Young People and a Healthy Relationship with Social Media

Young People Healthy Relationship with Social Media

For those of us raised in the landline generation, social media can feel like terrifying new terrain. No sooner did we get our heads around Facebook, than it was deemed uncool by the younger generation, who quickly moved onto Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. It’s tempting to embrace being a ‘tech dinosaur’ and scoff at the latest craze, but as parents this is a risky strategy.

Our children’s lives are moving more and more online, into a rapidly changing, unmarshalled digital world. It’s essential we understand how they’re using social platforms, to keep them safe and to support their mental health. So, here’s 5 top tips to engage with our children’s virtual world and help them form a healthy relationship with social media.

1. Set boundaries

Setting boundaries sounds obvious, but it’s easier said than done. Particularly in the last year, allowing our children to get lost in their screens has been an easy way to give us much-needed respite. However, we know that too much screen time is detrimental to our children’s mental health and can affect their sleep, so it’s essential that we’re helping them to strike a healthy balance.

There’s lots of great advice out there about how to enforce time limits and set parental controls, but this will always work better if it’s done in collaboration with your child. Ask them how much time they think is appropriate and you may be surprised by how reasonable their response is.

It’s also useful to think about how and when they’re using their devices. Last thing at night can affect their sleep and first thing in the morning can risk them becoming addicted, needing their ‘fix’ the minute they wake up. Similarly, playing on Minecraft will have a very different emotional impact to scrolling through ‘beach body’ images on Instagram. Sometimes setting boundaries can be as simple as telling them to change what app they’re on, to give them a mental health break.

2. Educate them about staying safe

Again, this one can feel tricky when it’s our children who are the digital natives, while we feel more like anxious tourists. However, on a neurological level, children and young people haven’t developed the ability to gauge and assess risk accurately, so they need us to support them with this. As the digital world is moving fast, it’s impossible to keep on top of all the new platforms and associated risks, so educating our children on understanding the dangers is our best hope.

Letting them know the importance of protecting their personal information is essential, spelling out just how easy it is to give details away without realizing we’ve done it. Also, let them know how disinhibited we can become when we’re online. This is particularly pertinent when we look at cyberbullying. It may be that they fall victim to bullying and need our support, but it’s also incredibly easy for children to fall into the trap of bullying others, without even recognizing that that’s what they’re doing.

3. Take an interest

We’re often quick to judge what’s a valuable use of our children’s time and what’s a waste. Maybe we give them our full attention when they let us know about how they got on in their football match or if they’ve had a fall out in the playground, but when they start telling us about what they’re up to online, we immediately glaze over.

While we may find it hard to enthuse about social platforms, we still want our children to come to us about them. Our children may have whole friendship groups, hobbies and an entirely different persona online that we need to know about. So have a strong coffee, take a deep breath and try to act interested as they talk about this aspect of their lives. By being curious and asking questions we’ll be better informed and we’ll become closer to our children too.

4. Don’t demonize social media

Similarly, it can be tempting to make dismissive comments when our children talk about their social media use. ‘What are you on that for? Get outside in the fresh air and spend time with your real friends!’ may be on the tip of our tongues, particularly if we’ve read up on all the negative aspects of social media, but all we’re doing is telling our children not to talk to us about their online lives – and that’s a dangerous message.

There’s lots of positives to social media. For children struggling with their mental health, they can find others in a similar situation and draw strength from them, and in the various lockdowns, social media did a lot to stave off the feelings of isolation and loneliness that many young people felt. Find out how your child is using social media and if it does seem to be impacting negatively on their mental health, help them to find more positive ways of using it.

5. Encourage real life connections

Finally, as with most things, it’s about balance. It’s okay for children to use social media but it’s important that they have other sides to their life as well. If they have a club or hobby that they enjoy, encourage them to keep it up. If it looks like they’re losing interest, have an honest conversation with them and agree together what they can do to maintain connections with the real world.

Encouraging our children to have their friends over is another way to maintain those real world relationships, as is making sure we’re spending quality time with them too. Days out, walking the dog, baking or getting creative together are all good ways to bring us closer to our children and are also a great way to engineer conversations about how things are going in their online world.

We don’t have to ‘lose’ our children to social media. By being open and interested in what they’re telling us, without overreacting or jumping to conclusions, they’ll know that they can come to us if they have a problem. By doing this we’re also modelling communication, compassion and problem-solving skills which are all cornerstones of healthy relationships. If they’re experiencing these in the real world, they’re much more likely to apply them to their virtual lives too.

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Social Media for KidsHelen has nearly 20 years’ experience working with children and young people.  As a primary school teacher and child and adolescent counselor she is passionate about understanding and supporting children. Helen is head of counseling at Mable Therapy, a company transforming the way children and young people across the UK access therapy. By replacing traditional therapy methods with immersive, game-based therapy and technology, the process of achieving goals becomes fun and rewarding.

How Writing Skills Can Help Kids Master a New Language

How Writing Skills Can Help Kids Master a New Language

Learning a new language is hard, but writing can help make it easier. Writing is one of the most effective ways for people to learn and retain information. It can also help kids master their second language faster and with less frustration than any other method out there.

With this in mind, we’ve created a series of blog posts that will teach you how to use your child’s natural love of storytelling as an opportunity to develop their skills in reading comprehension, vocabulary development, spelling and grammar mastery, creative expression through writing – all while learning a new language! The first post uses narrative stories as an entertaining way for kids to practice their target foreign language.

Writing is a process of thinking through what we’re saying before we say it. This means kids get better at expressing themselves verbally as well as understanding others’ verbal communication.

What are writing skills, and why do they matter in language learning?

Writing is a form of thinking. In a sense, we are always writing – from the grocery list to a paragraph in a book, everything we write has been thought about before it’s put to paper.  The act of finding words that convey meaning without being overly complicated or losing clarity is an important and useful skill for kids learning foreign languages.

Writing also helps kids develop better reading comprehension skills. Even though they are not yet reading the language and rely solely on their writing abilities, developing an understanding of a foreign language through writing about it will help speed up reading comprehension. Writing forces children to slow down and think about how words work together into a sentence, making them more comfortable.

Writing is a great way to get kids interested in learning new words.

Writing is a great way to remember what we’ve learned.

Writing helps us develop dictionary skills, such as word comprehension and spelling:

  • Finding the meaning of new words.
  • Writing down new vocabulary in our own language.
  • Writing down new vocabulary in the target language.

The process of writing allows kids to focus on their mistakes and learn from them, which does their reading and speaking better.

By writing in the target language, kids develop a deeper understanding of it.

Kids who learn to write before they speak are more likely to learn a new language.

Writing allows kids to express their ideas in a different language and understand the perspective of others who think differently than they do.

Doing an activity through writing is one of the most effective ways to memorize facts and information.

When we form words with our mouths, it’s often hard to control exactly what comes out. Writing is a great way to “test out” what we want to say in our heads.

By developing their ability to write, kids get better at expressing themselves through speaking as well.

Through writing, kids learn about grammar and sentence structure while being able to focus on the creative side of putting their thoughts on paper.

Writing allows kids to explore their creativity and be expressive in a way that it’s not always possible when they’re talking.

Importance of writing skills in mastering a new language

The number of skills kids develop when they write in a foreign language is enormous and invaluable.  It’s also the best way for kids to learn to express themselves – which is helpful for them as native speakers!

Writing helps us find our voice. As we become aware of the words that come out of our mouths, we start to discover our own unique way of expressing ourselves. This is a very personal process that ultimately gives us the freedom to express anything we want!

Writing skills will help you become more successful in learning your new language. Writing forces you to slow down and think about what you’re going to say, which helps you develop better reading comprehension skills.

Common mistakes that people make when teaching their children how to write a new language:

Assuming that children should be writing in the target language from day one. Your kids are still early on in the process – and it will take time for them to become aware of what they’re doing!

As a rule, you need to write down a new word several times before they “get it.” It’s also helpful to read a sentence aloud and ask your kid to repeat it – that will help them internalize the new word.

Writing in a language that is too formal for their level of understanding. Kids feel awkward and stilted when they’re forced to write long, complex sentences when they understand simple ones. This goes back to step 1!

Giving up too quickly on a wrong word.  Kids will often make mistakes or misspell words that are hard for them. The fastest way to learn is by making mistakes – so don’t get frustrated by this step!

Using complicated formats and styles of writing.  Start with simple shapes, such as squares or triangles; then try circles and smiley faces. Once they understand those, you can move to more complicated shapes that will help with their writing.

Not focusing on the meaning of what they’re writing.  If your kid wants to write about a video game, don’t be afraid to encourage them to use specific vocabulary from it – this is a great way to learn and practice!

Tips for teaching children how to read and write in a foreign language

When kids first learn to write or read, they should start with elementary forms of writing and reading.  This is a process that should be fun!

Encourage your kid to keep going even if you don’t understand all the words they’re writing down. This will help them feel comfortable with writing, and they’ll soon get better!

Give your kid time to explore the new words in different contexts. Once you have a few words, make sure to ask questions about them – this is how kids figure out what a word means as it’s used in context.

If something doesn’t work for your child, try something else. As we said earlier, there’s no “right” way to learn and grow!

Practicing reading is a great way for kids to get familiar with the letters.  You can take this opportunity to work on spelling as well – it’s a win-win situation!

Writing in different formats is a fun way for kids to experiment with how sentences are formed.  Try to add extra vocabulary in there and see what kind of sentences they can make!

Keep writing exciting by offering rewards for certain achievements.  This is a great way for your kid to build excitement and confidence as they learn to write in their new language.

The best way for kids to learn is through Writing practice and repetition.

By writing in their target language, kids develop a deeper understanding of it and gain more confidence to use it as they learn.

The key to success is starting early, especially in vocabulary development (using the words you want them to use). The sooner your child learns how to write in the target language, the faster they will become more fluent in it, and the easier learning a new language will be.

The most effective way to learn any new skill is through practice and repetition. This is also true for writing; just a few minutes of daily handwriting exercises can help your child master their second language much faster than if they only relied on classroom lessons and school assignments. It can be hard at first, especially if your child is used to writing in their native language, but the more they write in their target foreign language, the better they will get at it!

Introducing your child to an unfamiliar word through writing activities will help him, or her remember what it means and how to spell it.

This is also a great way to help your child develop an interest in the language you teach them.

Why do kids need to learn multiple languages at an early age?

Learning a second language can be a difficult task, especially for adults, so why not have your child learn their first foreign language early?  Not only do parents help children to develop and grow every day (much like they did when the kids were babies), but kids also get practice with building verbal skills in a given language – something that is a precious resource for your child’s future.

Kids can learn so much when they begin to explore their world, and one of these things is how to appreciate other people who aren’t just like them.  Learning about new cultures and traditions helps kids understand the world better and become more open-minded and aware of things.  If you live in a country where two or more languages are spoken, learning these other languages will also help your child to communicate with people who speak different native tongues from one another.

Learning a language well enough at a young age can even impact your child’s mental development.  The earlier your child begins to write in their new foreign language, the faster they become fluent in it.  This will also help them learn other subjects better (such as math or history) because they learn how to apply concepts of a given subject by using more than just one way of thinking.

How learning another language has helped students succeed academically and professionally.

Being skilled in two or more languages has given individuals a clear edge in both their personal and professional lives.  Kids who can speak another language fluently have not only been found to have higher self-esteem and academic success, but they can also make more money as they enter the working world!

If your child is interested in making more money or becoming a leader in their future career, they need to know how to speak and write in another language.  Especially if they’ve grown up in a foreign country where two or more languages are spoken frequently, your child has the edge over the rest of their peers when it comes to getting ahead.

Learning to communicate in a new foreign language can improve your child’s self-esteem, ability to work independently, and even how they complete tasks.  It may be hard at first for young kids, but it will help them become more confident and willing to try other things they wouldn’t normally attempt.

Conclusion

Using these strategies will help your child master the new language faster!

Writing in their new language will help your child learn to read, write and speak in the foreign language they are trying to learn.  It can also improve memory function and attention span because of the processing that needs to be done when an individual is writing.

Learning a second language at an early age can benefit young kids with an open mind.  It doesn’t just help them develop a better ability to communicate and work with individuals in other countries. Still, it can also improve their grades in school or even help them get ahead and start making money sooner than most adults!

Author Bio
K C Raj is a career counselor and recruiter with many years of experience. Interested in topics like human development, education, immigration, inequality, and many other international issues.

Automation Keeping Educational Institutions Afloat with Least Resources

Automation Keeping Educational Institutions Afloat

The education sector has quickly appreciated automation. But, all stakeholders seem worried about the possible impact. Will automation give more time to teachers for focusing on students, or will it take away jobs? Can school ERP help trainees reach their goals?

How will students react to the rise and spread of this new form of education? Should children remain glued to computer and phone screens while learning?

Besides these, several other questions are surrounding the role of automation. But, as a part of the administration, you probably consider ROI as the most significant factor.

How much money can the school automation system save annually?

  • A study conducted at Visalia Unified School District (California) says a lot. Replacing paper with digital forms can help save $10,000 every year.
  • Roughly 80 percent of an organization’s operational budget goes towards labor costs.
  • You can save excess human resource costs with automation.
  • Automation increases the efficiency of the existing workforce.
  • Enabling technology also helps in saving compliance costs.

Here’s how education ERP is a lifeline for institutions operating with minimum resources:

1. Automation in administrative procedures

You can save resources in every department, right from admission to the examination process and even transportation. Managing things becomes more straightforward.

  • Admission process

People often think schools take an unnecessary long time frame for the enrollment process.

There are several educational academies with old-school manual procedures. Ask anyone working in the school admin team; the admission file approval takes time.

Reading forms, cross-checking documents, and confirming the trainee’s eligibility is tiresome. Automation puts an end to all this.

Information from various documents gets scanned and processed. Cloud-based servers act as storage for the extracted data.

The management can take a quick look at the records and affidavits from a remote location. The candidate’s admission application gets approved or rejected within minutes.

  • Organizing schedules

Creating a daily and weekly schedule (timetable) is a critical process. The admin team checks the availability of teachers and plans the lectures.

The individual responsible for scheduling ends up repeating the process each week. Working hours’ data for the faculty is further forwarded to the payroll team as well.

With the school management system in place, human involvement remains the least. The administrator can set a scheduling workflow. The software creates a schedule within minutes after checking the availability of lecturers. Participants get notified via the school portal and apps.

  • Tracking attendance for virtual classes and activities

Keeping accurate records for attendance is vital for every school. The task has become even more critical in the era of virtual classrooms.

Education automation systems work with learning management software and online exam solutions.

You might wonder, what about attendance for virtual classes? The process is automatic and error-free. Trainee’s presence gets registered when they complete a specific task.

  • Managing progress reports for students

The online exam module takes care of tests, assignments. But what about progress reports and results?

Teacher’s job was difficult in the early days of pen-paper-based exams. There was no option but to check a massive mountain of answer sheets. Then, lecturers had to create hand-written progress reports every quarter.

School ERP integrates with online exam modules. It retrieves scores for tests and stores the data. Progress reports are system generated within minutes, without errors.

You can even send digital progress reports to parents via email or make them available on apps.

  • Ensuring regulatory compliance

Organizations working in the education sector have to adhere to government regulations. This paperwork burden often results in strain on the already burdened workforce.

There are regulations for training, payroll processing, premise audit, and data security. Government auditors may seek information on donations and fees.

Penalties for non-compliance can result in 2.71 times the compliance cost. Thus, enabling technologies and conducting timely audits can help in ensuring compliance.

There is no need to track compliance through external databases and spreadsheets. ERP offers real-time access to information and reports. Data stored in cloud-based storage remains available for audits. With pre-programmed formats, you can generate reports immediately.

2. Speed up the communication loop

Earlier, teachers had limited mediums to communicate and send crucial information to parents. And yes, if you remember, writing notes and remarks in the school diary for parents was one of them. Students often used whiteners, and at times, teachers used to forget to follow up.

You can set modern education automation systems to send alerts to parents. There’s no need to worry about managing grades, attendance, and module completion notifications.

These features are beneficial to teachers as well. Lecturers do not have to spend hours drafting many emails and follow up on the issues. They can reinvest the saved time in training students.

Another significant aspect is that there is no delay in information relaying. Tests get evaluated, and the ERP can share results for the same with all parties without delays. Depending on security configurations, the program can also send reports for security incidents.

3. Access code-free automation

Faculties, admin staff, and school board members often lack coding skills. As grasping the process remains challenging, educational institutions prefer code-free automation.

Most of the school administration software programs do not involve codes. Basic training can be enough for staff to use the system.

Should schools and colleges wait further to digitalize operations?

Technology has already made its way into everyone’s life. Smartboards, projectors, and computers have become a part of school life. Some school counselors are using digital technology to make schools safer for students.

The pandemic forced institutions to put in place technology. Yet, teachers and administrators still lack in-depth training.

Some institutions have implemented robotic process automation (RPA) and AI-powered solutions. But, others are still yet to install a basic school administration system. The sector lags in implementing automation. Lack of expertise, knowledge and financial constraints are reasons behind the same.

Conclusion

Several organizations are hesitating to put in place education ERP. But, they may find themselves turning obsolete within a year or so.

Automation in education offers benefits to all stakeholders. The digital transformation helps institutions grow with time. Students get the best learning experience.

Lost Learning Time during the Covid Era, how worried should parents be?

Lost Education Time

It’s a strange kind of Summer this year; with so much time spent home learning in 2020/21 and no SATs and GCSEs for the second year in a row, the idea of lost learning has reared its head. This idea, mixed with the news stories about slow recovery in the education sector and the usual ‘summer slide’, it’s easy to see why parents are concerned.

The good news is, while U.S. studies find students lose one month of learning over the summer months, this is down to the fact that the US school break is 11 weeks compared to 6 weeks in the UK. And while higher losses were measured for maths, much of the data around the summer slide is inconclusive.

What is of more concern in the UK is a study from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. In this study, the amount of daily schoolwork secondary pupils completed at home during last year’s lockdown declined the longer they stayed out of the classroom.

All schools have been working on a catch-up plan, but beware, says DR Dan O’Hare, co-chair of the BPS division of educational and child psychology, of talking too much about lost education to your child. “The notion that children need to catch up or are ‘behind’ at school due to the pandemic puts them under even more pressure to perform academically after what has been a challenging and unprecedented time for everyone,” he told the PA News agency.

So as parents, what can you do? Firstly, there is a multitude of ways you can help your child this Summer without putting them under pressure.

  • Look at their yearly report, as this will show you what areas need more focus. Alongside this, compare their annual reports to see if there is a wide discrepancy. Perhaps your child needs to revise a little more or get extra help with knowledge gaps (understandable during home learning), or learn to express themselves more clearly in tests. Locate the gaps with the help of their teachers and then ask them what kind of help they would like.
  • Whether your child is struggling or not, one area most pupils tend to slide in is Maths. Solve this by going over all topics from the last year and past papers. Just twice a week during the Summer can make a difference to the Autumn term.
  • For children making the transition to secondary school in September, revising Year 6 work is vital. Many secondary schools will be using CAT exams (see below) in the autumn term, especially as there were no SATs this year. Working with a Tutor can also be helpful and allow a child to express more clearly areas they feel unsure about.
  • The Cognitive Abilities Tests (CATs) are used in most secondary schools to test general intelligence and stream in Maths and English. However, you cannot revise for these tests as they are designed to assess a pupil’s ability in three different areas: verbal (thinking with words), quantitative (thinking with numbers), and non-verbal (thinking with shapes and space). They do not test a child’s knowledge but focusing on consistent learning over the Summer will help your child feel ready.
  • Make sure your child reads through summer. News articles, fiction and non-fiction will all increase their vocabulary, literacy skills and essay writing techniques. If your child isn’t a reader or bored of reading, try and entice them into new reads or older reads. Try the Book Trust for ideas.