Category: Online Safety for Kids

Using Technology To Gamify Fitness for Your Kids

Using Technology To Gamify Fitness for Your Kids

Some kids are naturally active. They play outside, do sports, and even exercise with you. Then, there are the kids that absolutely despise physical activity. They prefer hobbies that don’t involve exercise, like art, writing, and acting.

But whether your children fall into the first group, the second, or somewhere in between, it’s important to support them in having a healthy, active lifestyle.

Gamifying their fitness routine can encourage physical activity in your kids, whether they love to exercise or hate it. Here’s why.

Why Gamifying Fitness Works for Kids

Gamification is the practice of turning an activity or task into a game or something resembling one. When you add gamelike elements to a sometimes daunting task like exercise, it becomes much more fun and desirable. It’s also easier to complete, which keeps your kids motivated and uplifted.

You can show your children that physical activity doesn’t have to be boring or, worse, so physically and mentally taxing that they never want to do it again. Instead, they can make exercise an enjoyable activity that keeps them fit and challenged.

A Significant Drawback to Gamification

As beneficial as gamifying fitness can be for your kids, there’s a significant drawback to consider. Gamifying fitness can include fun games like obstacle courses, nature walks, and tag. But for this article, we’re talking about gamifying fitness with technology. And that, unfortunately, means more screen time.

Whether your kids are playing a fitness game on their Xbox, following along with a fun workout on their smartphones, or doing some interactive games on their smartwatches, they’re staring at a screen to do it.

Increased screen time for kids can result in a shorter attention span, irritability, neck/shoulder pain, and behavioral issues. It also leads to longer exposure to harmful blue light.

Blue light glasses and filters can help ease the negative effects on your kids’ eyes when they’re engaging with screens. However, it’s best to limit your kids’ screen time. Gamified fitness routines may mean more screens, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a time limit on how long they participate.

Four Tips for Gamifying the Fitness Experience for Your Kids

Aside from paying attention to screen time, do the following to ensure the gamified fitness experience for your kids is the healthiest and most enjoyable it can be.

Talk Exercise and Fitness Goals With Your Children

It’s incredibly important to talk about exercise and fitness goals with your children. Part of the reason they aren’t excited about physical activities is they don’t have a positive outlook on fitness or any goals to strive for.

Sit down with your kids and discuss getting them to be more physically active. Talk about why fitness is important to their holistic health. See what they say about exercise and listen to why they are or aren’t excited about it.

You may find out they’re struggling with fitness because physical activity is difficult for them in their current state. Or, it just hasn’t been a fun thing for them to do. That’s when you can bring up gamifying fitness.

Once they’re on board with creating a more consistent fitness routine, set some goals. Have your kids write down what they want to achieve as they add more exercise to their lives.

It’s also important to find out your kids’ level of interest in gaming.

Find Out Your Kids’ Level of Interest in Gaming

Gamifying fitness will work a lot better for your kids if they have an actual interest in gaming.

Find out how into gaming your kids are by asking things like:

  • Which consoles are they fond of?
  • What kind of video and computer games do they play?
  • Why do they play them?

Note their answers to these and other questions that give you an idea of their gaming interests.  Really digging into your kids’ gaming interests will give you a blueprint for how to best personalize the gamified fitness experience for them.

Explore Wearables

We’ll get into games and consoles that are good for gamifying fitness for your kids in the next section. But don’t forget to tap into the power of wearables. Wearables are electronic devices that people wear comfortably on their bodies.

Some of the most common wearable devices are:

  • Fitness trackers;
  • Biosensors;
  • Smart health watches;
  • Blood pressure monitors;
  • ECG monitors.

Wearables can positively impact anyone’s fitness journey, children included, as they make it easy to proactively monitor one’s health. You can also watch fitness videos and participate in games that encourage physical activity from these devices.

The Fitbit Ace 3, Garmin Vivofit Jr. 2, Apple Watch SE, and these other watches and trackers are some of the best on the market right now for kids. Many of the trackers and watches made specifically for kids already include gamified fitness features on them.

Do more research on the wearable tech options out there for kids. If you can take your kids to a physical store that sells them so they can try them out before making a purchase, even better.

Choose the Best Games and Consoles

To truly use technology to gamify fitness for kids, you must make good game and console choices. In other words, choose games and consoles that encourage physical activity.

Here are some console choices to get you started:

  • Nintendo Switch;
  • Xbox Kinect/Xbox One;
  • Nintendo Wii Sports;
  • Quell fitness gaming console;
  • VR headset and accessories.

Depending on the gaming consoles you have, put these games on your list:

  • Wii Fit Plus;
  • BOXVR;
  • Dance Party;
  • Ring Fit Adventure;
  • Pokemon Go;
  • Zumba Fitness: World Party.

There are many more games and consoles to choose from. Explore them with your children and don’t be afraid to experiment.


Getting your kids to be more physically active can be tough at times. But with the help of gamification, you can spark their interest and keep them motivated to consistently pursue a more active lifestyle.

About the Author
About the AuthorKatie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in education, mental health, family lifestyle and online safety. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. You can follow her on Twitter.

10 Apps and Sites Parents Should Add to Child’s Block List

10 Apps and Sites All Parents Should Add to Child's Block List

The virtual world is a constant source of dangers and challenges, especially if the users are children. Therefore, parents should always be aware of their actions and take the proper measurements to protect them.  Blocking harmful social media apps is one of key ways to prevent kids from engaging online in an unsafe manner.

Without using third party parental controls, there are ways to engage blocking for both apps and websites.  However, these types of restrictions can be reset by your kids. Therefore, you’ll need to have a level of trust between you and your child. You can always check their phone from time to time to ensure blocking is still in place.

This article does not provide instructions on how to create block lists on a phone or tablet.  Google “how to block apps” for iPhone or Andriods to get instructions within each of the phones settings.  In the meantime, here are the top sites that are considered dangerous to be used by children:

1.   TikTok

While TikTok is a fun site to spend time and interact with people, there are certainly some dangers associated with this app, which include:

  • Inappropriate Content:  As an open platform, anyone can post all kinds of content on TikTok, including adult themes, violence, or other indecent content.
  • Cyberbullying:  Users interact with each other constantly, which can often lead to cyberbullying.
  • Privacy Concerns: TikTok collects personal information from its users, which can be used for advertising or shared with third-party advertisers.
  • Addiction: TikTok is designed to be addictive, and children spend hours scrolling through videos without even realizing how much time has passed. This interferes with their schoolwork and overall well-being.
  • Online Strangers: Children may be drawn into inappropriate conversations or take up with someone who is not who they claim to be.

2.   Twitter

While there are some great advantages to using Twitter, including staying up-to-date on the news and connecting with people, there are also some serious risks that parents need to be aware of. Inappropriate or unwanted content on Twitter can take many forms, including exposure to adult content and cyberbullying.

3.   Omegle

Though Omegle can be fun, it is one of the most dangerous online apps for children. And unfortunately, it is being marketed on TikTok every day. The risks that come with it include predators, cyberbullies, and scammers. Parents should pay special attention to their children to protect their safey and security.

4.   Roblox

Roblox isn’t just a game–it’s a massive online platform with millions of users. And like any large social media platform, it has its risks. But by being aware of the dangers and taking some proactive steps, you can help keep your child safe while they enjoy all that Roblox offers.

5. is a somewhat unknown social media site to parents.  It allows users to ask and answer questions anonymously. Even though interacting with others can be fun and engaging, it also poses risks to children. Anonymity can make it easier for bullies to target others without fear of consequences. Users can receive hurtful comments and messages, and in some cases, cyberbullying has even led to suicide.

6.   Toomics

Toomics is a webtoon platform with many online comics and graphic novels. While it can be an enjoyable and engaging platform for readers, some of the comics on the site feature explicit material and depictions of violence. In some cases, the content may be illegal or inappropriate for minors.

To prevent these risks, parents should monitor their children’s use of Toomics and have open conversations about online safety.

7.   Reddit

Reddit is a great platform to share information and build a community, yet it is another not-too-safe app for children. One of the primary risks associated with it is exposure to adult content. Some subreddits contain explicit material which users of any age can easily access. This content can include pornography, graphic images, and discussions of sexually explicit topics.

Reddit allows for anonymous posting, allowing users to engage in bullying without fear of reprisal. This can include hurtful comments, trolling, and other negative behavior.

8.   Snapchat

Snapchat is known for its disappearing messages and photos, which can lead children to believe that their actions will not have consequences. They can share inappropriate content with their friends.

The temporary nature of Snapchat’s messages can make it easier for predators to approach children. They may use the app to send inappropriate messages or images and quickly delete them to avoid detection. Children are more likely to accept friend requests from strangers on Snapchat, which can put them at risk.

Snapchat has a feature called Snap Map, which allows users to see the location of their friends on a map. This is dangerous for children, as it can reveal their whereabouts to potentially dangerous individuals.

9.   Discord

Discord allows users to communicate through voice, text, and video chat. While it’s useful for gamers and others who want to connect with like-minded individuals, it has the potential for cyberbullying. Discord has chat rooms and servers that anyone can create and moderate, making it easier for users to engage in bullying.

Another risk of Discord is exposure to explicit content. Although Discord has rules against explicit content, it’s still possible for users to share inappropriate images or videos.

10.  YouTube

While YouTube is a useful and engaging platform for users of all ages, it poses several dangers for children.

Using YouTube is an exposure to inappropriate content. Although YouTube has content filters and age restrictions in place, it’s still possible for children to stumble upon videos that contain explicit material or depictions of violence. This includes content that is not appropriate for their age, such as horror movies, sexual content and depictions of dangerous or harmful behavior.

YouTube comment sections can be a breeding ground for negative behavior, with users leaving hurtful comments or engaging in trolling. Children can be particularly vulnerable to these kinds of attacks and may be unable to handle them.


Parents know how important it is to protect their children from online danger. From cyberbullying platforms to explicit content, the 10 sites featured in this blog post are essential additions to any child’s block list. Parents can protect their children against tremendous danger and damage scrolling in the virtual world by doing so.

Author’s Bio:  With years of experience in the cyber security industry, Sophia has devoted a part of her time to writing articles that educate parents about the importance of their children’s online safety. Children of all ages, especially those in elementary and high schools, are constantly exposed to new technologies. Through her writings, she aspires to make a positive impact on their lives by helping parents identify and avoid potential dangers.

The Difficult Conversation About Online Safety for Kids

Talking to Kids about Online Safety

There are a lot of conversations that parents should have with their kids that are difficult. Unfortunately, topics of a sensitive nature dissuade many parents from bringing them up. For one, they don’t want to inform their kids of something they might not yet know about. Things that existing online that would be harmful to their psyche.

Still, you also don’t want your kids stubmbling upon something harmful by accident will searching Google or clicking other links found on seemingly innocent websites. Since kids use our website for filtering the internet, we will explore this subject with sensitivity as we present the problem and various solutions with downloadable resources.

Protecting Kids from Explicit Content Online

It’s no secret that there is explicit material online that’s available to anyone with any device that has access to the internet. At some point in the growth of your child, they will learn about them at school, even if they have not yet explored the internet for them. We’ll discuss steps as to the best age to have a conversation with kids about these things and what to do in the meantime.

It would be ideal if all explicit material was at least behind a pay wall. This means a credit card is required to access it, and not a free for all that is currently is.

Cable companies have long provided this adult material to subscribers. However, parents can easily set up parental controls on their cable box to access even the simple preview images of the material.  Beyond that, payment is required and any purchase would show up on your bill. Therefore, access has a high threshold for kids.

The internet is far from that model, although some countries have tried some form of retricting harmful parts of the internet unavailable to under aged web users.  The bottom line is this.  Societies are reluctant to move forward for a variety of reasons that we will not explore here. In a nutshell, they are issues of censorship and the will to make it happen.  That’s another conversation.

As mentioned, most children learn about this explicit content from friends or on the school playground before parents address the problem. The age this happens varies and a lot of where it goes from that point forward has to do with how much a parent is paying attention. There may be an assumption that “my child wouldn’t know about that”.

Simple Steps Parents Can Make to Protect Their Kids Online

So, what is the solution? Firstly, there are things that a parent can do even before they discuss it with there family members.  Precautions should be taken at an early age so that at very least, kids don’t accidentally stumble upon mature content online.

Use Common Sense

These steps include common sense restrictions of where your child uses their device to access the internet. It is in the family room or in the privacy of their bedroom?  Do they have access to the internet while at school on a personal device via cell service? Does the school have internet filtering when kids are connected to the school’s WiFi connection? Without any external monitoring software, you can at least keep an eye on things.

Get to Know the Parents of your Child’s Friends

This is conversation that should take place with other parents.  What are their household rules for internet use if your child is going to be visiting their friend’s home.

Free Safe Search Options

Have your kids use Safe Search Kids as their main search engine. It delivers Google results with strict filtering.

An Agreement of Trust between Parent and Child

The Difficult Conversation About Online Safety for Kids

Regardless of how deep you go without child about the “bad things” of the internet, kids can understand rules of engagement around the use of their devices.   Just as you want to protect them when they do play in the park, a child can agree that you want to protect them online. This includes how much time they spend playing games.

Filtering the Internet

General tips are well and good, but ultimately third party parental control filtering and monitoring is needed to provide the ultimate in peace of mind.  At the very least it notifies you when a child has breached a barrier. This is ideal when kids are older and you have set up an agreement of trust without fully blocking them even questionable material online.  Of course, when kids are young parental controls allow you to but strict filtering in place. This can include limiting access to the internet to specific times and restricting more risky social media apps.

Having the Difficult Conversation

When parents feel it’s time to discuss the dangers of the internet, the terminology used will depend on the age of the child. However, the fact that there is material you don’t want your kids to see demands some kind of acknowledgment and expression to your children about how you are concerned. In the meantime, basic steps, regular conversations and external filtering options can set every family up for success, whether they are at home, at school, or out playing with friends.

Below are some resources to assist parents, as well as online tools that can help begin the conversation and make it less uncomforable for children of all ages.


Searching the Web SafelySafe Search Kids is devoted to safer internet search for children and teens. We also provide articles and educational resources for parents and teachers.  Children can freely search Google without a parent’s fearing their child stumbling upon an explicit website. The worst of the internet is vehemently blocked and even mildly questionable content is filtered.

Additional search filtering is provided for images, wiki for kids, images, and videos. While our website is a free resource that at a mimimum helps protect the search function of the internet, we believe that parental controls are the best defence to protect kids online.

4 Things to Know About Screen Time for Children with SPD

Things to Know About Screen Time for Children with SPD

Everyone with access to a screen in the modern era, whether a phone, tablet or gaming computer, needs help pulling away from their compelling content. Obsessive tendencies could make anyone’s reaction time or sensory awareness compromised.

However, sometimes in children, sensory processing disorder (SPD) explains more than an overreliance on technology for distractions. Understand the relationship between screen time and SPD, knowing how the signals illuminate a child’s development.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

SPD explains when the brain registers senses differently than others. Sometimes it is challenging to diagnose as it is a side effect of another condition or a child may need behavioral analysis.

Processing the five senses — sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch — could be difficult, delayed or cause sensitivities. However, SPD also affects other sensory abilities, including:

  • Proprioception: Understanding the relationship between movement and location.
  • Interoception: Perceiving internal occurrences in the body.
  • Vestibular: Sensing balance and maintaining stable mobility.

When a child’s senses are affected by SPD, or its variants, such as sensory-based motor disorder (SBMD), it can alter their development. When encountering modern sensory influences like screens, it’s evident how the relationship between the two phenomena could impact mental, physical and emotional growth.

1. Screens Shouldn’t Be the Default Distraction

Guardians should find alternative ways to distract or cure children from distress. Not only do the rapid movements of cartoons or social media engagement confuse how their brains process visual stimuli, but it also exposes them to excess blue light, halting melatonin production needed for restful, healing sleep.

Human brains, especially for developing children, still need to adapt to match the influx of information coming through screens — and adult humans still haven’t perfected the art of processing information at the speed screens pressure our minds to.

Studies explain how screens cause developmental issues in young children, specifically those under two. Though many parents find screens an easy solution for a screaming child, this seemingly harmless phone passing could have long-term consequences, especially for children who already experience alternative sensory processing.

The system processing sensory input and mood analysis — the vestibular system — is inactive in front of screens, making them unable to practice controlling and responding to emotional changes.

2. Not All Skills Are Equal

Parents may be impressed by their child’s fine motor skills playing video games on a tablet or the ability to ingest information from YouTube videos. Though these skills may be helpful for a modern learning environment, excess exposure to these mediums inhibits potential learning in other soft skills, such as emotional awareness or relationship building.

Parents must not get distracted by the proficiency their children with SPD have in screen-related skills so much they forget how essential it is to peel them away to practice other talents. Parents can have pride, but they must remember how their sensory perceptions may not be able to adapt equally to skills outside of screens, like collaborative social interactions or anger management.

Handing children with SPD screens could immediately test their sensory capabilities in a discomforting way, causing sensory overload or chemical imbalances preventing further growth. No matter how much fun the child has or how focused they seem, sometimes the adverse effects aren’t immediately apparent.

Their minds are working on overdrive to keep up, and though this seems like a welcome test in maintaining attention, it tires most minds past capacity to where taking the screen away causes temperament issues.

3. Instigating Conversations Cause Self-Awareness

Children with SPD can adapt as long as parents set expectations early. Consider setting screen limits or creating habits to actively discuss how the child feels after extended time with screens. Parents could make a healthy, intentional routine of practicing self-reflection by asking their children with SPD after each screen session:

  • How did you feel before using this technology, and how do you feel now?
  • Did you learn anything while using the screen, and are there ways you could’ve learned this lesson without the screen?
  • What drew you to the screen in the first place? Was it an emotion like boredom or frustration that could’ve been mitigated with another activity?
  • What sights and sounds did you notice, and how did they make you feel?

Prompting questions like these will not openly vilify screen time — because sometimes it does have merit, especially for learning. However, it will force children with SPD to analyze their senses and feelings more actively.

4. Physical Side Effects Happen Alongside the Emotional

Screens inhibit emotional and sensory processing in the vestibular system. However, it’s vital to prevent other forms of stunted development. For children who may already struggle with developmental problems, adding physical conditions to the mix will only exacerbate sensory development.

One of the most common side effects of extended screen time is hunched backs and strained necks. The body shouldn’t be in these positions for long, and it causes insufficient self-regulation, among other ailments:

  • Poor posture and back health
  • Neck issues, like reduced neck extension
  • Fewer chances for proprioception, causing stiff joints and less nervous system stimulation
  • Sight deficiencies like depth perception problems or nearsightedness
  • Reduced sleep quality

Developing Healthy Relationships With Screens

Everyone will feel the effects of prolonged screen exposure. However, children with SPD must pay special attention to how they interact and think after spending time with them. Parents can monitor their children and how they use screens.

However, technology is an inevitability humans need to learn to live alongside for a sustainable future. Instilling healthy habits and meaningful self-reflection will help children with alternative sensory development experiences evolve safely without an over-reliance on technology.

About the Author
Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you’ll find her in a yoga class, advocating for her children or whipping up something delicious in the kitchen!

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