Printing Press to Apps
The advent of the printing press was a major mass communication revolution which permanently altered the structure of society as ideas and information began to transcend borders. With the advent of the internet, social networking and apps and the multiple devices available today to access the internet we have another revolution taking place that is also transcending borders. This includes the borders of our homes, schools, libraries, cars, …small towns, big cities, countries across the globe, wherever a person happens to be located. The ease with which information is at our finger tips is nothing short of amazing and has altered the course of society for all time.
Internet Changes Happening at a Blistering Pace…
Usage of the internet continues to grow and expand as well. We now have over a billion websites online, growing as I write this, which doesn’t include all of the individual pages within a website. What do I mean by that? Within YouTube for example, are individual pages for each video posted. Within Flickr are individual pages for each image.
Apps are Booming…
The number of apps is booming with 1.2 million IOS apps, 1.31 million Android apps and .4 million Windows apps. The most popular apps to download are games and account for 33 percent of total downloads.
The percent of children with access to some type of smart mobile device at home such as a smartphoneor tablet has jumped dramatically. Two years ago 53 percent of kids had access, now three quarters of all children have access to devices. And kids that are getting these devices seems to be getting younger and younger. The average age for a school age child to get a smartphone is 10 years old.
Kids Access to the Online World Greater Than Ever…
Kids are using devices and are accessing the online world more than ever before. In fact, the average amount of time children spend using mobile devices has tripled. This is true not just for children but the general population as well. “Time spent in mobile apps jumped over 50% in one year, said Business Insider.
Some Changes Good… Some Not So Much
Social Media continues to change too. Facebook was first used by only college students. Now it’s used be the entire population of those 13 and older (and many young kids that aren’t supposed to use the social network.) Social media is used for good, e.g. Facebook Group: Preparing Kids for the Real World but also for horrific purposes, like recruiting by terrorist groups such as ISIS.
Apps too can be used for good and bad. Snapchat used to sext by teens can get them in serious trouble or ask.fm is known as a cyberbullying app. But there are great apps that help kids such with health issues such as asthma or diabetes such as Wellapets or of course all of the wonderful educational games that help kids learn such as PBS kids
The rapid changes in usage doesn’t surprise many of us watching as the world goes by; a mom jogging with a stroller stops to text; kids in the back seat of a long car ride are entertaining themselves with games, I check in with my daughter attending college in another state with frequent texts.
Is your head spinning with these changes? Mine is! Can you imagine what Guttenberg would think of today’s communication revolution? He might respond, “What the app are you talking about?”
It’s important to be mindful of these changes and to attempt to stay on top of them especially with regard to our kids.
Are you staying on top of these changes?
It’s important to know what sites your kids are visiting and whether they are age appropriate. It’s important to know what apps your kids are downloading and also whether they are age appropriate. What kind of site is it? What kind of app is it? Can your child connect with other people on the site? Is the game your son is playing exceptionally violent? There are so many questions to ask about what your child is doing on their device, but they’re important to the safety of your child, tween, or teen.
If you’re going to give your child a device that connects with the world and all the content good and bad in it… then make sure your doing your homework. If you don’t have the time, then don’t give them the device, because along with the good, there are risks when kids go online.
Tips for Your Kids/Teens to Stay Safe- When Using Apps or Visiting Websites:
Establish rules with your kids around downloading apps or websites.
Use a search engine like Google or Bing to find out more about the app/website your child wants to download or visit.
Check out the app/website for yourself. What kind of content will your child be exposed to? Is it drug-related, a violent game, a “sexting” app in which images supposedly disappear? Know what your child is downloading.
Make sure the app/website is age-appropriate for your child.
Find out if the app/website allows your child to connect with strangers.
Find out if the app has a geo-location function.
Don’t rely on what the developer says about age appropriateness; use your own judgment.
Does it have in app purchases that may result in credit card charges?
Only download apps from trusted sites.
Teach your kids not to click on questionable links.
Use strong passwords,which means using characters and numbers.
Be wary of Public Wi-Fi networks, they may be insecure.
Change your setting on your mobile device so that it doesn’t automatically connect to Wi-Fi when you’re not using your own connection.
Remember that free apps aren’t always as advertised.
Beware of fake apps.
Limit screen time with app or website use.