I recently had the wonderful opportunity to show fellow parents the ins and outs of several social media apps. As parents, it’s important to know what tools our children use, and in this day and age, social media tools have to be included. I liken this to using a hammer. You wouldn’t let your 2-year-old use a hammer because he or she isn’t old enough to use it without getting hurt (or hurting others). But when your child is older, say 7, he or she is old enough to begin to learn how to use a hammer, with adult supervision, of course. After a few years is supervised use, your child can begin using a hammer by him or herself.
Of course, I am not suggesting that you start your 7-year-old on social media in the way we tend to think of it. But learning the behaviors of good social media use begins young. It starts with simple apps used either at school or at home. A great example that many students use in the classroom is EdModo. This blogging site is made specifically for teachers and their classes. It is an excellent first step in showing children how to properly comment and post.
A great app that I’ve used with my kids (7 and 11) is DIY. It’s an app specifically made for kids, who must have parental approval to register. Parents have a dashboard where they can see everything their children are doing on the app. Kids don’t use their real names, or images, and can friend each other. But unlike Facebook or Twitter, this app focuses on building skills. There are many different types of skill sets. Each skill has about 10 tasks to pick from, and kids need to compete 3 of them to earn that skill’s badge. They have to upload a photo or video proving they completed the task, and DIY staff approve them before they are posted. They can then comment on each other’s tasks.
The app is free, but parents can purchase real badges for the skills their kids have earned. I love how it is task-oriented, and my kids spent a week this summer creating a variety of fun things together (without fighting!) and had a blast. Whey not only learned new skills, but are also learning about social media in a supervised and fun way.
Are there any social media apps that you use with your kids?
Disclaimer: I am not compensated by EdModo or DIY.org. These opinions are my own.