While we are at home trying our best to implement distance learning and also attempting to work on IEP goals, we thought we'd pass along a technology tool that is helping one of our CFK staff members. Today, we feature a tech tip from Joellen Podoll, Connecting for Kids Professional & School Liaison.
Joellen’s children have both been able to take advantage of Messenger Kids from Facebook during the stay-at-home order. According to its website, “Messenger Kids is a free video calling and messaging app for smartphones and tablets. Parents control the contact list, and kids control the fun.”
Joellen’s Kindergartener struggles with anxiety and social skills issues. For her, Messenger Kids has been a great way to work on social skills from home using the video calling feature. Joellen’s daughter is very shy and quiet in the classroom but by using this app, she has become more comfortable with her classmates and has been able to connect on a level that she never has in person.
Messenger Kids has even been a great tool for keeping her daughter in touch with an out-of-town grandmother. Every day, the two of them talk using the app and do activities together. Most recently, grandma was escorted via the app through her granddaughter’s obstacle course. Not only has the time together been great for Joellen’s daughter and helped to boost her confidence, but grandma is also enjoying the conversations and the ability to stay connected.
Joellen’s typical, third-grade son has also taken advantage of the app. Being an extrovert, the time at home spent away from friends has been difficult for him. He uses Messenger Kids to stay in touch with classmates both one-on-one with friends as well as in group settings.
Before signing your child up for Messenger Kids, Joellen relayed two pieces of advice. First, she recommends that your child watch this free BrainPOP video about internet safety. Second, she suggests you snooze the Messenger Kids app at night. She learned that the hard way when classmates were calling early in the morning before her kids were out of bed.