NEWS$show=/search/label/news

Here's where you'll find all the latest news about technology for children. We love to follow cool new inventions on Kickstarter and we hunt out all the latest announcements about tech toys and gadgets for the coming Christmas holidays. You'll also get our take on children's technology stories in the media.

REVIEWS$show=/search/label/review

Our kids technology product reviews are intended to help you work out whether a toy, gadget or kit is a good fit for your child or family. There's lots of cool stuff available, but is it the right choice for the child or teenager that you are buying for? We'll help you make the right choices and get the best value for money.

GIFT GUIDES$show=/search/label/gift%20guide

Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends assemble. We create gift lists to help you make good choices for kids technology which helps them develop the right skills for the future. We research the best in Coding Toys and Games, Making / Craft Tools and Kits, STEM/STEAM related gifts, Programmable Robots, Electronics Kits and Gadgets for Tech Age Kids and Teens.

PROJECTS$show=/search/label/project

Get crafty with technology. Here we'll post all our ideas and projects using technology to get creative and making with kids. You'll find anything from making a lemon battery to a glow-in-the-dark Minecraft sword. Our projects are tried and tested on our own kids or at events we run, so we are sure you can have a go at home with your kids. Some of our projects use specific tech gadgets which we provide links for you to purchase.

STEM$show=/search/label/stem

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In recent years there is an increased focus in these areas of study. We like to include Art and Design too, so we often talk about STEAM (A stands for Art). At Tech Age Kids we believe Coding is a new literacy and children need to understand how technology works, practice making skills and grow in their curiosity to make a better future for us all.

CODING$show=/search/label/coding

Coding is increasingly being recognised as an important skill for children to learn. Some will learn to code at school or at a coding club, but it's brilliant if they get support at home too.

ELECTRONICS$show=/search/label/electronics

We think it's really important for kids to get hands-on with electronics and learn how to make circuits and write code to control hardware. Younger kids can start with conductive playdough. For kids who like to combine craft and tech, littleBits are fab. And we love SAM Labs wireless electronics components for making it easy for kids to make Internet of Things inventions. Lots of electronics kits for kids have support for the Arduino microprocessor environment. The DuinoKit Jr is one of our favourites. Arduino is a fab skill for older kids and teens to develop.

ROBOTICS$show=/search/label/robotics

We love robots at Tech Age Kids, especially programmable ones. We've got lots of them and write reviews and projects that use them. Our programmable robots for kids buying guide is a good place to start if you're not sure what's available. Roby the mBot Meccano robot dog is one of our popular projects and has been with us to lots of events. Our Ozobot LEGO trailer is fab for kids who love LEGO and robots.

MAKING AND CRAFT$show=/search/label/making

We're advocates of the creative use of technology, but this needs to be balanced with developing physical skills such as papercraft, woodwork, clay modelling, technical drawing and soldering. If children don't develop these skills as they grow up then physical making projects can become frustrating rather than fun. The Maker Community uses the term 'making' as a broad term to include all sorts of artisan skills or craft activities. Being able to make things can lead to life-long hobbies or even careers. It's a great feeling to be able to take a project from an idea in your head to a real object that does something. We're particularly interested to explore products that combine maker skills with tech skills such as electronics but others focus purely on the physical making skills that are still important to modern making.

The Kids Rules for Parents Tech Use


Our kids grow up in a digital world. They don't remember a time without the internet or watching their favourite character on Youtube. Parents on the other hand do. We battle between "back in the day when there were no screens" and our own obsession with technology and digital social interaction. As parents we want our children to have a healthy and positive relationship with technology, however are you leading by example?

If kids could make the rules on how parent's should use technology, what would they say?


A recent research study conducted by the University of Washington got me thinking about my own use of technology and the impact thereof on my family life and children. What would my kids rules be for me regarding my use of tech?

The research surveyed both parents and children, asking questions regarding rules of technology use for each. The results showed many overlapping rules, in two main categories - activity (when tech is used) and content (what information is consumed) constraints.

Parents were mostly concerned about online safety, restricting the amount of tech use and the ability to audit or monitor their children's use of technology. Children on the other hand were mostly concerned about oversharing online and considerate use of tech (for example not when driving). However both groups reflected on "being present" as an important rule for adults and children.



Be Present


According to the study, "Be Present" is refraining from using technology in a particular social context. For example, no devices during family dinners or putting away your phone when your child is sharing important news.

This is definitely easier said than done. Generally parents today are sailing uncharted waters. In our family, we agree not to look at our devices during mealtimes. This is not a difficult rule to implement, but consider it in context.

Everyone has finished eating, bar one child insisting on eating one pea at a time. Your phone goes off, and you want to check the message (it's really boring watching a child eat like a snail) but the RULE!

Here's a good one - you're having a fantastic family discussion which brings up a question only Google can answer. Do you reach for your phone? The rules states no phones at mealtimes.

What Happens in my Home?

The above happens all the time in our family. And yes, we have a suggestion to put our devices away for mealtimes, sometimes a device can improve our family time. Technology is meant to help us, and if we make it the enemy in family life, we are not helping our children to form healthy habits for their future.

Don't Overshare


The research revealed nearly 20% of children didn't want their parents to share information about them online, without their explicit permission. The average age of children were 13.3 years.

Having a teen already, I totally understand this statement. Once young people start using social media, what is put online about them becomes a great concern for them. As parents we are worried about their safety and they worry about their social standing. An embarrassing photo of you, shared and tagged on Facebook by your parent is just not cool.

We have a teen and young (under 7 year) children in our family and have different "sharing rules" for each child. As per request from our teen, we never share anything without asking. However we do share content about our younger children - mainly for the benefit of our family all over the globe. However it is really worth thinking about what you share online.

Certainly I don't think my now 7 year old would be too pleased if, when he gets his own social media accounts, he finds he already has a full history of his life online courtesy of his parents. Yes sure, your child is super cute, but think of the impact on them of sharing THAT photo.

Silence Notifications


The children from the study wanted parents to use technology in moderation and balance it with other activities.

I always have my phone with me. This also means whenever something happens online, it bleeps to notify me. If, like me you have several social media accounts (I work in Social Media Marketing) it can become a constant interruption.

What Happens in my Home?

I found myself constantly checking my phone when a notification came in. Last year I decided to switch off all non-important notifications. It's helped create better habits and usage. I no longer reach for the phone for every bleep and I try allocate units of time during the day for checking social media. It also helps me be present with my kids. My phone is not interrupting my family life.


Bedtime Routine


The research discovered kids were keen for parents to also follow the rules they set for children.

We have set a rule of no devices in bedrooms at bedtime for our family. The rule was created when our teen got a mobile device and started using social media. We thought it would be a good idea to have a "charging station" downstairs for children to charge phones over night. To make it fair, we (parents) follow the rule too.

Admittedly it is VERY hard not to have your phone next to your bedside, especially as I use mine as my to-do list and managing the family calendar.

I'm convinced starting a new tech rule in your family has two main ingredients - start when the kids are young (they won't think it is a punishment then) and model the rules as parents.

My young kids know, when we say it is bedtime, there are some routine things we do - bath, brush teeth and read a bedtime story. They don't make a fuss, it's the routine. Similarly, charging a phone outside a bedroom can just be part of the routine.

Families will have different bedtime routines, and they will also change as kids become older. For example recently my youngest started reading books on EPIC app, which means the iPad comes up to our bedroom some evenings for bedtime story time.


Tech is not going away, at all. Yes, we can build better habits and make healthier choices. As mentioned previously, parents today are unique from any other generation when it comes to digital parenting. It is a bit of trial and error. What rules would your kids set for your tech use? Ask them.

Source: Family Technology Rules University of Washington

Research: Not at the Dinner Table. For more information, contact Hiniker at alexisr@uw.edu, Schoenebeck at yardi@umich.edu or Kientz at jkientz@uw.edu.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.
Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: The Kids Rules for Parents Tech Use
The Kids Rules for Parents Tech Use
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