Internet Safety Tips for Teens and Tweens

If asked, every parent would say they want to keep their kids safe online. However, statistics have shown that children are more and more at risk online than ever before. Teens and tweens are more at risk than any other age due to the fact they have increased independence, and are more likely to seek out relationships online.

So, what is the secret to keeping our teens and tweens safe online? Educating our children about the dangers online can be done a few simple ways. Here are a few internet safety tips for teens and tweens.

  Read the rest of the post at the Southeast Homeschool Expo

5 Learning Sites for Elementary Ages

I don’t know about you, but my kids are sometimes more tech savvy than I am. Our kids are exposed to technology at a young age, and while this means they need reasonable limits. It also means that we can and should utilize technology in our homeschools.

One way to do this is by allowing our children to engage online using learning sites appropriate for their age. Today we are going to look at some awesome learning sites for elementary aged children.

  1. Funbrain.comThis site boasts of math, reading, online books and learning games! The learning starts with preschoolers and includes learning activities for children up to eighth grade.  preschoolers through 8th graders.
  2. CoolMath4Kids.com– One area where a lot of children struggle is math. Cool Math 4 Kids takes the frustration out of learning math by providing math games for elementary students. The site is interactive and a lot of fun.
  3. MakeMeGenius.com– The name leaves a lot to live up to, but it has the potential! This site is full of videos that cover a wide variety of topics including physics, electricity, solar system, the nervous system and more. The videos are all kid friendly and can be watched by children of all ages.
  4. TIME for Kids– The publishers of TIME magazine have created a learning site for kids as well. Articles, photos and videos cover topics like politics, the environment, sports, health and more. While it is not as interactive as others, it does cover current events from a kid’s perspective.
  5. The Kidz Page– With more than 5,000 pages of learning games and activities. This site is massive! It includes online coloring pages, word games, holiday activities and much more!

Learning online is going to be a natural part of our children’s education. These are just a few of the many learning sites for elementary students out there. As always, each family needs to make their own decisions regarding how much time a child should spend online and what sites are acceptable for their family.

Author Bio: Misty Bailey and her husband have been married for over a decade and have three beautiful children. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued, homeschooling and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.

 

 

 

 

Taming Technology

Life is all about learning to make good choices. Home education ‘protects’ families a bit from the peer pressure of ‘everybody has one’ but technology is simply life today! In fact, some home school curriculum are totally technology based. Mastering technology and maximizing its potential is both a challenge and an opportunity in home education. In fact, the whole issue becomes an instructional tool in the lives of our children.

Technology brings tremendous opportunities for choice into our lives–and into the lives of our children. There are no perfect guidelines for what technologies are best. Becoming educated on the pros and cons, establishing boundaries and continually re-evaluating the impacts on your family values are necessities.

Today, recreational and social activities often center on technology. Technology easily isolates individuals into self-created worlds. Too much isolation is not healthy. I-pads, I-pods, MP3 players, WII stations, cell phones and social media sites are the world in which children are growing up. Balancing the time invested in electronic relationships with three-dimensional interaction is vital. The bogey-man of the past was television; it can be a friend these days if a family interacts around a particular show (instead of crawling into their own personal electronic worlds). Technology as a tool is great; technology as master is deadly.

The influence of technology is best remembered as “in” “flow.” Helping children to regulate what flows into their hearts and minds (until they learn to self-regulate) is important. While technology is only one source of ‘in-flow‘, it is a powerful source that can help instill the habit of self-monitoring in our children.

Here are some practical ways to monitor the technology. These are not meant as the ‘right’ approach, merely offered as seeds for your own technology plan:

  • Keep the computer in the living room. This helps keep everyone accountable–and at least minimally connected.
  • An ‘open-door’ policy on social media accounts is a controversial topic but something we practice. Passwords are set to automatic and neither emails nor pages are hidden from one another.
  • Social media contacts are limited to individuals known in the ‘real world’ and personal information is not shared on web games or trading sites.
  • Clear and open communication about internet contacts (individual or simply content) is a daily practice.
  • MP3 use is restricted and personal conversation always allowed to over-ride ear-buds.

With intentional choices and regular monitoring, technology is a powerful friend in our world. Mastering technology is a skill area in which children need us to strategize and lead the way. One of the great beauties of home education is that all of life becomes our school. Embrace the challenge!