Category Archives: safety

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.

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Safety first

Hearing the whistle from a school crossing guard is a sure sign school is back in session.

But the shrill sound of a whistle, shiny badges or neon tape strips on uniforms hasn’t been enough to protect ever-faithful guards from the danger of distracted drivers.

That’s the reason those helping your child cross the street might be wearing the latest protective gear: vests that light up. The vests, which can be controlled by a push button, flash running red lights to increase visibility.

Lead transparency?

Lead contamination in school drinking water continues to cause headaches for administrators this summer.

Although an increasing number of districts have done lead testing and starting remediation, some parents still aren’t been notified about progress in dealing with the problem.

In some schools, lack of routine testing means lead in water often isn’t discovered, or only discovered by chance.

Where’s the transparency?

Mall brawls

Social media has been blamed for triggering teen disturbances at malls.

As a result, an increasing number of shopping centers are banning unaccompanied minors on weekend nights. Although some mall officials add curfews only on holiday weekends, restrictions are becoming more widespread.

Safe turf?

As we transition between spring and summer sports, parents are asking the annual sideline question: Is artificial turf safe for children?

Health concerns continue to be raised about artificial turf. The two major questions center around potential links to cancer and possible neurologic effects on kids.

Tires, which contain chemicals, are recycled into crumbs that support the plastic blades of the grass.

I share the frustration of parents who have spent several years waiting for answers.

Fake or real?

Researchers say that the 24 hour news cycle not only gives kids information, but also causes them to feel afraid or angry.

Fewer than half of the children studied can distinguish between fake news and real news. (Perhaps adult percentages wouldn’t be that different!)

Digital literacy skills were supposed to receive major time and attention in classrooms during the school year that’s coming to a close. I’m not convinced that happened.

Parents can make a deliberate attempt to talk with children about news stories. News topics which triggered the most stress and anxiety in kids: global issues related to safety, financial uncertainty and war.

Life ready?

The uncertain and unstable times are hitting parents at the core.

In some previous generations, putting up a protective wall was the smart approach to keeping children safe. Now, there appears to be a shift toward exposing kids to more situations. Some moms and dad hope their kids learn to think fast and handle issues, simply because so much is spinning out of control.

The challenge is to find that zone between keeping a child safe and fostering independence.