As we get ready to return to school for the 2014-15 academic year, my thoughts turn toward the digital life changes that I’ll observe in the lives of my 21st Century students when we come together in September.
After three months of summer activities such as volunteering or part-time jobs and the less structured time at camps and on vacations, most kids arrive at school with new digital experiences, devices, and apps — and they want to share everything. I’ve especially thought about the number of apps that seem to come out of nowhere — suddenly appearing in kids lives and on their mobile devices — and I know popular new ones will appear this fall.
Below I am sharing three slides from digital parenting presentations that I made over six months, from October to May during the 2013-14 school year.
The images illustrate the fast pace of change in the lives of students, beginning in fourth grade, the grade when I begin to hear students talking about some of the apps. The first slide depicts the apps that I shared at a school in October 2013. The second image shows the apps that kids were talking about and that I shared with a group of parents in February 2014. The third graphic shows the range of apps that I shared in a parent presentation in April of 2014.
These three images clearly illustrate why parents need to know exactly what apps their children use on mobile devices, how those apps work, and the importance of talking to children about the pros and cons of the apps that they use.
Perhaps the most important reason for monitoring apps on kids’ digital devices is the fact that apps evolve and change over time. Some start out as fairly innocuous activities, but they can transform, over months and years, into sources that involve bullying, creepiness, or even hate, and involve your child in those extreme expressions.
Note: these images do not have live links.