Suren's blog

Educated Parents & Successful Kids

There is no question that parents are the first role models for kids. But a recent study makes a claim that a father’s level of education is the strongest factor determining a child’s future success at school. The report from the Office for National Statistics in the UK claims that children are seven and a half times less likely to be successful at school if their father had a low level of education, and three times less likely to have a low educational outcome if their mother did so.

Student reading and writing

Previous studies have indicated such a link between parent-child education levels, but the latest study shows a marked impact of a father's attainment level on the child's education. “This report shows just how important education is in breaking that cycle of poverty across generations and ensuring that poor educational achievement is not transmitted from parent to child,” says Conor Ryan, Director of Research at the Sutton Trust, a think tank that addresses educational inequality. Learn more.

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The Screen Time Paradox

One of the many challenges faced by the digital parent today is the question of how much screen time is good, or not good, for our kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics says the average kid spends 7 hours a day across television, computers, tablets and smartphones.  It also recommends that parents should try to limit screen time to 2 hours a day at most. Critics of such one-size-fits-all studies argue that not all screen time is the same.

Kid with the iPad screen

"The idea of telling my kid he can only have one to two hours of computer time a day makes me laugh. Seriously?" argues Dresden Shumaker, a writer and parent who makes some valid counterpoints. "When it comes to screens, time isn’t what needs to be monitored. What needs monitoring is content and how involved we are."

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Keeping Up With Tech-Savvy Kids

The younger generation has always been a step ahead in adapting to new technologies and platforms. Modern smartphones and tablets have allowed them to evolve into true 'digital natives' as opposed to their parents' generation of 'digital immigrants'. This generation gap has created a challenge for parents today in keeping up with their tech-savvy kids, if not staying one step ahead. 

iPad Parent & Child

A former teacher, now EdTech consultant, Patricia Brown suggests:

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There is an App for That? Tips from a Math Teacher

Schools are embracing digital technologies like never before. However, many parents have a mistaken notion that the tablet or laptop replaces the previously used physical medium, like the textbook or notebook. Some others acknowledge that it is a good consumption device, where students can review content posted by the teacher or school. All it takes to flip the switch is one look at a teacher using technology for learning in a simple and intuitive manner. 

Geoboard screenshot

Monica Burns, a former elementary school teacher in a 1:1 classroom, usesGeoboard - a virtual manipulative app - to reinforce math concepts and promote higher order thinking skills.

"Geoboard is an app that is all about the activity you choose to do with it, as opposed to leading students in a particular direction." See full article here.

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How to Protect Your Kids' Privacy at School

As schools are increasingly going digital, parents should be asking some important questions about what apps their kids are using at school, what data is being collected, and how the information collected is being used. If the whole issue of privacy is new and the phrase 'personally identifiable information' doesn't mean anything to you, it is time to get started and educate yourself!

Students using technology in the classroom

Dan Tynan, Yahoo's Tech Columnist, recommends the following checklist for parents:
  • Do your own research
  • Ask teachers about websites used in class
  • Ask administrators about the school's use of data
  • Monitor your school's web and social media sites
  • Read every educational app's privacy policy
  • Minimize your data entry
  • Opt-out early and often
  • Make your voice heard
To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
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Getting Ready for Back to School!

Most K-12 schools are back in session (in the US) over the next few weeks. It is time to prepare to get back into the routine and get things in order. One thing to check on is your kids' devices to make sure they are setup with age-appropriate restrictions and parental controls. Done already? Ok. Here are some more resources to help you de-stress and stay in control over the next few days.

Back to school

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
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Expired Subscription? Here's How to Renew it!

If your subscription is about to expire or has expired already, you must have received an email notification. To renew your subscription, follow the steps below.

  • Login at mobicip.com.
  • If your subscription has expired already, you will see a notification like this.

Upgrade Notice

  • Click the 'Upgrade Now' link to purchase a new subscription.
  • If you do not see any notification, select Devices from the menu.

Devices menu

  • You will see a list of devices with associated subscription expiry or renewal dates.
  • Click Upgrade Now or Renew Now and follow the prompts to re-activate your subscription.

Renew Button

Note: Subscriptions purchased will be applied to devices using your account. If you need any devices to be removed, or subscriptions moved around, please contact support with your request.

Internet Safety Among Top 10 Kids' Health Concerns

Every parent has concerns about their children's health and safety, but sometimes it helps to know that you are not alone. The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital publishes a national (US-wide) poll based on an annual survey, and this year's results are as revealing as they come. Read the full report here.

Top 10 Children's Health Concerns Infographic

Highlights

  • Internet Safety is one of the top concerns in the local community and nationwide
  • Bullying nearly tops the list nationwide, second only to childhood obesity

Are we worrying too much? Stephen Balkan, CEO of Family Online Safety Institute, offers the sage advice, "let’s help kids to become resilient, by helping themselves and then helping others." Enough said.

Best of the Mobicip Blog

Have you visited the Mobicip Blog lately? Check out some of our most recent popular posts:

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
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Browser Updates Available Now!

It has been a productive summer at Mobicip and the updates keep coming! In case you haven't noticed already, the latest update of the Safe Browser is now available on the App Store and Play Store. On iOS, the update offers a fresh user experience and fixes several bugs, especially the deployment server issue for schools. On Android, the update fixes the workaround issue on Samsung tabs, among several other bug fixes.

Download Mobicip Safe Browser with Parental Control Update from the App Store

Download the update now

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
The Mobicip crew
 
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All New Parent / Admin Interface Available Now

If you're a Mobicip Premium user, you may have noticed the revamped Web & App Monitor already. This redesign brings some key changes to the parent / admin interface that you see when you login at mobicip.com to review your reports and settings.

You will notice that

among other improvements and enhancements. The goal of this revamp is to make the interface more intuitive for novice to advanced users, regardless of the type of device or browser used. Please take a look and let us know what you think and what can be improved further.

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!

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4 Ways to Put the Family iPad to Good Use

Educators around the world are embracing mobile learning in what is considered a relentless and inevitable march towards the 'flipped' classroom. The average family today owns at least a handful of mobile devices, which invariably end up serving as modern-day babysitters, among other duties. Is there something we can learn from teachers to turn such free-form playtime into opportunities for learning?
  1. Consumption: Playing with apps is one thing, but it is increasingly clear to educators that making the incredible wealth of information on the web accessible (while making it age-appropriate, of course) is a vital cog in the mobile learning experience.
  2. Curation: An app like Notability allows kids to save their own articles, annotate them, highlight passages, add a picture, drawing, chart or sticky note, integrate a website or media, and add their own voice, effectively transcending what can be done on pen and paper.
  3. Creativity: Check out apps like Explain EverythingBook CreatorAnimotoiMovieGarage BandVoiceThreadDoodlecast, etc. Such apps put your kids at the center of the content creation process, which makes for a far more powerful learning experience than just consuming content.
  4. Connection: One of the primary motivations for kids to engage in creative activities is to share the product of their efforts. With family, friends, and peers. Create an environment that is conducive for creative collaboration, a virtual play network perhaps, and you'll see how it enriches the creator and the consumer.

Next time you consign the family tablet to its babysitting duties, think like a teacher. Have an underlying plan in place. As HarvardX Research Fellow Justin Reich puts it, don't “think of iPads as repositories of apps, but rather as portable media creation devices.”

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!

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Making a Case for Self-Directed Learning

Unless you're an educator, you probably haven't heard predictions by thought leaders that the traditional school system is on its way out. More surprisingly, these predictions are being borne out by experiments where new learning models are being tried out.

Acton Academy in Austin, TX is a case in point, where a "Learner Driven Community - a disruptive approach led by self-directed learners, in a community tightly bound by personal covenants and contracts, using the full power of the internet to craft a transformative, personalized learning path," is being tried out.

Inspired in-turn by Sugata Mitra's experiment, the academy is attempting to create a new type of learning environment that is not bound by the traditional notion of a classroom, a school, or even the need for a teacher. Whats more, the results are there to see. "We haven’t taught any math. Not one minute," says Jeff Sendefer, a 'Middle School Guide' at Acton. "Instead we have relied on a collection of game-based adaptive math programs such as Khan Academy. Despite having many Eagles who entered with low test scores, all but one of our Eagles is now on an advanced high school math track." Intrigued? Read the full article for the top 10 surprising conclusions that came out of the program.
 
To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
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A Gentle Introduction to 'Vamping'

'Vamping' is the latest tween lingo bound for the English language dictionary. You probably haven't heard the word, but as a digital parent, its very likely that you know what it refers to.

The hashtag '#vamping' is used by kids and teens camping out like vampires on social media late into the night, unbeknownst to parents. The phenomenon is so widespread that school administrators, academics, and the media have taken note. Busy schedules during the day, a craving for unstructured activity, and good old peer pressure, are all attributed as reasons for young users to jump on the bandwagon.

Of course parental controls like Mobicip can help limit internet usage late into the night by setting up time limits. But experts suggest that a more effective parenting approach may be to disallow the use of electronics in the bedroom after bedtime. Sounds like a no-brainer? But its easier said than done, mainly because parents themselves have a hard time switching off at night!
 
To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!
 
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4 Questions to Consider When You Setup Apps for Kids

Honestly, how many times have you installed an app for your kids and granted the permissions it needs without a second thought? Many of these apps store personal data on the cloud. How securely this data is stored, and what is used for, is entirely up to the app developers.

"App developers don’t always know what they’re doing, and careless or rushed coding may not stand up to entry-level hacking," says Rob Pegoraro, a Tech Columnist at Yahoo Tech. "If you use an insecure or hacked app on your phone, you could be exposing its personal data — like your address book, location, messages, and so on." Next time you install an app, ask yourself these questions:
  1. What personal data am I giving up?
  2. Does the app explain why it needs this data?
  3. What is the app's business model?
  4. How do I delete my account?

Read Rob's column for more. Having a choice of a million apps is a good thing. But many app developers may not have considered the seriousness or risk of a data breach. When it comes to your kids, shouldn't you?

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!

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How To Limit In-App Purchases on iPhone, iPod touch or iPad

There is no question that kids are drawn like fish to water to games on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. So you make sure they have fun, stay safe, and learn something useful. But many parents don't realize there is another risk that can leave you with a hefty bill to pay. In-app purchases have caused such a furore that Apple introduced some handy features to limit them. If you got burned by this already, you can file a claim with Apple. But, as always, its better to be safe than sorry.
  • Keep your (iTunes) password to yourself. Well, it is a password, duh! But you'll be surprised by how many parents share it only to repent later.
  • Use the Restrictions feature (Settings > General > Restrictions) to set 'In-app Purchases' to OFF.
  • Also under Restrictions, under Allowed Content, set Require Password to 'Immediately'. 
  • Setup an iTunes 'allowance'.
  • Use an iTunes gift card in lieu of a credit card.

To report issues or feedback, please get in touch with us. If you're happy with Mobicip, leave a happy review on the Apple App Store or Google Play store! Your feedback and support will be greatly appreciated!

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This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

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