During the week of SXSW in March, I had the pleasure of having breakfast with digital journalist Sarah Evans. Sarah covers lifestyle technology in her popular lifestyle publication SarahsFav.es, tracks and shares trends on digital innovation, and acts as a correspondent for PayPal and Cox Communications, among others. She’s been in Vanity Fair’s America’s Tweethearts, Forbes’ 14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter, and Entrepreneur’s Top 10 Hot Startups. She’s a powerhouse and, I’m proud to say, a wonderful friend.
On behalf of Cox Communications, Sarah pulled together a group of moms, a dad, and a few adorable children to discuss topics important to young parents. While I am not a parent myself, I am quite active in children’s online safety, having spent a tenure building games and teams that provide the best and safest digital experiences for kids and families.
An important topic we discussed that morning at SXSW centered on the concept of social games like Minecraft that have high popularity for kids but a diverse user base. Minecraft is one of many games that, while not designed with children as its primary audience, is still extremely popular among kids of all ages. It’s important not to deprive kids of the opportunity to play such a game, and to instead embrace it in a way that keeps them safe. Play with them. Make your interest in their games and life genuine, authentic, constant, and collaborative.
Similarly, apps like Snapchat have become more commonplace with kids thanks to unique filters and the fun of posing for selfies with family members. When considering letting kids use these apps, keep in mind that the app and any brands or individuals a child decides to follow also publish content that often is not appropriate for young users. Articles, Snaps, and Stories from entertainment and lifestyle magazines, for example, can cover a range of mature topics that kids can innocently stumble upon. Friends and family may be sharing fun, wholesome photos, but there is still an adult platform in the background.
In many regions of the world, we’re now approaching summer break, and it’s important that parents think about how technology will play into their children’s day-to-day activities. What are they playing? How are they socializing? Do you have active conversations as a family about behaviors and activities (both good and bad) in apps or games that have social features? It’s imperative to make yourself aware, and we at ModSquad are happy to help.
If you have any questions about the games or apps your family enjoy, please comment below. We’re happy to share insights, tips, realities, and resources to address your digital parenting concerns.
Sr. Director of Digital Strategy & Engagement