How Healthy Is Your Relationship With Your Phone?

Your smartphone is a miracle. It allows you to answer any question and settle any heated barroom debate in seconds. It allows you to turn a tedious commute into productive working time. It is your gateway to hundreds of hours of awesome online content (much of it free) so that you need never be bored or lonely again. You can even make phone calls on it (as alien a notion as that may seem to many these days, especially our kids). Yet, while we’re constantly told that we should be vigilant when keeping tabs on our kids’ use of technology, we so often neglect our own relationships with our phones. And that can be a problem. Developing young minds aren’t the only ones that can be warped by spending too much time on their phones. In fact, even the oldest and wisest of us can find ourselves getting into bad habits where our phones are concerned. 

Here are some questions all Dads should ask themselves to ensure that they have a healthy relationship with their phones. 

Are you guilty of phubbing?

Phone snubbing or “phubbing” is something that we’re very keen to clamp down on when we catch our kids doing it. But when we catch ourselves falling into the same bad habit, we need to shut it down even faster. If our kids catch us engrossed in our phones at the dinner table or in another inappropriate context, they’ll see it as a tacit sign that it’s okay, no matter what you say out loud. And this can increase their dependence on their devices and impede social development. 

How long are you spending on your phone?

Be honest now. How much time do you spend on your phone every day? Less than 5 hours? 10 hours? 15 hours? Believe it or not, the amount of time we spend on our phones isn’t that dissimilar between baby boomers, gen x, millennials and gen z with each spending around 4-6 hours a day on their phones. Still, there are many who would say that more than one or two is too many. It’s certainly worth tracking how much time you spend on your phone from one week to the next.

Do your amusements become addictions?

Our smartphones are our gateway to a treasure trove of fun games. Whether you’re playing games just for the fun of it, reconnecting with childhood classics ported over from your mobile device or even trying to make a little money through online games and casinos- take a look at this LeoVegas casino review for an example, there are all kinds of ways in which we can wile away the hours with games. But we need to be vigilant. These amusements and distractions can become addictions if we’re not careful. We need to exercise restraint and self-discipline so that they don’t impact our productivity at home and at work. 

How are you sleeping?

Finally… like tablets, laptops and TVs, smartphones emit blue light which can disrupt the brain’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin which in turn can lead to insomnia. If you’re having trouble drifting off at night, it may be a sign that you’re spending too much time with your face in a screen!

Mad Science Virtual STL Summer Camps!!!

It’s that time of year again, when schools are out and summer starts peeking it’s head out from behind the Arch. With school ending this year in a dramatic fashion all across the region, I have started to see exciting new opportunities pop up for kids to still have fun and participate in fun and engaging programs from the safety of their living rooms.

This summer your children can participate in some very exciting virtual summer camps provided by Mad Science STL!

During the month of June Mad Science STL is offering 4 different virtual summer camps. The camps run 3 hours each day for 5 days. A total of 1-1.5 hours is spent on an active Zoom call, but that time is not consecutive.

The time on zoom call will be spent watching experiments, learning about different science concepts, listening to instructions, and discussing what your children think and what they’ve learned.

The time off the zoom call is spent doing the activities and experiments. The majority of materials are provided by Mad Science, parents can choose to either pick up materials from our office or have them delivered/mailed for $7.50! A bargain if you ask me!!!

Other materials parents will need to provide are fairly commonplace materials such as a cup, a book, or a piece of paper. While campers are working on their activities, the Mad Scientist will be available to chat and provide clarification as needed.

Mad Science STL is offering 4 different Virtual Camps for the Month of June. Space Alien Traveler, Rocketry, and Secret Agent Lab are open to rising K-5th graders. Our 4th camp is Mad Inventors and is open to rising 2nd-5th grades.

For most campers, they should be able to participate independently, but for Rocketry, Kindergarteners and 1st graders will need help from a parent or older sibling. 

A little more about the different camps…

Space Alien Travelers June 1st-5th: Take on the role of a space alien visiting earth for the first time. Find out about how earth’s sports work. Explore the animals and nature on earth. Learn how humans communicate with secret messages. Discover how earthlings can protect their planet. Finally, it’s time to take off into space to return home as we explore space!

In this camp, campers will explore nature, physics, space, and secret messages. All of the experiments and activities will relate back to the campers being Aliens, exploring the mysteries of Earth.

A young mad scientist waiting to see what happens!

Rocketry Camp: June 8th-12th Your child’s in for an action-packed week focused entirely on rockets and the physics of rocket flight! After learning the model rocket safety code, campers will build different types of rockets and watch exciting rocket launches. We recommend this camp for children entering 2nd – 5th grade; however, children entering kindergarten and 1st grade will enjoy it as well with a little more help from a grownup at home. Note: If you wish to for your child to launch their own rockets (with adult supervision), you will need to purchase a launch kit from an online source or hobby shop. All fueled launches during camp will be virtual.

Campers will learn about different parts of rockets. They’ll also learn about NASA and how launched rockets are recovered. (K-1 campers will need help from a parent or older sibling)

Secret Agent Lab June 15th-19th: Ever dream of becoming a secret agent? We’ll start with the basics: Campers will get their very own spy glasses! Step into the shoes of a detective as you uncover the science involved in evidence gathering and analysis! Figure out the science of forensics in a hands-on look at crime scenes! Become a super spy and learn clever ways of performing tasks as we take a hands-on investigation of the science that spies use!

Campers will create secret message, find clues, gather evidence, and learn all about spy technology.

Mad Inventors June 22nd-26th: Creative Contraption Warning! This is a camp designed by you–the Inventor! Each day you’ll be given a series of challenges which must be overcome using basic materials, simple machines, tips from the world of famous inventors, and the most important thing of all–your mind. With a little bit of ingenuity, you’ll construct catapults and forts and then lay siege, fabricate a winning design and assemble a working light saber. While Thomas Edison said invention is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration, this camp is 100% fun!

Campers will create duct tape castles to defend, explore hovercrafts, and learn about all different types of flight. This camp is full of creativity!

Be sure to sign up today with Mad Science STL as spaces are filling up quickly! Check out their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and elsewhere for more info and to see some amazing photos, projects, and interviews!

Using Your Phone as a Source of Entertainment for Your Kids

We tend to associate smartphones with adults. The majority of over eighteens own one of their own and chances are that you are either reading this article on one right now, or have one in your pocket or nearby. While we may use our phones for professional purposes (responding to emails), social purposes (catching up with friends), or sheer procrastination (scrolling through the explore page of our Instagram feeds), it’s important to remember that smartphones can prove extremely beneficial for little ones too! While you might not want to purchase one of these expensive devices for your little ones to use independently quite yet,

Ensuring It Is Always Connected

Phones aren’t much use if they constantly lose signal or are unable to make use of mobile data. So make sure that you sign up to a reliable provider like Freedompop phones, who will be able to ensure that your little ones can engage with any of the following recommendations as and when they grow bored throughout the day!

Online Videos

The web is awash with media that is appropriate for your little ones. Whether they want to watch their favourite cartoons, sing along to the latest kids’ chart song, or – you will be able to find the content online through some sort of video streaming service. Perhaps the most popular is Youtube. This can be accessed easily through your web browser, but you’re generally better off downloading the app, so that everything can be accessed more readily and easily. If you’re willing to pay a small sum of money monthly, you can even skip its notorious pre-video ads. Just remember to make use of parental controls, which can prevent your little ones from accessing unsuitable or age inappropriate content.

Photographs

Once kids can recognise themselves in the mirror, they are likely to become increasingly interested in taking pictures of themselves with you, siblings, pets, and pretty much anyone or anything else they adore. They’re growing up as part of the selfie generation! They’re bound to find hours of fun using your phone’s camera. Consider allowing them to use fun apps like snapchat to take and save pictures too! They’re bound to enjoy the different novelty filters they can try out. Just make sure they don’t send pictures around to your whole contact list!

Games

Phones have had games for a long time. But we have come a long way from simple classics like Tetris and Snake. Nowadays, there are seemingly endless different games down there that can be downloaded for your little ones to try out and play. Again, be a little cautious. Some will allow you to carry out in-app purchases and may charge your card directly. Ensure that protective settings are on or that your card is not connected to your account when letting your kids play games on your phone.

As you can see, your smartphone can provide your children with a whole lot of entertainment!

And if you really want to show off, check out this guide on how to mount a projector!

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

Embracing Being Online: 5 Places Technology Benefits Your Family

Most parents around the world feel like their children spend a lot of time playing with tablets, smartphones and computers. There just isn’t any way of escaping the fact that technology now plays a part in everyday life for a family. The impact on the family isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because there are so many ways that technology enhances our lives.

The internet and the devices that you can use it on have given families a way to game together, play together and learn together in a way that hasn’t been possible before. Families are communicating better due to the upgrades in technology and are able to stay in touch no matter where they are in the world. Children are including their parents in games such as https://www.finalfantasyxvapp.com/ and getting them up to speed in the newest games online. There are so many advances that technology has brought to families everywhere, and here are where you can find some of those advances in your home:

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Work. Families are able to connect better when parents have the choice to work from home. The flexibility that is on offer for families because of being able to work from home means that parents are missing out on school events less and less. Remote connections make it easier to stay with family instead of heading to the office every day. When work hours are erratic, it’s better to know that you can still be in touch with your children and partner no matter where you are.

Education. One of the best ways to stay close to your kids is to learn together. Whether you are using a device to teach your young ones to read, or you want to show your kids the various places around the world and their history, technology can let you do that. Digital libraries, maps, encyclopaedias online – they’re all available to be used from the handheld device in your hand.

Development. You may not like seeing your kids using tablets all the time, but video games can teach them problem solving and dexterity. E-books can help them to learn about the world around them in an interactive way. Blogs and vlogs can help them to develop social skills and learn to listen to others.

Gaming. Not only do you get a chance to bond as a family and learn to connect together, gaming can help your children learn to focus, to pay attention to detail. It can also inspire them to be involved in computing and want to learn coding for later in life. Maybe they see a future career in the gaming industry.

Entertainment. Technology gives us instant access to movies, TV shows and music on demand. Online apps like Netflix that you connect to your television can really help those Saturday movie nights become so much better than ever before.

Technology has a place in family life, so don’t forget to include it as part of your regular family life. Make it normal and fun!

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.