back to school

kids & tech­nol­ogy

Westcoast Families - - Front Page - by Ka­rina Alib­hai Go to www.west­coast­fam­i­ to see our fea­ture ar­ti­cle on kids and tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing safety and quotes from kids.

septem­ber 2013

kids & tech­nol­ogy | back to school fash­ion

ten years ago see­ing a kid with a cell phone was the sign of a spoiled kid, but th­ese days it is more com­mon for par­ents to want to be able to com­mu­ni­cate with their kids at a younger age. Tech­nol­ogy is ad­vanc­ing rapidly and this means that there are new gad­gets for your child to use and to play with ev­ery­day. So how do you keep up with the new ever-chang­ing tech­no­log­i­cal world that your chil­dren live in? Well, just send them a text, or check out the new gad­gets and pop­u­lar apps be­low.


Fisher-Price iXL Learn­ing Sys­tem This por­ta­ble tablet is a learn­ing and en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem that in­cludes pop­u­lar apps geared to­wards chil­dren such as “Story Book”, “Game Player”, “Note Book” and “Art Stu­dio”. The de­vice is com­pat­i­ble with both PCs and Macs and al­lows the user to upload pic­tures and mu­sic. This is a great de­vice to in­tro­duce kids to tech­nol­ogy as it em­braces the idea that tech­nol­ogy can be both fun and ed­u­ca­tional. Fisher-Price Kid Tough Dig­i­tal Cam­era The Kid Tough cam­eras and video­cams al­low tod­dlers to take pic­tures and video from their point of view. The cam­eras in­clude two eye view­ing por­tals and are as kid proof as a cam­era can be. The cam­era has hand grips, large but­tons and a 1.4” color screen mak­ing it easy for kids to use. And it’s also easy for par­ents to use, as the USB port al­lows im­ages to eas­ily be trans­ferred to both Mac’s and PC’s.


Wii Be­lieve it or not, the Nin­tendo Wii is still in. Sim­i­lar to how you may re­mem­ber the clas­sic Nin­tendo as be­ing the best video game de­vice, the Wii is one of the best video game con­soles on the mar­ket to­day. And what makes it dif­fer­ent from nor­mal video games is that most Wii games re­quire kids to be ac­tive. The Wii is in­tended for all ages so it is a great de­vice for the whole fam­ily. iPad mini Why did Ap­ple make the iPad mini? Well, for the mini hands that use it of course! The iPad mini could not be more geared to­wards kids. It is the per­fect size for them and has ev­ery­thing they would want. It’s a cam­era, a tablet, a mu­sic player, an e-reader, but most of all it is a gam­ing de­vice. There are also a va­ri­ety of ed­u­ca­tional apps that are avail­able from the App Store.


iPad Once kids have reached about 10 years old they have en­tered the pre­teen stage, and this means they have out­grown their ear­lier gad­gets. Ap­ple pro­vides a per­fect so­lu­tion for kids this age—the iPad! The iPad is right be­tween the iPad mini and a lap­top, and as your kids get older they will want more of a lap­top like tablet than a small gam­ing de­vice. There are iPad key­boards and if your child wants to use the iPad as a lap­top buy­ing a key­board is a great in­vest­ment. Smart­phone The age at which one gets a phone has been de­creas­ing since the cre­ation of the smart­phone. The aver­age age for a child to get a phone to­day is around 10. And th­ese phones are typ­i­cally smart­phones. The most pop­u­lar smart­phones to­day are iPhones, the HTC One, LG Op­ti­mus, Samsung Galaxy, and the Mo­torola Droid RAZR. While the iPhone and Black­berry Q10 are still pop­u­lar, it seems that An­droids are the new thing.


In­sta­gram This on­line photo-shar­ing, video-shar­ing and so­cial net­work­ing app has be­come very pop­u­lar with pre­teens and teens in the last year. Now in­stead of read­ing what your friend is up to via Twit­ter, In­sta­gram al­lows you to see what he or she is do­ing in­stantly. Many com­pa­nies and celebri­ties have In­sta­gram too and many kids en­joy fol­low­ing them. If this is the first so­cial net­work­ing site your child is us­ing, I rec­om­mend that you keep his or her pro­file pri­vate so that only cer­tain peo­ple can ac­cess their pho­tos. Vine Sim­i­lar to In­sta­gram, Vine al­lows users to cre­ate and upload videos. The videos are only al­lowed to be six sec­onds in length, but teens can do some pretty crazy and funny stuff in 6 sec­onds. Vine al­lows th­ese clips or vines to be uploaded to other so­cial net­work­ing de­vices such as Face­book or Twit­ter. Snapchat This is prob­a­bly the most ba­sic app that your teen has on their smart­phone. The pur­pose of Snapchat is to send pic­tures or videos back and forth to friends, but th­ese snaps are only vis­i­ble to the other per­son for a set amount of sec­onds. Send­ing pic­tures back and forth may seem a lit­tle bor­ing, but it is a lot of fun and can be ad­dict­ing.

Ka­rina Alib­hai is our new teen cor­re­spon­dent, giv­ing both par­ents and fel­low teens her unique in­sights on the is­sues and con­cerns con­fronting to­day’s teenager. We’re very happy to have her per­spec­tives in West­Coast Fam­i­lies in hard copy and also on­line! Feel free to con­tact her with ques­tions through this mag­a­zine, and read her ex­cel­lent blog, BTW, which can be found at

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