Kid’s Weekly Allowance Cash or Digital?

Should parents give kids a digital allowance? Rock, Paper, Phone!

Dear Ms. Smartphone: My children, ages 5 and 10 each get a weekly allowance for doing chores. The ten year old got a phone this year and asked me to put his amount, $10.00 per week, on a Venmo account. What do you think? Jaycee, Quincy

Dear Jaycee: That’s an interesting question. For readers who don’t know, Venmo is a popular app, one of many, that securely transfers digital payments between people, in lieu of paper money.

Your children will grow up in a world where digital payments will become the standard. But for now, I have two reservations about the digital allowance.

Buyers display less fiscal management and spend more when they use digital payments/ credit cards. Parents need to show their children how to save money, as well as spend it. Second, giving your child money to spend online will encourage him to be online more often. Since your child is only ten, it’s vital to monitor both his time and spending online.

Ipads in Library?

Taking kids to library…where they play on Ipads!

Ipads in Public Library (Nashua, NH) (2013)

Dear Ms. Smartphone: Writing on behalf of my daughter. She questions why I take my grandchildren to the library every week, since they only play with the Ipads in the kid’s room. I suppose those Ipads are loaded with age-appropriate games and reading. When they do this, it gives me time to browse the shelves. Mora, Lexington

Dear Mora: It’s a generational thing- you and I may not quite get it. The skills for reading well and remembering content on digital media may be different than the skills for reading well and remembering content in print.

Many educators see the need to offer both. Check out this older podcast from Julie Coiro.I like the point that good readers and experienced gamers may differ in their reading preferences.

Here is a more recent story compiled by KQED radio. This Anaheim teacher is developing cognitive strategies that help to deepen reading comprehension (online?). We are at the infancy of our understanding the differences. Meanwhile, enjoy your weekly visit and encourage the grandkids to check out reading books, just like you do!

Dear Smartphone: Family Holiday or Digital Holiday?

Cuddle Fairy: Make your own boardgame
Cuddle Fairy brings Minecraft to the board!

 Dear Ms. Smartphone: I am stumped by holiday shopping for my nieces and nephews.  They usually like to get a gift card so that they can download games and apps. They are all in middle school now and own phones or tablets. My problem is that I remember when my family used to get new board games for Christmas, and then we all spent time together over the next few days learning the rules and figuring out a strategy to win. Do you think I should cave in and get the gift cards or send them some games?  Shelby, San Francisco 

Dear Shelby: It’s really hard to know when to move on to a different way of doing things, vis a vis preserving the values and traditions that worked well in the past. It’s your gift to your nieces and nephews so let it reflect your tastes. But there are other reasons for agreeing with you. Families come together when they share an experience. So, try to choose games that the adults will want to also join in.  This article, from an English newspaper, spells that out well (no pun: scrabble anyone?)  Note that many of the games kids play online today are spin-offs from the board games you remember. Cuddle fairy  helps you make a board game that parallels the digital version of Minecraft! What a great family project.  As you make a decision, consider that kids today spend far too much time on their electronic devices and these devices are usually personal, one-on-one.