This is a sponsored post for Learnmeter by Next parent, however all views are my own.
We know that playing and working online is now a huge part of any child’s life and this isn’t about to change. We also know that the amount of time spent online and the type of games and content kids are accessing is a big concern for parents. And of course it should be. With many schools taking up BYOD programs as early as first year primary school, kids as young as 6 are spending large amounts of time online and thus have a ready made ‘excuse’ for the need to be ‘playing’ in the online world.
When kids are young it is easier for us to monitor the content they are accessing and the time they spend playing online. We can set them up near us in a central room, we can log them in to age appropriate games and websites and we can set limits around the playing time.
As they get older however, as devices becomes more portable and the lines between ‘doing homework’ and ‘playing games and watching youtube videos’ becomes blurred, it is more difficult for parents to monitor the amount of time their kids spend working as opposed to playing. Now I certainly agree that much learning can be done from watching some youtube videos and playing some games, but we know that there is also many a wasted hour watching videos and playing games that have little educational benefit. That’s ok for some of the time, but as parents we want to know that they are getting the very best out of the technology. There are some enormous benefits to our kids learning online and some fabulous resources to make learning more enjoyable.
Learnmeter is a brand new tool from Next Parent that gives parents access to what their kids are doing online and allows them to monitor the time spent ‘playing’ as opposed to the time spent ‘working’. It works by running unobtrusively in the background of your computer or device to monitor the sites, games, social media and amount of time a device is in use. Parents can view reports daily, weekly or monthly in order to gain real time access to their kids online activities. Best of all, it’s free!
Whilst I believe communication and ongoing conversation with your kids is one of the most effective ways to keep them safe, we all know that the lure of games and other distractions online can sometimes result in productive work and learning being overtaken by the black hole of online time wasting. Devices such as this should certainly not be relied on as your only tool to ensure your kids are using the technology appropriately, but they can certainly help monitor what is going on, in order to put in place boundaries, to initiate discussion and to encourage getting the very best that the technology has to offer your child’s learning and education.
The learnmeter is available free to download on PC and soon to be released on Mac, IOS and Android. Check out the website for more details and give it a try. I’d love to know if you discover any surprises!
Could your family or yourself for that matter, benefit from daily reporting of your internet use?