Is it OK for my child to download apps to the family iPad?
Answer: Apps are fun programs that can be useful (Grocery IQ is
a grocery list with integrated coupons), educational (Stack the
States makes geography fun) or just plain entertaining (Angry Birds
is wildly popular game among all age groups). There are more than a
half-million apps available in the Apple App Store, and while Apple
does not allow pornographic content in their stores, figuring out
which apps are right for your family can take a little
Here are several suggestions for managing your family's
Q: Is it too early for my 5-year-old daughter to
connect with friends online?
A: The use of technology is a common part of childhood
today-in fact, 70 percent of children under 5 know how to use a
mouse, while only 11 percent of this age group can tie their own
While the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn't recommend
screen time for children under 2, children can benefit from tech
skills at every age and build a foundation for social networking
skills long before they dive into the world of Facebook.
Face time with toddlers
Children as young as 3 and 4 can learn important basic rules
about asking permission and setting time limits when connecting
with family online. A Skype session with grandparents can also
begin to define the most important rule for children when it comes
to connecting with others online-only connect with people you know
well, have a relationship with and trust. Parents can set up family
sites at Famster.com and Myfamily.com and create a secure
environment where children can visit with family across the
By 5 and 6, kids are beginning to play games online and might be
connecting with friends from school or camp. While parents need to
help them balance their social play online with offline play dates,
time connecting with friends online can provide good practice for
communication skills and social etiquette. At ClubPenguin.com,
children can earn privileges for responsible online behavior.
Scuttlepad.com gives kids a very basic introduction to online
communication with parent-approved friends.
Learning to make decisions about who to include in your social
network is valuable experience. Children can try Whatswhat.me, a
social network for kids as young as 7 who can connect with others a
year older or younger, or Togetherville.com, designed for kids
under 10, to make parent-approved connections in an online
By the end of elementary school, social connections are very
important to kids. They are exploring their own personal style and
connecting online can help expand the opportunities for creative
growth and social connections. This age group can try Everloop.com
and Imbee.com, both monitored social networks specifically designed
for kids 8-14.
Sharon Cindrich is a mother of two tech-savvy kids from Virginia Beach. Learn more at sharoncindrich.com.
See more of Sharon's stories here.
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