Guest post today from Gai Havkins the CEO of KIDO’Z, a mobile app for Android smartphones and tablets designed to provide a safe environment for kids to play fun and educational games. You know I love the iPad as much as anyone – but we have got to make sure our kiddos are surfing in a safe internet world before we give them the reins.
Technology Tips for Your Child
By Gai Havkin
Technology has transformed the way children with autism learn and communicate. Mobile apps, in particular, have given parents, educators, and therapists multiple approaches to engage a child who develops at a different pace than his or her peers.
Research from the American Psychological Association (APA) has shown that computers, and more recently tablets, help give a voice to kids who have autism. Tablets and other mobile devices can serve as beneficial social and academic tools for these children.
Over the past year, a wide range of specialized apps have been designed to assist children with autism to handle social situations, develop fine-motor skills, and effectively communicate. Google Play offers thousands of autism-friendly apps, such as Puzzingo, Giraffe’s Preschool Playground, AutismXpress, and Show Me Numbers, and over 200 of these apps are free to download.
While our primary focus at KIDO’Z is to protect children from unsavory content online, we also strive to make our application educational and fun for children of all walks of life. We view all autism-friendly apps as fantastic resources for helping children flourish. With this in mind, our team constantly monitors the industry for new, accessible apps to pre-approve and add to our bank of applications offered in the KIDO’Z safe and secure digital environment.
Although these apps can be valuable, striking a balance in determining how much screen time your child is exposed to is important, particularly when it comes to children with autism. Here are some tips for parents:
- Set limits on your child’s use of digital technology at a young age. Do not permit your child to get to the point where they are spending an inordinate amount of time with their iPad or television, in comparison to other physical, social, and family activities.
- Translate app or game interests into real-world environments. Instead of allowing your child to become overly captivated with an app or video game, help him or her to take this area of interest and move it offline. Provide your child with opportunities and settings, such as a museum or historical site, for healthy and mutual discussions about their interests.
- Monitor your own interaction with digital devices. This is particularly relevant when you use technologies for solitary activities, such as searching the Internet, playing games on your phone, sending emails, or using social media. The more of these isolating behaviors that you display as a parent on devices, the more you are modeling this type of behavior for your child.
As parents ourselves, the KIDO’Z team understands the importance of giving children the support and tools they need in order to grow and succeed. Technology, with careful guidance and supervision, can open many doors for children with autism.
Gai Havkin is the CEO of KIDO’Z, a mobile app for Android smartphones and tablets designed to provide a safe environment for kids to play fun and educational games.