Navigating the digital world

By: Vanessa Armstrong/

If you’re like me, trying to figure out how to navigate this new digital world that our kids are exposed to is one of the most challenging and stressful things about parenting kids today.  Especially as they get older and come home from school saying “Johnny so and so has an iPhone and gets to play this game all the time” or “He has an Xbox and plays Call of Duty, why can’t I?”.

My kids are 12, 9 and 5, so I hear it a lot,  My 5 year old wants to know why he can’t do the same things as older siblings or my 9 year old wants to know why his sister gets a phone and he doesn’t.  There is never going to be a perfect answer and what works for my family will not always work for someone else’s, but I did want to share something with you all that might make your digital world struggles a little bit easier.

What’s that you want to know?  Have you heard of the website Common Sense Media?  This website is really great, I discovered it about a year or two ago, a friend shared it on Facebook and every since then I’ve been using it pretty regularly.  Their website says the following…

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Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. We offer the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books, and music.  Our Parent Concerns and Parent Blog help families understand and navigate the problems and possibilities of raising children in the digital age.

What I love about it is when one of the kids comes home and they heard about an app or a website that they want to download or visit, I can just go over to Common Sense Media and plug it into the search bar.  Maybe it’s not even something they’re interested in, maybe it’s a movie from your childhood that you remember LOVING and want to share with your kids, but you aren’t sure (remember 80’s Movie Ratings aren’t the same as they are now).  I can tell you a story about thinking how much my daughter would love to watch Grease, so we sit down and get ready for a girls only movie night and I quickly realize this is not as appropriate as I thought it was for my then 9 year old daughter.  I wish I’d known about it back then!

Or what about all the different social media apps, this is the perfect way to get more information on how they work and if you think your child is responsible enough to use them.

I love how the website (there is also an app) will breakdown movies into “What parents need to know” “What Families Can Talk About” and breaks down if there is language, violence, drugs. or even a positive message.

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I honestly can’t say enough good things about Common Sense Media.  Hopefully this will help you navigate this digital world we live in a little more comfortably.


 

Vanessa Armstrong is one of our Parent Liaison for Lenawee Great Start. Before joining Lenawee Great Start, Vanessa worked as a photographer and served in the United States Air Force of 10 years. She is a Florida native who has been living in Tecumseh with her husband Sean and their 3 children, Keira, Cooper and Harper since 2010.

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