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When You Grow Up…

Kids of the Future

… what will the world be like? Scientists and thinkers have puzzled over that question. Hundreds of years ago, writers imagined a future where people lived easy lives, doing what they wanted to, buying what they wanted without money.

Before you were born, scientists predicted that the earth would soon be covered in ice. Others predicted that the ice will all melt.

Those predictions did not come to pass. The truth is that the future is a mystery. And here’s the exciting part: You will live there one day!

When you are a grown-up, what will life be like? No one can be sure, but many very smart people have some interesting ideas.

3D PRINTED FOOD

Feel like a pizza? Print one! Yes, in the future, when you need to feed your kids, you might cook up a pizza on a 3D printer. NASA is currently experimenting with 3D food printers to use in space.

Here on earth, 3D printers are already being used, but they are very expensive and don’t prepare a lot of different foods. By the time you are a grown-up, 3D food printers will be as common as microwave ovens. And you’ll be able to add extra cheese.

YOUR HOME WILL BE YOUR DOCTOR

Paying for health care is expensive. When you grow up, you will pay taxes to pay for that care. To help keep costs low, your home will be filled with tools that keep an eye of your health. Your toothbrush will test your saliva. Your toilet will test your, ahem, deposits.

Of course, your watch will also tell you how your heart is doing. All of this testing will help find health problems before they become too serious. They will tell you when you need to see a human doctor and when you just need to take a breath and relax.

WHEN YOU DO NEED A DOCTOR

In the future, you might get treated by tiny robots of a robot suit.

Nanotechnology is, simply put, using very tiny particles to do a job. For example, some sunscreens use nanoparticles to protect your skin. In the future, doctors will be able to use these wee little particles to make machines that treat disease or fix wounds. Other types of treatment are big.

Right now, doctors are creating mechanical suits that can act like legs or arms. People who have spine injuries will be able to move the suit just by thinking. Soldiers injured in war or kids damaged in accidents will finally be able to stand, walk or even play soccer.

HEADING TO THE FARM—IN AN ELEVATOR

As an adult, you might decide to be a farmer. You don’t go to the field in a truck—you take an elevator. That’s because farms are being created in high-rise buildings.

Some crops are grown on the side of the building. This is called “vertical farming” and people are doing it now. From vegetables to meat, almost any food can be grown inside these buildings.

If you want to be a farmer, you better get used to heights.

THE HARDEST PART OF THE FUTURE?

Being Human.

Technology is great. Everyone has a phone that connects them to friends and facts and fun games. All that technology is causing problems. Kids and adults alike find it hard to visit face-to-face.

People who get along using text messages can feel awkward when they try to meet in person. In the “old days,” men and women fell in love by meeting and getting to know one another.

Now, adults go through lists of information to learn about a person they like. Also, too much technology can make thinking harder. In the future, you could find life a struggle when technology breaks down. You could feel anxious without a phone in your hand.

The best way to make sure that you enter the future strong, smart and able to enjoy the world is to live in reality. Exercise, visit people, get your parents to show you how to do things rather than look it up on your computer. When the future arrives, you’ll be ready to make it whatever you want it to be.

… what will the world be like? Scientists and thinkers have puzzled over that question. Hundreds of years ago, writers imagined a future where people lived easy lives, doing what they wanted to, buying what they wanted without money.

Before you were born, scientists predicted that the earth would soon be covered in ice. Others predicted that the ice will all melt.

Those predictions did not come to pass. The truth is that the future is a mystery. And here’s the exciting part: You will live there one day!

When you are a grown-up, what will life be like? No one can be sure, but many very smart people have some interesting ideas.

3D PRINTED FOOD

Feel like a pizza? Print one! Yes, in the future, when you need to feed your kids, you might cook up a pizza on a 3D printer. NASA is currently experimenting with 3D food printers to use in space.

Here on earth, 3D printers are already being used, but they are very expensive and don’t prepare a lot of different foods. By the time you are a grown-up, 3D food printers will be as common as microwave ovens. And you’ll be able to add extra cheese.

YOUR HOME WILL BE YOUR DOCTOR

Paying for health care is expensive. When you grow up, you will pay taxes to pay for that care. To help keep costs low, your home will be filled with tools that keep an eye of your health. Your toothbrush will test your saliva. Your toilet will test your, ahem, deposits.

Of course, your watch will also tell you how your heart is doing. All of this testing will help find health problems before they become too serious. They will tell you when you need to see a human doctor and when you just need to take a breath and relax.

WHEN YOU DO NEED A DOCTOR

In the future, you might get treated by tiny robots of a robot suit.

Nanotechnology is, simply put, using very tiny particles to do a job. For example, some sunscreens use nanoparticles to protect your skin. In the future, doctors will be able to use these wee little particles to make machines that treat disease or fix wounds. Other types of treatment are big.

Right now, doctors are creating mechanical suits that can act like legs or arms. People who have spine injuries will be able to move the suit just by thinking. Soldiers injured in war or kids damaged in accidents will finally be able to stand, walk or even play soccer.

HEADING TO THE FARM—IN AN ELEVATOR

As an adult, you might decide to be a farmer. You don’t go to the field in a truck—you take an elevator. That’s because farms are being created in high-rise buildings.

Some crops are grown on the side of the building. This is called “vertical farming” and people are doing it now. From vegetables to meat, almost any food can be grown inside these buildings.

If you want to be a farmer, you better get used to heights.

THE HARDEST PART OF THE FUTURE?

Being Human.

Technology is great. Everyone has a phone that connects them to friends and facts and fun games. All that technology is causing problems. Kids and adults alike find it hard to visit face-to-face.

People who get along using text messages can feel awkward when they try to meet in person. In the “old days,” men and women fell in love by meeting and getting to know one another.

Now, adults go through lists of information to learn about a person they like. Also, too much technology can make thinking harder. In the future, you could find life a struggle when technology breaks down. You could feel anxious without a phone in your hand.

The best way to make sure that you enter the future strong, smart and able to enjoy the world is to live in reality. Exercise, visit people, get your parents to show you how to do things rather than look it up on your computer. When the future arrives, you’ll be ready to make it whatever you want it to be.

Kids Tech: Tips for Parents in the Digital Age

Parents and Kids Internet Safety

The world has now globalized thanks to technology. Such is its significance and influences on our daily lives that even our kids are now part of the growth. They are digital-savvy citizens who were exposed to technology at a young age and now use it on a regular basis.

However, since it can sting as much as it can benefit them, it is vital that we assist our children in learning healthy ways of digital use. How can we effectively do this? Here are several essential tips for parents in the digital age.

Create a Media Use Plan for the Family:

While it is irrefutable that media is one way to enhance your everyday life, it can displace numerous essential activities if utilized improperly. This can include much-needed family time as well time spend with friends away from screens. The need to have a proper media-use family plan has never been more important.

Restrict Reasonably and Encourage Playtime:

Similar to other activities in your home, it is essential that you set reasonable limits for media use. In addition to setting limits, encourage regular playtime and make it an everyday priority. This is especially important for your younger kids as it stimulates creativity.

Participate:

Don’t let screen time be alone time. Participate and play with your kids during screen time as it promotes bonding, social interaction, as well as active learning.

You can either watch a movie or even play some video games together. Not only will it help you bond; it also provides you with the perfect opportunity to not only understand them but also share your perspectives and offer guidance. This is also the perfect time to teach them about online safety and security.

Face-To-Face Communication Is Irreplaceable:

Two-way communication is the best way for young kids to learn. Conversing back and forth has been shown to develop language skills more than even “passive listening.”

Face-to-face active listening communication is an integral part of language development. Conversations can either be direct or, if need be, through video chat in cases where the parent or guardian is not around.

Lead by Example:

Instill good and decent online manners. Children tend to mimic their parents. As their role model, you should take necessary precautions like limiting the time period you spend on your media. This will help you interact and bond more with your kids by being there as opposed to getting lost in your screen.

Set up Tech-Free Zones:

Important activities such as family/social gatherings, mealtimes or even particular places in the house such as bedrooms should be completely screen-free. You can start by switching off the TV when having face-to-face time with your kids to avoid distractions for one or restrict them from taking their gadgets to their rooms during bedtime.

Such changes will not only promote healthier eating habits, but they also add to the family time and help the kids sleep better.

Children Will Always Be Children

Undoubtedly, kids are bound to mess up when using media. Carefully handle mistakes with understanding and turn every moment of error into a learning experience.

However, some actions such as cyberbullying may need some stern measures and action. It is crucial that you take note of your kid’s behavior, and where necessary seek professional assistance such as counseling.

While technology is now a fundamental component in our everyday lives, it should always be appropriately and moderately used. It is possible to ensure it does not disrupt fundamental essential activities. Despite its numerous benefits towards the growth of our kids, it should never take the place of real-time experiences with our families. The latter is vital in promoting the healthy development and proper learning of our kids.

Prioritize face-to-face interaction and ensure it is not overshadowed by a bunch of screens and media streams.

The world has now globalized thanks to technology. Such is its significance and influences on our daily lives that even our kids are now part of the growth. They are digital-savvy citizens who were exposed to technology at a young age and now use it on a regular basis.

However, since it can sting as much as it can benefit them, it is vital that we assist our children in learning healthy ways of digital use. How can we effectively do this? Here are several essential tips for parents in the digital age.

Create a Media Use Plan for the Family:

While it is irrefutable that media is one way to enhance your everyday life, it can displace numerous essential activities if utilized improperly. This can include much-needed family time as well time spend with friends away from screens. The need to have a proper media-use family plan has never been more important.

Restrict Reasonably and Encourage Playtime:

Similar to other activities in your home, it is essential that you set reasonable limits for media use. In addition to setting limits, encourage regular playtime and make it an everyday priority. This is especially important for your younger kids as it stimulates creativity.

Participate:

Don’t let screen time be alone time. Participate and play with your kids during screen time as it promotes bonding, social interaction, as well as active learning.

You can either watch a movie or even play some video games together. Not only will it help you bond; it also provides you with the perfect opportunity to not only understand them but also share your perspectives and offer guidance. This is also the perfect time to teach them about online safety and security.

Face-To-Face Communication Is Irreplaceable:

Two-way communication is the best way for young kids to learn. Conversing back and forth has been shown to develop language skills more than even “passive listening.”

Face-to-face active listening communication is an integral part of language development. Conversations can either be direct or, if need be, through video chat in cases where the parent or guardian is not around.

Lead by Example:

Instill good and decent online manners. Children tend to mimic their parents. As their role model, you should take necessary precautions like limiting the time period you spend on your media. This will help you interact and bond more with your kids by being there as opposed to getting lost in your screen.

Set up Tech-Free Zones:

Important activities such as family/social gatherings, mealtimes or even particular places in the house such as bedrooms should be completely screen-free. You can start by switching off the TV when having face-to-face time with your kids to avoid distractions for one or restrict them from taking their gadgets to their rooms during bedtime.

Such changes will not only promote healthier eating habits, but they also add to the family time and help the kids sleep better.

Children Will Always Be Children

Undoubtedly, kids are bound to mess up when using media. Carefully handle mistakes with understanding and turn every moment of error into a learning experience.

However, some actions such as cyberbullying may need some stern measures and action. It is crucial that you take note of your kid’s behavior, and where necessary seek professional assistance such as counseling.

While technology is now a fundamental component in our everyday lives, it should always be appropriately and moderately used. It is possible to ensure it does not disrupt fundamental essential activities. Despite its numerous benefits towards the growth of our kids, it should never take the place of real-time experiences with our families. The latter is vital in promoting the healthy development and proper learning of our kids.

Prioritize face-to-face interaction and ensure it is not overshadowed by a bunch of screens and media streams.

What Did You See? Really…

Imagine you are in the back seat, playing with your phone as your dad drives you to soccer practice. You pass Liam, a kid from school. His arms are waving and his face is red as he yells at a small boy you don’t know. And your dad has driven past the scene, his attention on the road.

You shake your head, then go online and post: “What’s up with Liam? Just saw him screaming at some little kid. He’s such a loser.” “We’re here,” your dad says. “Give me your phone.”

You do and head to the locker room.

After practice, as you’re changing, you tell your teammates about Liam. “You should have seen him. And the kid was half his size.” One of the kids you tell whips out his phone and posts: “Liam. Always thought you were a jerk. Now I know.”

Only when you’re buckled in the back seat does your dad hand you your phone. Turning it on, you see that lots of your friends have commented on how much of a jerk Liam is. You feel a burst of pride. After all, you were the one who told the world about Liam’s horrible behavior.

You start responding as your dad detours to the school to get your big sister from her basketball practice.

When your sister gets in the car, she’s excited. “Did you hear about the Jameson boy? He took off from his mom and was over by the freeway throwing rocks at cars.”

Your dad shoots her a strange look. “How do you know this?”

“Well, Liam was riding by on his bike and the kid threw a rock at him. So he pulled into the ditch and told him to stop. He tried to get the kid’s home number and the boy wouldn’t tell him. Our coach had to stop drills when Liam called her to get the Mom’s number.”

You feel the slow burn of embarrassment start creeping up your neck.

“Mrs. Jameson was frantic,” your sister continues. “She’d even called the police because she couldn’t find him. The cops showed up anyway because they’d had reports about a kid throwing rocks at cars—sirens and everything. It was a wild scene.”

“Wow. Scary. A little boy that close to the freeway. And throwing rocks, no less. Good thing Liam has a head on his shoulders. That Jameson boy could have hurt someone or got hurt himself.”

And there you are, looking at all the mean postings about Liam.

You take a breath and write your next post: “Hey, everybody. Turns out that the real jerk around here is me. I’ve just learned the hard way not to make fast judgments about people. Things aren’t always what they seem to be.”

Imagine you are in the back seat, playing with your phone as your dad drives you to soccer practice. You pass Liam, a kid from school. His arms are waving and his face is red as he yells at a small boy you don’t know. And your dad has driven past the scene, his attention on the road.

You shake your head, then go online and post: “What’s up with Liam? Just saw him screaming at some little kid. He’s such a loser.” “We’re here,” your dad says. “Give me your phone.”

You do and head to the locker room.

After practice, as you’re changing, you tell your teammates about Liam. “You should have seen him. And the kid was half his size.” One of the kids you tell whips out his phone and posts: “Liam. Always thought you were a jerk. Now I know.”

Only when you’re buckled in the back seat does your dad hand you your phone. Turning it on, you see that lots of your friends have commented on how much of a jerk Liam is. You feel a burst of pride. After all, you were the one who told the world about Liam’s horrible behavior.

You start responding as your dad detours to the school to get your big sister from her basketball practice.

When your sister gets in the car, she’s excited. “Did you hear about the Jameson boy? He took off from his mom and was over by the freeway throwing rocks at cars.”

Your dad shoots her a strange look. “How do you know this?”

“Well, Liam was riding by on his bike and the kid threw a rock at him. So he pulled into the ditch and told him to stop. He tried to get the kid’s home number and the boy wouldn’t tell him. Our coach had to stop drills when Liam called her to get the Mom’s number.”

You feel the slow burn of embarrassment start creeping up your neck.

“Mrs. Jameson was frantic,” your sister continues. “She’d even called the police because she couldn’t find him. The cops showed up anyway because they’d had reports about a kid throwing rocks at cars—sirens and everything. It was a wild scene.”

“Wow. Scary. A little boy that close to the freeway. And throwing rocks, no less. Good thing Liam has a head on his shoulders. That Jameson boy could have hurt someone or got hurt himself.”

And there you are, looking at all the mean postings about Liam.

You take a breath and write your next post: “Hey, everybody. Turns out that the real jerk around here is me. I’ve just learned the hard way not to make fast judgments about people. Things aren’t always what they seem to be.”

Is Your Child Ready for a Cell Phone?

Is Your Child Ready for a Cell Phone?

Parents often wonder what the right age is for their child to have a cell phone, but the truth is, every child is different. It depends on the child’s maturity, ability to be responsible, and the family’s communication needs.

As you consider what works best for your family, use the following tips to help set ground rules and parental controls, and to decipher the delicate balance between monitoring your child’s cell phone use and respecting their privacy.

How to set ground rules

Like driving a car for the first time, most kids are excited to get their first cell phone. And when learning to drive, kids must go through driver’s education and have limitations placed on them once they can drive on their own.

The same rings true for cell phones. As adults, we know the distractions our phones can pose. Before you give your child a phone, discuss cell phone safety and the ground rules you expect them to follow. Start small and allow more freedom with earned responsibility.

Cell phone rules and expectations can include:

  • When the cell phone cannot be used, like at dinner time, during homework hours, or at bedtime.
  • Never texting while walking—this can be anywhere, including parking lots, the mall, sidewalks, or even at home. This can distract your child and can be dangerous if they aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.
  • Never texting while driving and following the state laws when it comes to cell phone and hands-free use in the car.
  • Only downloading approved apps.
  • Designating specific times to use social media apps such as Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Kik, WhatsApp, TikTok, etc.
  • Keeping personal information, such as their school name, hometown, phone number, birth date, and address, off social media.
  • The understanding that the phone is the property of the parents and can be rescinded at any time for misuse.
  • A clear definition of who is responsible for replacing the phone if it’s lost.

As you establish ground rules, consider creating a cell phone agreement for your child to sign, and give them a copy to keep and comply with. The contract can include the estimated cost of the cell phone, whether or not you will be monitoring the phone and its usage, and a statement that phone privileges can be discontinued at any time for misuse. Warning your child of the consequences of misusing their phone ahead of time makes it easier to take their phone away, if needed.

What type of phone to get for your child

Cell phones are expensive, and your child probably doesn’t need the newest model with all the bells and whistles. The best first phone for a child is either a used one (several generations old) or a basic phone with limited functions.

If your child proves they are responsible by taking good care of their phone and responding to your texts and calls, you can consider upgrading them to a better phone, if needed.

How to use parental controls

Self-control is not necessarily a strong suit in the still-developing mind of a child, and setting parental controls on their phone can help protect them.

Parental controls can include restrictions on downloading apps, preventing explicit content, restricting Web searches, and only allowing certain games. Start off by restricting as much as you feel you need to and eventually allow more options with proven responsibility.

Monitoring with privacy

There’s an ongoing debate about the balance of parental monitoring and a child’s privacy, and it’s up to each parent to decide on an individual basis. Just as a parent helps their child learn to ride a bike or drive a car, they can also help their child learn how to safely use their cell phone.

Kids rarely make phone calls anymore — instead, they use messaging for most of their conversations. Looking over social media interactions, app use, and texts can offer insight into bullying, disparaging comments, signs of suicide from friends, or unsolicited sexting from friends or strangers. Does your child know how to handle these situations? Will your child tell you about it?

Keep in mind that many kids don’t use text messaging like their parents do. They prefer Snapchat or Instagram messaging, and now both social media apps make messages disappear after a certain amount of time. Staying up-to-date on what apps your child is using and how they can be used for messaging can help keep you informed about your child’s online activity.

Most cell phone carriers offer packages to help parents with monitoring, and a number of parental monitoring apps are also available with varying degrees of tracking. These apps can alert you when specific words are used in messages your child sends or receives and offer more privacy by allowing you to focus on certain messages rather than every communication.

Cell phones can be helpful for families when used correctly. Taking the time to set up ground rules can help teach your child responsibility and will offer peace of mind as you navigate the treacherous waters that can come with your child’s first phone.

About the Author

Lori Cunningham a family tech advocate and contributing writer for Xfinity Mobile. She is a mom to two creative children ages 13 and 15, and always looking to find new ways technology can help families with their scheduled lives.

Parents often wonder what the right age is for their child to have a cell phone, but the truth is, every child is different. It depends on the child’s maturity, ability to be responsible, and the family’s communication needs.

As you consider what works best for your family, use the following tips to help set ground rules and parental controls, and to decipher the delicate balance between monitoring your child’s cell phone use and respecting their privacy.

How to set ground rules

Like driving a car for the first time, most kids are excited to get their first cell phone. And when learning to drive, kids must go through driver’s education and have limitations placed on them once they can drive on their own.

The same rings true for cell phones. As adults, we know the distractions our phones can pose. Before you give your child a phone, discuss cell phone safety and the ground rules you expect them to follow. Start small and allow more freedom with earned responsibility.

Cell phone rules and expectations can include:

  • When the cell phone cannot be used, like at dinner time, during homework hours, or at bedtime.
  • Never texting while walking—this can be anywhere, including parking lots, the mall, sidewalks, or even at home. This can distract your child and can be dangerous if they aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.
  • Never texting while driving and following the state laws when it comes to cell phone and hands-free use in the car.
  • Only downloading approved apps.
  • Designating specific times to use social media apps such as Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Kik, WhatsApp, TikTok, etc.
  • Keeping personal information, such as their school name, hometown, phone number, birth date, and address, off social media.
  • The understanding that the phone is the property of the parents and can be rescinded at any time for misuse.
  • A clear definition of who is responsible for replacing the phone if it’s lost.

As you establish ground rules, consider creating a cell phone agreement for your child to sign, and give them a copy to keep and comply with. The contract can include the estimated cost of the cell phone, whether or not you will be monitoring the phone and its usage, and a statement that phone privileges can be discontinued at any time for misuse. Warning your child of the consequences of misusing their phone ahead of time makes it easier to take their phone away, if needed.

What type of phone to get for your child

Cell phones are expensive, and your child probably doesn’t need the newest model with all the bells and whistles. The best first phone for a child is either a used one (several generations old) or a basic phone with limited functions.

If your child proves they are responsible by taking good care of their phone and responding to your texts and calls, you can consider upgrading them to a better phone, if needed.

How to use parental controls

Self-control is not necessarily a strong suit in the still-developing mind of a child, and setting parental controls on their phone can help protect them.

Parental controls can include restrictions on downloading apps, preventing explicit content, restricting Web searches, and only allowing certain games. Start off by restricting as much as you feel you need to and eventually allow more options with proven responsibility.

Monitoring with privacy

There’s an ongoing debate about the balance of parental monitoring and a child’s privacy, and it’s up to each parent to decide on an individual basis. Just as a parent helps their child learn to ride a bike or drive a car, they can also help their child learn how to safely use their cell phone.

Kids rarely make phone calls anymore — instead, they use messaging for most of their conversations. Looking over social media interactions, app use, and texts can offer insight into bullying, disparaging comments, signs of suicide from friends, or unsolicited sexting from friends or strangers. Does your child know how to handle these situations? Will your child tell you about it?

Keep in mind that many kids don’t use text messaging like their parents do. They prefer Snapchat or Instagram messaging, and now both social media apps make messages disappear after a certain amount of time. Staying up-to-date on what apps your child is using and how they can be used for messaging can help keep you informed about your child’s online activity.

Most cell phone carriers offer packages to help parents with monitoring, and a number of parental monitoring apps are also available with varying degrees of tracking. These apps can alert you when specific words are used in messages your child sends or receives and offer more privacy by allowing you to focus on certain messages rather than every communication.

Cell phones can be helpful for families when used correctly. Taking the time to set up ground rules can help teach your child responsibility and will offer peace of mind as you navigate the treacherous waters that can come with your child’s first phone.

About the Author

Lori Cunningham a family tech advocate and contributing writer for Xfinity Mobile. She is a mom to two creative children ages 13 and 15, and always looking to find new ways technology can help families with their scheduled lives.

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