Have you ever noticed how many articles there are about things your kids shouldn’t be doing online? Or how many headlines focus on the ways technology can go wrong for families? The conversation always seems to be about avoiding dangers and restricting screen time. And while there’s nothing wrong with discussing the risks of technology for kids, it’s only one aspect of a multifaceted issue. We believe it’s time we start balancing the conversation, giving parents practical tools to help their kids harness the best of technology.
The four things kids do online
Screen activities generally fall into one of four categories, but perhaps the most well-known is consumption. Because YouTube is the number one brand for kids, most parents are very familiar with consumption. Activities like watching TV and scrolling social media fall into this category, and when we do them, we often zone out. This isn’t necessarily bad in-and-of-itself, but many platforms use persuasive design—features that keep our eyeballs and attention glued to screens for longer periods (think: autoplay, endless feeds, streaks and more). This is because most of these platforms are “free.” Our attention is their currency, and they want to place more ads in front of us. All that makes it easy to overdo consumption to the detriment of more positive activities. This is why we think technology gets a bad rap in so many households. And while flipping the switch to relax is important every now and then, it should happen in moderation. If we focus on the other three C’s—connection, creativity and cultivation—our time with technology will be more engaging, productive—and enriching. And we’re building Kinzoo with this in mind.
Building connection—one ping at a time
In a sea of notifications, the most important are undoubtedly from our loved ones. Texts, audio messages, videos, gifs, stickers and photos—they can all help us feel like we’re together, even when we’re apart. It’s more common than ever for family and friends to be spread far and wide—and we believe that technology can help us bridge the gap. Because of the way screens can connect us, grandparents can share meaningful moments with far-away grandkids. Parents can read bedtime stories when they’re traveling for work. And kids can tell you they love you whenever the mood strikes. We believe that time spent connecting with loved ones is time well spent. We built Kinzoo to help kids deepen their relationships, create memories and share experiences that wouldn’t otherwise have happened.
Fostering creativity and self-expression
One of the most inspiring aspects of technology is its ability to spur creativity. It calls to innovators, artists and outside-the-box thinkers and gives them a new outlet. You don’t have to search very far to find examples of kids doing creative things with technology—like the high school student who developed an app to make sure kids don’t have to sit alone at lunch. When they’re using tech to tap into their creativity, kids acquire new skills, like coding, photoshopping, graphic design and more. They make valuable contributions to our culture and society. We want Kinzoo to be an incubator for kids’ most creative moments—which is why we built games and activities like Drawn Together and Doodles. These help kids safely express themselves through technology, empowering them today and preparing them for tomorrow.
Encouraging curiosity and cultivation
It’s a great, big world out there—and with a Wi-Fi connection, it’s easier than ever to experience it all. Technology can take us on an African Safari or a tour of the Louvre. It can introduce us to new ideas and experiences—all from the comfort of our homes. When children use screens to cultivate their interests and pursue their passions, they open up worlds of possibility. They discover new topics they didn’t know existed. And, they learn valuable lessons that will serve them later in life. Every time kids use technology for cultivation, they’re growing and developing their minds. We designed Kinzoo with features like Today I Learned to give kids a safe, fun way to explore. And, with an emphasis on using technology for cultivation, children can take advantage of the wealth of information out in the world.
Prioritizing Kinzoo’s three C’s
While a little consumption here and there is a nice treat, it’s rewarding in the long run to prioritize the other three C’s. In order to give kids the best of technology, we need to focus on screen activities that encourage connection, creativity and cultivation. When we do, we give our families the best-possible screen experiences—ones that deepen relationships, encourage self-expression and expand horizons.
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