Tweens, Tech, and Phones on Summer Break
As your child steps out of their elementary school building for the last time in their lives, they officially become a rising middle school student. The transition to middle school might seem daunting to some children: they need to find their classes in a new building, meet all new teachers, and in some schools, walk the halls with peers the size of adults.
The summer months in between elementary and middle school are the perfect time to prepare your tween for a wonderful first year, and using certain aspects of technology can help build your child’s confidence.
Establishing Healthy Technology Habits
Summer is a great timeframe to establish healthy tech habits since your child isn’t dealing with the distractions that happen during their busy school year. Use their break to introduce new technology with clear expectations as they relate to your family’s values. This can include how they talk to others, what times are appropriate for using technology, and whether they’re allowed to join social media platforms.
If you do allow your child to join social media, discuss the risks, like lower self-esteem, cyberbullying, inappropriate content, drugs, and online predators. Also consider that most experts agree that 13-years-old is the minimum age for kids to join social media, and many platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, require users to be at least 13-years-old. This means that tweens (kids who are between the ages of 10-12) wouldn't meet these expert recommendations or rules. One of the benefits of having a device like Pinwheel is that it prohibits access to social media, making social media options entirely out of sight, and one step closer to out of mind.
Social Interaction and Friendships
When your tween goes into middle school, they’re met with a larger sense of responsibility. And with this, parents have less involvement in their school lives. But if your child has a support system of friends at school, they still get to enjoy a sense of familiarity.
Technology is a great tool to encourage your child’s social interaction and help them build stronger relationships with friends, both new and old. You can support this by encouraging them to text, call, and play with their friends. As the summer progresses, keep an eye on your child’s devices to make sure that their behavior lines up with the expectations you previously discussed. Remember that mistakes will happen, so show grace, and take the time to educate while overcoming challenges.
When the first day of middle school gets closer, remind your child that they can work with friends to tour their new school on the same date. They could also compare class notes and lunch times, ask about sports schedules and new teachers. These types of conversations might evolve to sharing their fears and excitement, and creating a bond with each other.
How to Avoid the Summer Slide
Whenever we discuss technology, we have to remember that it’s not all created equally. Apps like Prodigy will meet your child at their grade level, and send them through math equations in a gaming format. Apps like Epic Will give your child digital access to an entire library. By allowing them access to these types of programs, your children can keep last year’s studies front-of-mind, and possibly gain a leg up on their upcoming year.
With Pinwheel, you can rest assured that when your child is looking at their screen, they’re doing something positive, and making their summer a bit brighter.