“Raising Kids in our 24/7 Connected World”

By Lisa Solomon, Common Sense Media

When we founded Common Sense more than a decade ago, Instagram, YouTube, and iPads didn’t even exist.  Since then, our kids have developed digital lives far more sophisticated than we would have ever imagined.  To help you tackle some of the challenges, I am sharing several key resources (all free) on the Common Sense website.

Yalda mentioned many of the points in this blog  (13 Digital Hacks to Make Tech Work Better for Your Family) during her talk.  It offers tips, tricks and techniques every parent should know to help kids and families enjoy media and technology more.  Here are a few great posts about where our kids are heading online during the coming years as many of you were concerned about this issue: Snapchat, Kik and 6 More Messaging Apps Teens Love and 16 Apps and Websites Kids are Heading To After Facebook.   And, don’t miss our recently published article Talking about Sexting with your kids, which includes a link to our useful Sexting Handbook.

Another essential resource is our Family Toolbox.  Check it out to access everything from the new family dinner project to our digital glossary to a family media agreement and customizable device contract.

Download our free Kids Media app for great movie, book, TV, video game and app reviews on the go, customized for your child.  All of this information is also on our website.  For a sample, check out our list of the 10 Awesome YouTube Channels for Boys and 10 Awesome YouTube Channels for Girls.  We also have A Parent’s Ultimate Guide to YouTube.

We have hundreds of app reviews on our site but these are especially useful:  50 Apps All Kids Should Play at Least Once,  Best Creative Apps, and our new Essential Creativity Guide.

Yalda mentioned COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act), click here for a Wall Street Journal piece about this legislation and how it might relate to your family.  Also look at our 5 Myths and Truths About Kids’ and Internet Safety.  And here’s a short write up about location apps.

Regarding privacy settings, here is a blogpost offering some ideas on this topic.  If you are interested in setting filters for your tech at home, here’s a recent post about Everything You Need to Know About Parental Controls.

Connecting Families is a series of conversational modules and discussion guides created by our Education team that is designed to empower families to raise kids who think critically, participate responsibly, and behave ethically in their online lives. If you click on the DISCUSS button, you click through to a wide range of cases that can be talked through with kids: everything from cyberbullying to digital drama to sexual imagery and the internet.

Here are few top tips for parents to consider that Yalda mentioned:

*Remember the Internet/texting is in PEN not pencil (use teachable moments)

*Teach netiquette -don’t text or email things you wouldn’t say directly to someone

*Consider using a Device Contract and Family Media Agreement in your home

*”Friend” your kid and ally with other parents

*Emphasize creating a positive digital footprint and respect privacy (their own and others)

Sign up for our newsletter.  You can do that easily by clicking here and then you will receive age-specific tips, news and recommendations from Common Sense.

Finally, Common Sense believes strongly in working to effectively engage families and build a positive home-school connection around technology. We know that you are in great hands with your Manhattan Beach administrators and teachers as they proactively offer you and your kids support in this area.

Thanks again to MBEF for being part of the  LA Common Sense Supporter School network and to you, for your time and interest in helping Common Sense fulfill its mission of helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. We are a non-profit so if you are moved to help support our work with a donation in any amount, click here.

Thank you!  Lisa Solomon ([email protected])

Regional Manager, LA | Common Sense Media

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About Manhattan Beach Education Foundation

Manhattan Beach Education Foundation is an independent 501 (c) 3 non-profit established by parents and community leaders to support quality public education in Manhattan Beach. Since 1983, MBEF has granted much needed funds to supplement state funding and has helped MBUSD continually rank in the top three school districts in California. With more than 3,000 donors and annual grants exceeding $5 million, MBEF is one of the oldest and most successful foundations in the state.