Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Manage Your Child's Screen Time on Tablets with Kytephone

The latest upgrade to Kytephone brings support for all Android tablets. Turn your tablet into a safe playground for your kids with Kytephone. 

Manage screen time on the tablet by setting daily time limits for games.  You can also only allow age-appropriate apps, everything else will be hidden away.  As always, you can manage the tablet remotely from the Parent Dashboard.

Kytephone is a great way to turn the latest Google Nexus 7 into a child-friendly tablet.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Aggressiveness in Children

We have all witnessed how aggressive some kids can be - on the playground, in kindergarten, at school.

They scream, shout, fight and get their way. And sometimes if our child is too quiet or defensive we can be even tempted to give him an aggressive kid as an example to follow. But have you asked yourself why some kids are more aggressive than others? Or what should parents do about it? Tolerate it or even encourage it, because in today's highly competitive world aggressiveness can be a valuable quality or weed it out while they still possible?

Aggressive and mean behaviour is caused by low levels of serotonin in the brain. This is the substance which controls our mood, emotions, appetite, sleep. In very young children aggression is a natural reaction to some kind of failure - forbidden activity, unexpected hardship or obstacle. Little kids, whose nervous system is still forming, are generally more inclined to develop aggressiveness and most often it is expressed as crying and screaming. In older children aggressiveness is usually a form of protest against parents' behaviour.

According to Richard Tremblay from the University of Montreal if parents disregard the early symptoms of aggressiveness, the child is more likely to grow up as an aggressive individual. In his opinion parents should put a stop to all acts of aggression or expression of anger right away. At the same time this has to be done with care as yelling or rudeness can only worsen the situation and make kids angrier and more aggressive.

Psychologists agree that parents who have been aggressive as kids are much more likely to raise up aggressive and mean kids. Social status of the family and even more importantly the relationship between the parents are also major factors affecting kids' behaviour. According to a study by Children's Society, a non-for-profit British organization, 70% of the interviewed 2,300 parents admit that aggressive computer games have extremely strong influence over children and make them more aggressive. So, turns out it is not all “in the genes”, but has to do a lot with parenting too.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Communicating With Children

Children are striving for attention, our attention. They crave to talk to us, listen to us, share their stories and experiences. This is amplified especially at the beginning of the school year with so much new and exciting happening in a child's life. And yet we all know how sometimes children can clam up and talking becomes harder than pulling teeth - parents get frustrated, kids get angry, everybody is disappointed and nothing is achieved.

Kids can stop talking to their parents for a number of reasons - because they're scared, embarrassed, upset, and worst of all because they don't believe their parents will understand. It's easy to say “Keep the communication lines open”, but when you face a wall of silence it becomes very difficult and many parents decide it's best to “let it cool”, resolve the issue later, “when the time is right”.

I tend to disagree - the time is always right if you want to be close to your child. We are all different personalities and each parent has to find their own right approach, make their child feel comfortable, open and talk to them. The more time you let slip away in waiting for the “right time”, the more unlikely is for this “right time” to ever come. You are building your relationship with your child every moment and this certainly includes right now. It is a continuous process which never stops - children grow, parents mature, life changes and so do they and their relationship. But you can only build on solid foundations.

If communication is hard:
  • Try to put yourself in your kid's shoes. Is it possible that you are overreacting and taking on your child the stress of your day?
  • Role-play. Excellent approach for younger kids, especially those who may be showing signs of anxiety or low self-esteem. Unleash their hidden side, they will blossom.
  • Go out, even if for a walk. Being together, just the two of you makes you feel special to each other. And conversation is easier.
  • Invite your kid to join you in something that is your “own”, some kind of activity, something you usually do all by yourself. Letting them in your world will make it easier for them to let you in their world.
  • Use texting as means of communication. Kids love texting, they do it a lot more than adults and sometimes it's easier to write about things than to say them.
There is not right or wrong approach, there is not one that works for everybody. Any approach is good as long as it works for you and your child.

Kytephone Brings Time Limits to All Androids

Here at Kytephone we want to make the best kid's phone possible, so parents can feel comfortable giving a smartphone to their children and kids finally get the smartphone they want. After hearing the concerns of parents, we released version 2.3 of Kytephone with two long sought-after features.

First, we overhauled our parental dashboard to make it mobile friendly. Our new dashboard makes it easy for parents to check on the status of their children's phone from any smartphone, tablet or computer and any change they make (enabling an app, adding a contact) will be reflected on their child's device in real-time.

New Parental Dashboard

Second, we implemented time limits for games, so parents can set the number of minutes children are allowed to play games, and let Kytephone enforce the rules. One of the most common worries parents have is their kids spending too much time playing games. We hope that with this new feature, parents will have one less thing to worry about.

Funny enough, yesterday Amazon announced two new Kindle tablets and one of the main features of their new software was time limits for kids. We think Amazon is definitely onto something and we commend them for listening to the needs of parents. But if you want to use the time limits feature, you should try Kytephone. It works on any Android phone or tablet, it's free and you don't have to buy new hardware.

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