Chicago kids talk about technology

We gathered a panel of 14 Chicago-area kids between the ages of 7 and 14 to talk about tech. They’re growing-up in a digital age and technology has taken over the way they learn, play and communicate. They had some interesting things to say about being raised as techies.

We gathered a panel of 14 Chicago-area kids growing up in the digital age to talk about tech.

Technology is changing the way that our kids learn, play andinteract with others. With a myriad of devices available tothem-everything from computers to tablets, smart devices, e-readersand gaming systems-kids are exposed to technology on a dailybasis.

So what tools are they using in the classroom? What formsof technology do they use to connect with friends? What about thetricky topic of social media and kids? And how is this nextgeneration planning to use technology to make the world a betterplace?

We wanted to know the answers to these questions and more,so we reached out to 14 Chicago-area kids between the ages of 7 and14. Turns out that they had a lot to say. And they areeven teaching mom and dad a thing or two when it comes to thenewest innovations.


What kinds of technology do you use at home or school?

  • I use desktop and laptop computers for things such as homework,playing games and looking for recipes. I also have my own cellphone and an iPod.Gabriel
  • Laptop, desktop, iPad mini, cell phone and video games.Kendall
  • Since I go to a Montessori school, we really don’t usecomputers until fourth, fifth and sixth grade.Grace
  • At home I use my iPod Touch, my Kindle Fire, the Wii, my mom’siPad and the computer. At school we use iPads, laptops and regularcomputers. We also use Smart Boards a lot. My Kindle Fire is reallyuseful because you can read books and play games when you are on anairplane and you don’t have to carry three heavy books if you arean avid reader. Zoe
  • Laptop computers and tablets. I got a Kindle for Christmas, butI haven’t had a chance to set it up yet. I don’t have a cell phoneeven though I really want one. My parents sometimes let me play ontheir phones. Megan
  • At school we use laptops and Smart Boards. At home, I use myiPod, cellphone, desktop, the Wii and the Xbox.Ariadna
  • At home I use an iPod Touch, tablets, video games, a computerand my mom’s Kindle. Jakob
  • I use an iPod, desktop computer, Kindle Fire, DS, Wii andSamsung Galaxy S2. Guillermo
  • At home I have a MacBook Pro, an iPod, a cell phone, and lotsof gaming devices (Xbox, PS3, Wii, PSVita and Nintendo 3DS). Atschool we use the school computers, iPads and iPods, and we have aninteractive whiteboard in each of our classrooms called PrometheanBoards instead of chalkboards.Christian


How do you use technology in your schoolwork?

  • Sometimes we have to make a PowerPoint presentation at school.Other times we research on the computer or I type up a report.Megan
  • My school provided me with a laptop that I use to typeassignments, do research, create keynote presentations and thelaptop is also used daily in class.Sean
  • We work with Google Drive so that many people can work on thesame document. Ariadna
  • We use Edmodo, a secured social learning network. It is wherewe share schoolwork and homework and discussions with our teachersand classmates. We get our homework and grades there, too. We alsouse Google Docs a lot for collaborative work and note-taking inclass. Our textbooks are all online and can be accessed fromanywhere we have a connection to the Internet.Christian
  • We look up stuff on our mini-laptops, like when we werelearning about simple machines we went on edheads.com and looked upthe simple machines game. We could click on something that was asimple machine and we would have to do a mini-essay with like fivequestions.Alexis
  • I use technology to download assignments and collaborate withgroups or partners. Sometimes my math teacher sets up an onlinemeeting the day before a test so we can ask him sample problems wewant help with. My history teacher, along with pretty much everyother teacher I have, often posts the syllabus and assignments onher website. Isaac


How do you use technology to play games or interact?

  • Texting and Instagram. Kendall
  • I use my iPod Touch to play games with friends such as Wordwith Friends and Draw Something.Jakob
  • I play Skylanders with my friends.Spencer
  • I go to a website called Moshi Monsters where you adopt anonline pet. You can also send messages to friends.Grace
  • I play games on our family computer at home. I also sometimeswatch Disney Channel shows on the iPad.Megan
  • I use the computer for interactive gaming such as Wizard 101 toplay with my friends and also meet new people.Gabriel
  • I use the PS3 to play games with my friends as well as otherpeople over the Internet. I also use my laptop and desktop to playonline games and chat with my friends.Sean
  • With my iPod, I can video chat instead of just instantmessaging with my friends. I use Facetime or ooVoo forthis.Ariadna


What kinds of social media do you use?

  • None. For some of those, I am not old enough. You have to be 13to have an account. A police officer came to our school and told usthat you can easily get into trouble on most of those sites and shealso told us the age requirement. My mom sticks with that.Megan
  • Instagram is the only one. I like it because it gives anotherway to interact withfriends.Kendall
  • I tend to use Facebook and email. I prefer Facebook becauseit’s fast and connects to many people I know (but it’s a hugetime-waster!). Isaac
  • I don’t use any of these, but my mom lets me see her Facebookpage and respond to family and friends with hersupervision.Guillermo
  • I like Twitter and Facebook, but I don’t use them. I hope tohave accounts when I get older.Grace
  • I use Facebook, ooVoo and Instagram.Ariadna
  • My mom helps me put pictures and videos of me on Facebook and Ipost videos of me doing things on YouTube.Spencer


Do your parents put restrictions on how and when you can usetechnology at home?

  • I can only use my iPad Mini on the weekends and other days whenwe don’t have school. My mom looks at my Instagram account.Kendall
  • Sometimes I email my friends, but usually I don’t use mypersonal devices on the weekdays because I don’t have enough time.Zoe
  • I have to ask my mom if I can add a friend’s phone number to myphone. I can only play games on my iPod with people my parentsknow. I’m not allowed to use Google or YouTube without one of myparents. Alexis
  • My parents need to know when I am on the computer and whichInternet sites I am visiting. I cannot download anything withoutpermission and I am not allowed to say “yes” when it asks me if Iwant to buy something or post on Facebook. I also have strict timelimits, around 20 minutes a time. My homework has to be done, too.I think those are good rules, but sometimes I just want to play andplay. Sometimes it is hard. Megan
  • I get to use them an hour-and-a-half each day. I think it isgood to have that rule so you have time to do other thingsthroughout the day. Gabriel
  • I can’t follow strange people who randomly send me friendrequests. Ariadna
  • I have an iPod Touch that I can only use on weekends for ashort time. My mom says it is for my own good. My parents don’t letme go on YouTube and I do it anyway sometimes.Grace
  • I can’t play games with strangers. I have to download games andmusic that are appropriate. My dad has to approve them. They limitthe amount of time I can be on.Jakob


How could we use technology to make Chicago or world a betterplace?

  • I wish there was some kind of technology to help gun control.Sean
  • There should be free citywide Wi-Fi!Christian
  • If there were Kindles in all schools, more kids would haveaccess to reading materials and learning apps.Jakob
  • You can use the computer to make a petition like I did forsaving manatees. You can use technology to raise money for charity.Alexis
  • Make something that allows kids to communicate with theirteacher without actually being at school.Keaira


If you could invent new technology, what would it be?

  • A tablet that would plug into a robot and you could control therobot and it would help you do things like clean your room and playvideo games with you. Jakob
  • I would love to have a fortune-telling device that is neverwrong. Megan
  • A gym shoe that is connected to all of my devices that candetect the amount of energy and charge my devices with the amountof movement that I make. My parents would be happy that I’m movingmore and my iPod would never run out of battery!Christian
  • A cheap computer that is really portable that you could fitinto your pocket with an iPod Touch-sized screen and a minisculekeyboard. It would be cheap so that it would be a school supplythat kids could bring to school daily.Zoe


Have you taught your parents how to use any technology?

  • I taught them how to customize desktops.Kendall
  • I’ve taught my mom a lot of things about the iPad, includingwhere the volume is. Megan
  • I introduced my mom to Instagram one day because I know sheenjoys taking pictures. Ariadna
  • I was able to program the universal remote before my mom. Mymom also does not know how to use the PS3 very well. I always haveto show her what to do when we play games.Sean



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