* Z is for Zinged!


Yep, I’ve been zinged by “Technology Addiction: Concern, Controversy, and Finding Balance.”  I admit to being addicted by technology.  I love tech challenges and will spend hours searching for ways to make STUFF work just right.  I’m also hooked on computer games with matching jewels.  So what about kids?  How is their increasing use of technology affecting them?   Published by Common Sense Media, this research brief on Technology Addiction included the results of 180 studies combined with a recent survey of tweeners and teens.  The article concluded:

  1. More study is needed to determine whether internet addiction is a psychological disorder and exactly how it affects kids.  (Have I become a tech zombie?)
  2. Our ability to focus may be affected by digital multitasking.  (Duh.)
  3. Technology is a source of conflict in families.  (You can ask my dearest tech widower about this!)
  4. Overuse of digital media may lead to “lower empathy and social well-being.”  (As in neglecting family and friends?)
  5. Technology may help teens express their developmental needs to connect and receive peer validation.  (Too late for me.)
  6. Balance, balance, balance the use of technology while modeling its appropriate use.  (Put away the phone while driving!)

This is a much-needed zinger for many of us, I imagine.

What do you think?  Are bloggers more likely to be or become addicted to technology?


* Graphite

5 starsGraphite, a branch of Common Sense Education, is a website which provides excellent reviews of apps, games, and websites for educators and parents.  Graphite’s main menu includes their top picks, connections to Common Core standards, a blog, and other teacher resources.  My favorite section is their general “Reviews and Ratings” because of its excellent search filter.  I can select my students’ grade range, desired content area, platform, price, and the type of digital resource I want (apps, console and PC games, and websites).  Graphite’s reviews are thorough enough for me to make intelligent decisions about my selections.

Here’s an example of how I used Graphite to find an app related to elementary science.  After entering my criteria, I was directed to an app called Brain Jump Pro, which helps educate kids on how the brain functions.  Ned the Neuron guides kids through a variety of challenges, where perseverance is encouraged and kids learn the importance of challenging themselves, especially if they are initially unsuccessful.  Graphite’s review lets me know that kids can earn badges (but only one student’s progress can be charted).  A novel feature of this app are the videos explaining the science behind the activities.  How serendipitous that was for me!  I spend a lot of time talking to kids about how and why our work is brain-friendly.  Brain Jump Pro seems like a perfect fit for me.  I’ll give it a try and then I can add my review to Graphite.

Graphite is a winner for me!

* Common Sense Media- WOW!

internet and computerAre you looking for a way to sort through the enormous world of apps and online media?  As a parent or teacher of special needs kids, do you want some support in finding books and movies appropriate for your child’s interests and abilities?  Can you be sure that what your kids are watching or playing is safe?  What should I do if my child is being cyber-bullied?  Try Common Sense Media, a huge not-for-profit website dedicated to systematic and thorough reviews of apps, books, movies, TV shows, and more.

Here’s a glance at how it works.  Let’s say you have a youngster who wants to see the movie “Home.”  Go to Common Sense Media for an amazing in-depth review.  Find the appropriate age range, the movie story line, its educational value, whether there are scary or violent parts, what you might discuss with your kids, and whether it’s even worth watching.  All of those features, and more, are rated on a scale of one to five stars.  Want to find out what others are saying about the movie?  What about selecting related alternatives?  It’s all there.  And if you’ve seen the movie, add your own review.

I am amazed at the quality of the reviews on this site.  Common Sense Media is an online gem, a definite 5 out of 5 stars.  I’ll share more about my favorite features in posts to come.  Be sure to check it out!