In Seattle, we have rainy day summer activities and sunny day summer activities. So far, we are spending most of our days outside in the sun. As I sit writing this post, I am looking at the clouds looming in the south and I know we are in for a few wet days. In our house when the rain comes out, the devices come out. When the first raindrop falls, I guarantee my 10-year-old will be asking to download Clash of Clans. Before I agree to download any app, we sit down together, read through the reviews and ratings. We talk about why a game is rated for a certain age and how they can play safe online or how we need to find a better alternative.
Below, I have listed my 5 favorite websites for app reviews and safety information. I also have a list on my Apps & Websites page of the most popular apps and networks with links to reviews for parents and kids. These our great sites to bookmark for when you hear, “I am bored, can I download….” If you have a favorite, please share it in the comment section.
Common Sense Media is an outstanding resource for parents. It provides information and tools to help families choose and manage media in their lives. If you have questions about a specific app or need tips on managing screen time this is the site to turn to first. If you’re looking for a new app, CommonSense Media has a Summer Guide to Educational Apps.
ConnectSafely is a nonprofit organization that publishes safety tips, parents’ guides, advice, news and commentary on all aspects of tech use and policy. Both Anne Collier and Larry Magid write thought-provoking pieces about growing up digital. They also have parent guides on some of the most popular apps as well as new guide on mobile safety.
Most parents know the ESRB from their ratings on video games but the ESRB’s rating system also includes mobile apps. When out and about, parents can use the ESRB’s free mobile app available on iTunes or GooglePlay to check out the review and rating for apps and games.
iKeepSafe is a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping families and communities have safe and healthy experiences with technology and the internet. They have developed the iKeepSafe BEaPRO™ Parent app as well as produced parenting guides and app reviews.
Mary Kay Hoal is the creator of Yoursphere a social network designed for kids. She also writes a blog Yoursphere for Parents that provides app reviews, how-to’s, tools and information to empower parents to help their families have a healthy and positive online experience.