By Savvy Cyber Kids September 5, 2018
At Savvy Cyber Kids, we encourage parents and grandparents to get involved in their children’s and grandchildren’s digital lives. This means knowing what they are doing on their devices, on the platforms they engage on, and who they are ‘playing’ with – their friends, followers, and so on.
In reality, it’s hard to be involved without getting involved yourself. If you don’t know what a certain social media platform is or if you are not familiar with the games and apps that your children are playing, it’s hard for you to converse about them with your child or grandchild. And, it’s equally hard to know what might be of concern to you.
To that end, it’s interesting to look at the most popular apps in 2018:
Top Paid Apps on iOS
Top Free Apps on iOS
Top Free Apps on Android
Top Paid Apps on Android
It’s great to see popular apps that are devoted to intellectual curiosity like anatomy or astronomy – even the weather.
But even with the presence of apps like human Anatomy Atlas, Sky Guide, and Sky View, the preponderance of apps that are popular are overwhelmingly devoted to social media – be it the apps themselves (like YouTube, Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook) or the photo editing tools that create a social media-friendly version of reality, like Facetune and Cute CUT.
It’s always worthwhile to talk to your child or grandchild about the pressures to maintain a social media presence. This can have a negative impact on the investment they put into IRL (real-life) relationships and they’re real-life responsibilities like school, extra-curricular activities, family relationships and SLEEP! Apps like Facetune and other photo editing services can send a message to your child or grandchild that they are not good enough the way they are. It’s probably worth observing how much time your child or grandchild invests in a selfie. How many photos did they take? How much time did they spend editing it? What did they edit?
These lists are also heavily weighted by a fondness for gaming. There’s a lot of talk these days about gaming addiction and, no doubt, kids can spend way too much time trying to level up within a game. It’s important for you to know which games your child is playing so that you can look at the privacy settings. You need to know who your child is playing with. Is it strangers or only people they know in real life? You need to know how players communicate with one another within a game. Are strangers communicating with your child or grandchild as they play a game?
By looking at this list together, you can start all sorts of conversations with your child or grandchild. First, learning which one of these apps they use and then exploring how to use it.
Remember, getting involved in the digital lives of your children and grandchildren isn’t just so you can look out for potential pitfalls. It’s also about finding a new way to connect with your child or grandchild – in their virtual worlds where they are already immersed. It’s about seeing if you can find fun and joy with your child or a grandchild in their digital world.
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