's findings that every online parent should know:

Almost all (95%) young people have at least one social media account. (ages 10-23) 
• 87% check their account daily. 
• 79% of parents believe this to be true. 
• 44% check their account constantly. 

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Digital Parenting: 5 Signs Your Child is Addicted to Facebook

Social networking sites are a popular way for children and teenagers to keep in touch with each other and stay updated with what is going on in their lives. Facebook is currently the most popular site by far, and the process of updating your own status, and looking at other users' information, can take up quite a bit of a child's time. Unfortunately, some kids are on the site far too often and for long durations of time, leading to what can be called "Facebook addiction". This can lead to slipping grades, disciplinary problems, and social anxiety.

Stepping in before Facebook addiction becomes a real problem can be done with sensible digital parenting and Parental Intelligence solutions, but it always helps to know what to look for in order to tell if your child is addicted to Facebook. These 5 signs should be taken very seriously and if they are present, you should be prepared to set rules and limits on Facebook usage.

1. Is your child constantly on Facebook?

A child being constantly on Facebook is a sure sign of Facebook addiction. If their time on the site can be summarized as "multiple hours a day", you should have a talk with your child and let them know that it can be potentially unhealthy to be on Facebook for so long every day. Facebook monitoring programs can help you determine how long they are on and what exactly they are doing on the site.

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Blog Series: How Has Digital Parenting Changed?


As part of an on-going blog series that began three weeks ago, we have interviewed some internet safety experts, parenting experts and industry leaders and are pleased to present our findings. Our questions centered around 'digital parenting' and what people thought were the biggest issues regarding this subject.  

Today we are featuring responses from our friend Tosin Williams, the founder of The Learning Period, an in-home tutoring service based in Los Angeles, CA.

uKnowKids: How has parenting changed with the introduction of so many digital devices?

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