“Just put your film in the envelope, I’ll send it off soon”, “Hold your horses, the picture just shows up”, “Wave it around gently and it’ll look great!”. For those raised ‘post’ Polaroid era, these were common wisdom’s parents with cameras or Polaroid’s shared with their impatient children. These are the words, morals, and principles I grew up with…simple is beautiful and patience is a virtue.
Skip forward 30 some odd years later(I’m now 40). While many of the same traditions still exist, like capturing our favorite moments to view later, our morals and principles have changed dramatically. Even the way we aggregate and store these moments has changed as we rely on SD cards, internal storage within our devices, and faster printing methods when and where we want; as opposed to fragile film, toxic chemicals for developing, and unpredictable time frames of when your photos will make it back to you. It’s no secret, we are in the times of now, now, now.
Most kids pick up a Windows Phone and immediately start playing games, watching videos, or connect to their favorite social network…no wait times. Pretty much all of them. Is this bad? Not really. Can it lead to some bad habits? Of course. While our devices represent fun and freedom, these same fun and freedoms can stand in the way of two very important developmental stages in a child’s life: feelings and expression. It’s very easy for kids to get so wrapped up in the fun mentioned above, these scenarios can begin to outweigh the importance of anyone or thing around them, including themselves. Those stimuli that represented fun, can quickly become the catalyst to faster elevating frustrations in many facets of their life, especially when referring to school and siblings. Isolation, inability to express true feelings when necessary, a false sense of intangible accomplishments, and a growing trend of an inability to recognize unsafe situations are but a few of the results.
I’m not going to get locked up in an article about morals, we all have our own. Since we’re about Windows Phone(and I do believe in embracing technology), I’m going to share 3 ideas using your WP that can help bring patience back on board and help you avoid some of the common pitfalls become more common today. In the long run, your guidance will reaffirm to your children the importance of a greater sense of creativity and self.
So what are some healthy, stimulating, and creative activities you can do together with your kids on a Windows Phone? Here are 3 ideas.
We’re all aware of the incredible capabilities of the cameras most Windows Phones come with. Even the lower end devices take phenomenal photos, I speak from experience having had the 520. By the same token, most WP owners are by no stretch of the imagination, professional photographers. I speak with many people daily about photography and we’re all still learning and sharing tips.
Why not invest some of your growing knowledge and time with your children doing the same. Learn and share together. Kids love taking pictures! If you’re not convinced, hand your or their phone to them and encourage them to take some pics. There’ll be a hub of ‘selfies’ in no time at all. This is where we have to get involved. A ‘selfie’ is fun but limits the mind, our job is to expand their views past the tip of their nose. There’s a world of beauty all around and we’re supposed to introduce it to them, how to see it and capture it. Take the time to point out beautiful scenes worth taking a photo of and shoot it together or simply encourage them to look around themselves while traveling instead of gaming or texting. Even more fun, dedicate an hour where you can both go and shoot what you see.
Now that you’ve reeled off a ton of pics, its time to do something with them! It’s just as important to help them understand the capabilities of their camera’s post editing potential. As I mentioned above, many of us are learning as well. This is the perfect opportunity to sit with your children, share what you’ve learned, and do it together. A site that has REALLY helped me to gain confidence and knowledge is Nokia Conversations, I suggest taking a look.
Encourage your kids to play with settings, see what each does under different circumstances. Set up a spot you both can take pics of the same object with different settings/lighting and share your results with each other. Encourage them to do some post editing: cropping, reframing, maybe some cool filters, or maybe even something more artistic…who knows what they’ll come up with, kids imaginations are incredible with a little encouragement! Last, suggest some good photo apps for them to enjoy.
Lumia users have an incredible suite of photo apps from Nokia you can help your kids to familiarize themselves with. Fret not non-Lumia owners, the WP Store has a tremendous selection of apps geared toward photo projects whether it be for general editing, collage making, photo manipulation, or something more artistic.
In life we all need some way to express ourselves and say the things we need to say. Kids are no different. If all they do is play games, that need is not fulfilled and can lead to depression often going unnoticed.
One way you can help is by encouraging your child to utilize a WP as a journal. If you’re looking for something more comprehensive than an Office document, there are many types of apps that accomplish this. From normal journals, to quick mood check-ins, and even voice recorders for the non-typist, these type of apps or easy to find.
Encourage them to get in the habit of exploring how they feel that day, what might have caused those feelings(good or bad), and then record them. This might even open the door for them to start talking to you. Trust me as they get older, it gets harder to get them to do so!
Music is a large part of EVERY culture, it passes along local lore, traditions, and community. There are often changes in sound within every generation but music is still a reflection of us as people. It also has a tendency to leave a long lasting memory. I still remember listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire at the age of 5 with my parents and how much fun it was dancing in the living room. With our WP’s its easier than ever to do the same. Music however, has been condemned to the morning/afternoon commute or during the working hours. With multiple screens on at any given point, music in the home today is more often than not, accompanied by a listener with headphones on…not a shared experience.
It’s our job as parents to initiate activities like those of my childhood. Keeping lines of communication open and building memories. Do something different with your children and turn off the TV or screens for an evening and take turns sharing music. If you have a Bluetooth speaker use it. If not, plug your WP’s into your stereo and take turns playing music you enjoy. Let them share their tastes with you and vice versa.
I’ve found reading an artist’s bio, conveniently located in our WP’s Music Hub, always makes for fun conversation while listening with my children. There’s a genuine interest in good ole dad’s era. Inevitably, the conversation swings back to family.
That, ultimately, is what it’s all about: Enjoying our families, learning from our families, and sharing with our families.
As technology gains a stronger presence in all of our lives, Windows Phone continues to keep family in mind with versatile features like Rooms and Kids Corner. I am a family man and this is why Windows Phone best represents me.
As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts or suggestions on ways you keep engaged and involved with yours or somebody’s WinPhanKids world. Remember, just because you’re not a WinPhan parent doesn’t mean you’re not a WinPhan mentor!