Is Social Media Safe for Kids?

Social Media and Kids

My 11 year old daughter came up to me the other day, asking to have an Instagram account. She said “all” her friends had one. While I didn’t believe that, I told her I’d look into the policies and see how safe it was for kids. After a few more times of PLEASE Mom, I finally looked it up and discovered that #1 on Instagram’s terms of use states that “You must be at least 13 years old to use the Service.” I showed her that rule and then had to stand my Mom Ground and tell her no, not yet. Despite her pleadings and “you are the strictest mom around”, I’m not going to cave in. She knows that and finally gave up after one round of “pretty please.”

I thought I’d better stem off the wave of questions sure to come about the other social media sites and find out the minimum age for them as well and what the recommendations are for kids using social media. Sure enough, all the social media apps and websites have a minimum age requirement of 13 years old–Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and various others. Also, between 13-17 years old is supposed to be with parent’s permission.

social-media-age-restrictions

Why does it matter if my child isn’t 13 yet? Is it just about the companies not wanting to break the law regarding collecting information about children online? Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act That’s likely the primary reason for their policies, but there’s some other compelling reasons that it’s a good idea to have kids wait until they are a little older and more mature to be a part of social media culture.

1. Kids younger than teens haven’t finished their cognitive development yet. It’s at around age 12 that they begin to develop abstract reasoning skills and can begin thinking more logically. They get better at seeing another person’s point of view, understanding consequences for their actions, and can empathize more fully with others feelings. They have a better understanding of the world around them and what’s appropriate to share and are more aware of the potential dangers online. Kids aren’t fully capable of reasoning as an adult until about age 15 and brain development continues until late adolescence or early adulthood (for boys). childdevelopmentinfo.com

2. Even seemingly harmless apps like Instagram have social networking. Before I looked into it, I thought Instagram was just about taking and sharing photos with friends. However, kids can post status updates and share personal information like any other social network. They can follow and be followed by hundreds of people they don’t know. The default setting shares photos with anyone, so unless you change this setting, your profile and photos are public. There is Geo-location available that can tell other users where your photo was taken. Yoursphere.com reports, “While there are tools for reporting/blocking users and inappropriate content, know that people will, and do upload nude photos. In fact, the editorial team found a multitude of bestiality photos in less than one minute when searching for friends. It’s a sad fact, and another commonsense reason that you shouldn’t allow your children to use Instagram.”

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Disneyland Resort With a Wheelchair

Navigating Disneyland Resort with a Wheelchair

Last April we visited Disneyland Resort with a wheelchair for the first time. My daughter had a serious long-term illness and wasn’t able to walk for long periods of time. We were worried that because we were going to be at Disneyland during spring break, we would have a hard time riding very many rides, especially with the disability assistance policy changes. However, we found that we were able to ride everything we wanted to with a little smart planning.

Tips for Navigating Disneyland with a Wheelchair

1. Ride the popular attractions first thing in the day. The number one key to beating the crowds is to arrive at least 30 minutes before opening so you have plenty of time to get through security, then get in line (look for a short line in the middle), to be through the gates at opening time.

2. If you have a wheelchair or ECV, you don’t need to get Disneyland Disability Access Service (DAS) unless you have other special needs. The cast member will see the wheelchair and accommodate you based on that alone. Many of the attractions lines can accommodate wheelchairs so you will be expected to get in those lines with the wheelchair. Some cannot fit an ECV but have a wheelchair for you to use in line. A lot of rides have alternate handicap entrances. See below for a list of rides and what types of handicap entrances they have.

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How to Stop Back Talk and Whining

How to Stop Backtalk and Whining

Are you at your wits end with your kids whining, back talk, and arguing? There’s only so many times you can say “No! Stop that!” before you feel like a broken record. Here’s some ideas on how to get the behavior you want from your kids and a behavior chart to help keep the repetitive “no’s” at a minimum.

1. Nip whining at the bud. Acknowledge your child. Many times they just want one-on-one attention. Stop what you are doing, give eye contact and listen. If that doesn’t work, use “I” statements: “I don’t like it when you use that voice.” “I can’t understand you when you speak to me that way.” “If you want to play outside, try asking me like this . . . ” Model good behavior.

2. Understand what’s behind the back talk. First, it helps to understand that kids back talk may escalate during stages where they are learning to exert their independence. 7-10 year olds especially like things to be fair and if they feel that something isn’t fair, they will be quick to defend themselves. Dr. Sears says that as long as it’s not a bickering match and is respectful, parents should be open to their child’s defense and listen. (i.e. if they are accused of dawdling when they had to run inside to grab something they forgot). Apologize if you jumped the gun and realize you made a mistake in getting upset.

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Buying Baby Clothes on a Budget

Buying baby clothes on a budget

Gotta love how fast babies grow. It’s so fun to see the changes as the months go by, but it’s not so fun on the budget to have to keep buying new clothes. I’ve been able to get a whole season’s wardrobe for under $50 by shopping smart. These tips will help you save money so you can worry less about what you’re spending and enjoy those fun milestones when another set of clothes is outgrown.

1. Childrensplace.com clearance saves a bundle. I just stocked up on a few shirts and shorts for my 3 year old for next summer for $2-3 apiece. End of season clearance is a great way to save a ton of money. These clearance sales usually happen in the middle of the season. (Summer clearance tends to happen in July, winter clearance in February). Sign-up for their emails so you can find out when their free shipping days are (no minimum order), as well as their monster sales or clearance deals. Combine that with the 20-25% off coupons that are always floating around (google it for the latest codes) and “Place Cash” (earn $10 for every $20 spent when the promotion is on) and you could be spending $1-2 per item.

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The Ultimate Guide to Enjoy Disneyland with a Baby

Disneyland with a baby or toddler can be overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be! Find tips on line strategy, quiet places to rest, how to use rider swap and fast passes, and baby care centers.

Disneyland is a lot of fun with a baby or toddler. Seeing their eyes light up when they see the castle, ride Dumbo or Peter Pan, or take the train around the park is such a memorable experience. Over the past 16 years, I’ve been to Disneyland with a baby or toddler nearly a dozen times. Our most recent visit was just four months ago. I’ve taken babies as young as 3 months old. These tips will help you prepare so that you can maximize your happy memories and minimize the melt downs.

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