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Top 10 Apps for Kids to Play & Learn

Your kids love to play on the smartphone or tablet. Wouldn't it be really cool if they do what they love and learn along the way? Here are ten handpicked apps that will do exactly that!
Collage of recommended app icons
Duolingo
Offers instruction to learn at least 12 different languages, in a fun, engaging and playful experience.

Qwiki
Automatically turns pictures and videos into beautiful movies to share.

Mobicip
Offers safe and secure access to the internet, search and YouTube for protected and/or supervised browsing. 

DIY
The app that helps you do real world activities, and share your work with friends.

News-O-Matic
Covers news of the day in an engaging way, exploring its many facets through images, maps, videos, and games.

BrainPop
Delivers fresh movies that cover a breadth of relevant topics including current events, historical figures and milestones, holidays, curricular subjects, and more.

City Guides
Learn about major cities of the world, including local tips, current weather, fun facts, and a selection of iconic photos. 

LEGO Movie Maker
This fun, kid-friendly app helps create a custom stop-motion movie, using LEGOs or anything else.

QatQi
Lose yourself in the world of QatQi (pronounced “cat-key”), a gorgeous and meticulously crafted word game that pleases the senses and tests the limits of your lexicon.

Lumosity Mobile
Lumosity is designed by neuroscientists to train memory, attention, and more.

Hope this helps. Want to add more to this list? Let us know on our forum so we can update this list!
 
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
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
Image credit: All icons and trademarks belong to the respective app publishers / developers.

Do Mobile Devices Affect Kids' Health?

Not only is the usage of mobile devices at an all-time high among adults, but it also is among children today. It is estimated that nearly half of all children in developed countries own a smartphone. Even more have access to a tablet or other mobile device in the household. K-12 schools around the world are issuing mobile devices of all kinds to students for personalized and project-based learning. What this means is that all of us are constantly exposed to the radio frequency fields around these devices. The health effects of such sustained and repeated exposure is still being studied, with mixed results.

Image from SCAMP study

The World Health Organization has published an online Q&A on this topic. Research has focused on four areas - cancer, other health effects, electromagnetic interference, and traffic accidents. While RF fields have been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), studies so far have not supported the hypothesis. As for other health effects, there is some evidence that mobile device usage can affect brain activity, reaction times, and sleep patterns. Another study, The Stewart Report, concluded that children may be more vulnerable because of their developing nervous system, the greater absorption of energy in the tissues of the head, and a longer lifetime of exposure. The WHO Q&A concludes:

While an increased risk of brain tumours from the use of mobile phones is not established, the increasing use of mobile phones and the lack of data for mobile phone use over time periods longer than 15 years warrant further research of mobile phone use and brain cancer risk. In particular, with the recent popularity of mobile phone use among younger people, and therefore a potentially longer lifetime of exposure, WHO has promoted further research on this group and is currently assessing the health impact of RF fields on all studied endpoints.

A recent study - Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phones (SCAMP) - commissioned by the Department of Health in the UK is attempting to do exactly that. 

SCAMP is a cohort study which will follow a group of approximately 2,500-3,000 secondary school pupils within Greater London from year 7 through to year 9. The aim of this study is to investigate whether children’s use of mobile phones and/or other technologies that use radio waves e.g. portable landline phones and wireless internet, might affect their cognitive or behavioural development e.g. language comprehension, attention, memory.

This will be the largest study in the world to date to address this important research question. Mobile devices are increasingly part of our children’s everyday lives. Let us hope that this study reaches its goal of providing "targeted advice to parents and children as appropriate". Visit the SCAMP website to learn more.

Reading in the Age of the Tablet

Nearly any book you can think of can be read as an electronic book (ebook) today. General purpose devices like smartphones and tablets make it easy and convenient to read ebooks. But do children actually read ebooks? 

A recent research brief by Common Sense Media shows that the preference for print books is not only going down, but ebooks actually contribute to an increase in reading. However, parental concerns around electronic reading remain. As Kathryn Zickhur from the Pew Research Center says:

"If a kid is looking at a book, you can assume he or she is reading. But when it comes to looking at a smartphone or tablet, who knows? We've heard from middle and high school teachers that sometimes the Internet is wonderful for highly motivated students to do deep and expansive research," says Zickuhr. "But on the flip side, obviously there are many distractions on the Internet."

That is precisely why many families and schools rely on Mobicip to help restrict these distractions and keep the focus on open ended research and learning. Learn more.
 
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
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Photo credit: flickingerbrad / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The eParent's Dilemma: Reading in the Age of the Tablet

Nearly any book you can think of can be read as an electronic book (ebook) today. Granted reading an electronic book on a computer never really took off as a trend, but the advent of electronic readers (ereaders) started the turnaround. Today, general purpose devices like smartphones and tablets make it easy and convenient to read ebooks. But do children actually read ebooks? What do parents feel about that? A recent research brief by Common Sense Media on Children, Teens, and Reading sheds some light on this.

Children in hallway reading from their iPads

Children actually still have a fondness for print books, although that preference is going down over time. While 66% of 9-to-17 year olds stated a preference for print books in 2010, that number dropped to 58% in 2012. The study cited offers a hint that electronic reading may, in fact, contribute to more reading among young people. One in five children, especially boys, who have read an ebook say they are reading more books for fun.

Having said that, parental attitudes towards electronic reading have remained steadfastly grim. According to a Pew survey cited in the report, "among all parents of minor children, 81% said it was “very” and 13% said it was “somewhat” important that their children read print books." Here is an excerpt from the report citing another study: 

In spring 2013, the Cooney Center conducted a national survey of parents of 2- to 10-year-olds (Rideout, 2014) and found that 38% did not own either a tablet or an ereader, 32% owned one and their child used it for reading, and 32% owned one but their child did not use it for reading. Among the latter group, some of the top reasons why the child did not use the ereading device were: because the parent prefers the print experience (45%); because the parent doesn’t want the child to have more screen time (29%); and because the parent believes print is better for their child’s reading skills (27%).

The report suggests that the electronic platforms on which children read offer a whole host of distractions including games, apps, websites, YouTube, and all kinds of ways to watch movies and videos. As Kathryn Zickhur from the Pew Research Center says in the NPR's coverage of the report:

If a kid is looking at a book, you can assume he or she is reading. But when it comes to looking at a smartphone or tablet, who knows? "We've heard from middle and high school teachers that sometimes the Internet is wonderful for highly motivated students to do deep and expansive research," says Zickuhr. "But on the flip side, obviously there are many distractions on the Internet."

Of course, tools like Mobicip can help reduce or restrict some of these distractions. Whether parental attitudes towards electronic reading will change over time remains to be seen. But it is a given that children and teens are showing an increasing preference towards electronic reading. This coupled with the fact that ereading may have a positive outcome should lead parental attitudes changing in that direction. So what do you do as a challenged eParent? At the very least, follow the sage advice from Jim Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media:

"Kids with parents who read, who buy or take books out of the library for their kids, and who then set time aside in their kids' daily schedule for reading, tend to read the most," he says — whether it's on a book, an e-book or some other gadget.

Photo credit: flickingerbrad / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Taming the Juggernaut that Never Sleeps

In the early days of the consumer Internet, it used to be a place to consume what was out there. In the age of smartphones and tablets, the web is a constantly evolving, changing, morphing juggernaut, churning out pieces of our lives big and small, every minute of the day.

To get a real sense of this, check out this really cool infographic from Domo.
Infographic from Domo
While the internet never sleeps, do you? At Mobicip, our endeavor is to help families and schools tame this unyielding beast, so you can have some peace of mind. Learn more
 
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
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Parents, Put Down That Smartphone!

At Mobicip, we keep a religious eye on research concerning kids' use of technology. However, a couple of recent studies on parents' use of smartphones took us by surprise. Or not!

Dr. Jenny Radesky, a pediatrician at the Boston Medical Center, ran a study in which the behavior of parents with young children in restaurants was observed anonymously. 40 of 55 parents paid more attention to the smartphone than their kids. And the kids who received less attention were more prone to acting out.

In a separate study, Catherine Steiner-Adair, a consulting psychologist at Harvard, interviewed more than 1000 kids while researching for her book. "One of the many things that absolutely knocked my socks off," she says, "was the consistency with which children — whether they were 4 or 8 or 18 or 24 — talked about feeling exhausted and frustrated and sad or mad trying to get their parents' attention, competing with computer screens or iPhone screens or any kind of technology, much like in therapy you hear kids talk about sibling rivalry."
 
Now, if that doesn't give us as parents enough reason to put down that smartphone and look your kids in the eye when they talk to us...
 
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
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

How Your Kids Can Surf Safely With A Tablet

Yay! We were mentioned in this article - How your kids can surf safely with a tablet - on USA Today. Thanks to @JenniferJolly for her excellent article / video, and of course for her due diligence.

Jennifer Jolly @ USA Today Tech

Some excerpts:

There are Web browser apps built specifically for younger surfers. Mobicip is one of the best. The company's Safe Browser — available on both iOS and Android — caters the Web-surfing experience specifically for your child. Any attempts to access unseemly corners of the Web are met with a block screen, telling them they've crossed the line.

The best way to make a tablet safe for a child is to get involved. Talk with them early and often about important digital core values. Read the full article or watch the video.

BTW, you may want to keep an eye on @JenniferJolly's articles and videos. She is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech contributor and host of USA TODAY's digital video show TECH NOW!

A Customized Internet Experience For Each Of Your Kids

Mobicip allows you create a custom internet experience for each of your kids. To setup, login at mobicip.com and go to Settings > Profiles to create profiles. Premium users can customize the profiles to suit each user. You're not done yet! Make sure to map the right profile on each device.

iPad
Open Mobicip, and touch the Settings icon to select current user profile.


iPhone & iPod touch
To find the Settings icon, exit the fullscreen mode and touch the action button. Open the Settings and select the user profile.


Android
Launch the Mobicip app and touch the menu button. Select Settings > Mobicip > User Profile.

Windows
Double-click the Mobicip icon on the desktop or task-bar. Enter your credentials and map the accounts on the PC to your filtering profiles.

Thats it! The internet settings for each kid will be applied on each device mapped to his/her profile!

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

More Students Turn Digitally Rich

Students in K-12 schools today have increasing access to mobile learning, according to the 2013 Speak Up survey. One-quarter of students in grades 3-5 and nearly one-third of students in grades 6-12 say that they are using a mobile device provided by their school to support schoolwork.

Interestingly, the top school work that students use digital learning for is looking up information on the internet, or access online games, textbooks or games. Learning to be digital citizens, in partnership with the school and parents, is increasingly crucial. At Mobicip, we are proud to play an important role in the mix.

For more information, catch a quick summary of the survey results in this infographic and see the full report on the Project Tomorrow website.
 
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
 
This is a copy of the latest Mobicip newsletter. Click here to subscribe.

Update Your Safe Browser On Android & Kindle Fire

If you're using the Safe Browser on Android smartphones or tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy series or the Kindle Fire series, it is time for an update. The latest version (2.0.1) includes some critical bug fixes and enhancements.

The new Mozilla-based Safe Browser has been a great hit! But one small feature has been especially appreciated by parents and kids alike - the numeric passcode.

The passcode can be used in lieu of the username and password to authenticate changes made on the device. This includes changing the filter profile, unlocking other apps or settings, and unlocking the Play Store.

The Safe Browser prompts you to setup the passcode during installation. If you skipped that step, you can always open the menu and select Settings > Mobicip > Use Passcode. Make sure to update the app regularly to use such new features as they become available!

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

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