Category Archives: safety

Fading football fever

Football fever is starting to fade in some high schools.

Although Friday night games will still be a tradition in many areas this fall, research shows a declining percentage of participating students. Concussion awareness has made coaches work harder at recruiting athletes and convincing parents the game is safe.

A ripple effect is inevitable for cheerleading squads, marching bands and booster clubs.

Participation in sports looks good on college applications, but fewer students will be listing football.

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Empowered to cope?

At all levels of education, the first weeks of the school year include active shooter drills.

However, parents and some mental health professionals are increasingly concerned that practicing how to respond in these potentially dangerous situations is adding emotional stress, starting in early childhood.

This fall, school systems are walking a fine line between empowering students to cope with situations, without creating unnecessary anxiety. Some say the next “new normal” for schools will be to help kids develop resilience. From what I’m seeing, we’re not there, yet.

To bad or not to ban

The problem vexing administrators as they think ahead to the new school year: to ban or not to ban student cell phones.

Although cell phones have proven valuable in school shootings, the digital distraction is having a negative impact on learning.

Students at all levels are confident of their ability to multitask. However, research has shown that rapid attention shifts actually hijack our thinking.

Plus, the anxiety that results from being disconnected to phones, laptops and other gadgets also distracts from learning.

“To ban or not to ban?” The question is real. The answer is not clear.

Connected in a cocoon

Research says that parents are comfortable with kids having a connected toy or device, but only if it’s safe.

Security and data privacy continue to concern parents of digikids. Worries about online hackers or criminals locating a child through GPS tracking decreases if the “connected cocoon” around kids insures their safety.

A timely thought as schools close and screens open for the summer.

VR struggles

Although there’s a lot of chatter about VR (virtual reality) data show that children aren’t frequent users.

Concerns about exposure to inappropriate content via VR is a major issue for parents. In addition, health concerns, lack of knowledge and cost are contributing to the slower than expected consumer acceptance.

Summer reading lists: a new reality

After horrific school shootings and incidents of violence during this past school year, elementary and junior high summer reading lists include at least title with a theme of survival.

Some books are set in catastrophic events that really happened; others are fiction, but most showcase personal resilience and strength.

Middle graders are especially attracted to these adventures. Whether tied to a specific historical event, the environment, a character or person, stories on lists this summer might have a new reflection of realism. What a sad commentary on the times in which we live.

The appy world of kids

As apps devour phone space, the use of apps for children is increasingly being addressed by tech educators.

Actually, the whole topic of media engagement among kids is going far beyond screen time, dealing with topics that include virtual reality games, interactive robots and artificial intelligence. Privacy continues to be a theme throughout realtime conversations on the ground between parents and kids and among researchers.

Educators continue to look for ways that developmentally appropriate apps can bring together children, their peers and their families. We’re on the front edge of a new wave of app engagement.