Sunday, July 15th, 2018 by Gina Thompson
Back in the day, an unexpected bill racked up by your kids was most likely something like a broken window after a game of cricket gone wrong. As technology became a bigger part of daily life, it became important for parents to sit down and have a chat with their kids about using a mobile phone responsibly so they didn’t make calls to premium numbers or use tons of excess data.
Fast forward to today and microtransactions in games are becoming a serious problem. They’ve been a common pest in mobile games for a few years now, but thanks to the massive popularity of “free to play” games such as Fortnite, more parents are learning about them the hard way.
Fortnite is a battle royale shooter game that made waves when it was released on mobile devices, making it extremely accessible. After all, most kids are more likely to have a mobile phone than a certain gaming console or gaming PC. Fortnite doesn’t cost money to start playing, but a number of in-game items such as different costumes for your character to wear cost V-Bucks, which are actually bought with real-world cash. A quick Google search will show you there’s already dozens of stories of kids blowing hundreds of dollars on the in-game currency.
Fortnite isn’t the only game to have a big microtransaction problem and mobile phones aren’t the only device you may need to lock down to stop kids racking up a bill on supposedly “free” games. To help you (and your wallet!) we’ve put together a guide on how to stop kids making purchases in games across a range of devices including mobiles, tablets and gaming consoles. Just follow these steps for some peace of mind that your littles ones won’t be making any in-game purchases, by accident or otherwise.
Thursday, February 15th, 2018 by Gina Thompson
Back when I was in high school taking Information Technology as an elective in years 10 through 12, we covered topics that seem pretty tame by today’s standards – basic HTML, website design, Flash animation software and of course, the seemingly inescapable Microsoft Excel. If you go back even further to my mum’s day, “Computer Awareness” was only just becoming widespread in secondary schools and you probably had to take a college-level course to pick up the kind of computer skills that many of us take for granted today.
Fast forward to 2018 and Coding is now part of the NSW school curriculum… for kindergarteners. That’s right, no typo – kindy kids are learning coding! While that doesn’t mean these tots are smashing out lines of code on a computer, it does mean that they’re being introduced to the fundamentals of computational thinking at a very early age. That means stuff like problem solving, recognising sequences, and understanding cause and effect.
Even if they don’t wind up employed in the technology sector, these kinds of lessons can do wonders for a child’s analytical and numeracy skills. It also makes them more likely than any other generation before them to develop interests in technology, gadgets and gaming. While this is amazing, it can leave some parents (or grandparents) stumped for things to do with the kids that involve these interests.
Whether you’re a tech-head looking for some fresh ideas or tech just isn’t your thing, here are five fun and parent-friendly activities of the tech-y variety. Give one of these a whirl and not only will you and the little ones enjoy yourselves, you may just learn a thing or two along the way!