Messenger Kids

Messenger kids

Good news for parents! Messenger Kids is now in the Philippines. Facebook recently announced it and I got to join the media briefing conducted by Facebook.

What is Messenger Kids?

Messenger Kids is an app designed for kids ages 6 to 12. They can talk to their friends, play games and learn! Check out Zeeka’s explanation for your kids.

What I like about Messenger Kids is that the parents have control over the people that their kids can talk to. They can also monitor the conversations. when you download the app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store today. This is a separate app from what we are using. You can download it from the device or gadget that your kids will use. It will need your authentication so it should be you who will download.

As you can see in the video above, Zeeka really loves it. It’s important for kids to also have study-life balance. Since they are away from their friends, this allows them to still connect with them.

For years, Facebook has been working with Youth Advisors, a team of experts in online safety, child development, and media, to help shape
the Messenger Kids app. Facebook also continues to consult child safety advocates and educators to ensure that the Messenger Kids app balances parental control with features that help kids learn how to connect responsibly online.


“Through our work with the Stairway Foundation, the Child Rights Network, and other safety partners in the Philippines, we learned that many Filipino parents are looking for ways to help their children stay in touch with friends and family during this challenging time, in a fun and parent-supervised environment. We hope that Messenger Kids will help them to continue to find ways to have fun, create, and engage with friends and family,” said Amber Hawkes, APAC Head of Safety, Facebook. 

“In a pandemic, children are not able to explore and socialize with friends the way they used to. Experiencing change and restrictions in both learning and play is especially challenging for children. We are glad to see that Messenger Kids has been designed with built-in parental controls and safety in mind, and also fun features that are age-appropriate and encouraging children to stay connected even as they are staying physically apart. We shall continue working with Facebook to help make the platform safe for children,” said Ace Diloy of the Stairway Foundation.

What I like about Messenger Kids

What i’ve noticed that with the other games, there are a lot of ads that are clickable. I just worry that Zeeka might be unintentionally sharing information onlne. Although my daughter is “tech-savvy-er” than other kids her age, I still worry since kids are still kids. I love that in messenger, there are no ads and no in-app purchases. Messenger Kids is also designed to be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).
 
What I’d like to see more of

I’d love to see more role playing games that help teach them how to be creative. Although the game where you take care of the pet is a role playing game, Facebook might want to consider introducing a world of it’s own (like Minecraft and Animal Crossing) within the app.

Have you tried Messenger Kids for your children? Did they like it? Did you like it? Comment on the comment section below.

To learn more about Messenger Kids, here are some resources:

Globe implements Network Upgrade

I’ve been a client of Globe for 12 years. I just found out because I got a text National G Day! And super happy so see that there are a lot of initiatives being spearheaded by Globe.

Today, I learned that Globe announced its largest network upgrade to date since it introduced data 10 years ago. This was in line with their nationwide network transformation program. This upgrade is so timely especially at a time when we business owners, parents with kids who are distance learning, employees working from home (practically everyone!) need faster data connectivity.

Globe Network Upgrade: 3 pronged strategy

The first is to  accelerate cell site builds to expand coverage and increase capacity for data.  With the strong support of ARTA and the recently signed Bayanihan to Recover As One or Bayanihan 2, the faster processing and release of various national and LGU permits are crucial to jumpstart the infrastructure builds to improve the country’s overall state of connectivity.  

The second is to upgrade all its sites to have 4G/LTE using many different frequencies, which are important for both coverage and speeds. With 4G everywhere, the whole country will be data-ready and capable to meet the increasing demands of customers for bandwidth and faster speeds.  

The third is to fast track the fiberization of Filipino  homes to improve data experience using wireline connectivity.  As Filipinos spend more time at home because of the lockdowns, Globe hopes to address the growing demand for home broadband with a much larger fiber footprint, using only the most advanced technologies.

All the network upgrades are expected to be completed by 2021. 

Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu said, “Globe is in a much better position now to fulfill the demands of its customers.  In heeding the call of the government, we shall endeavor to provide our customers with improved network performance and quality of service.  We look towards the future where our country would have a strong digital economy backed by  resilient and reliable connectivity.”

Globe is the country’s leader in mobile and hopes to cement its leadership in the broadband category. For 2020, the company committed to spend Php 50.3 billion in capex, majority of which will be spent on its network upgrade initiatives.   

The company previously released a series of network related updates  including the  build of 900 cellsites with five shared independent tower companies (towercos), securing 190 permits from 85 local government units (LGU), network upgrades in eight key areas of Visayas and Mindanao,  as well as putting up 32 new towers in several key barangays in Quezon City. Globe is also rolling out fiber lines in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Batangas, Cebu and Davao del Sur. The telco’s fiber roll out during the last 8 months  already represents a 51.4% increase over full year 2019.  To date, the company is proactively migrating customers from copper lines  to fiber free of charge.

I’m also excited for Globe’s 5G network, targeting areas in key locations such as Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Makati CBD, Rockwell Center, Ortigas CBD, strategic areas along EDSA and C5, Taguig, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Paranaque, Muntinlupa, Las Pin͂as, Valenzuela, and Caloocan. 

Aside from Globe network update, Globe is committed to support 10 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, such as UNSDG No. 9 on building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. To know more visit www.globe.com.ph

Practice Makes Perfect! with Akads PH

Before we talk about what AKADS PH is, for readers who have been reading my posts ever since, you may wonder what kind of parent I am.

Most of my friends think that I’m the type of parent who puts a lot of emphasis on academics — that my daughter should always get perfect scores for guaranteed success in the future. Lol! Contrary to that though, we actually don’t check on her grades. What we check up on though is if she learned something new during the day.

During dinner, we would normally ask her what she learned during the day and if she had a good day. Zeeka would then enthusiastically tell us about her day and what she learned.

In terms of helping her with homework, we make sure that we are there for her if she doesn’t understand certain parts of her assignment. She rarely comes to us really for help. We make sure she knows that it’s her responsibility to accomplish her tasks, read instructions, and submit it on time. She knows how to use apps. She knows how to print documents that needs to be printed. She knows how to reset the router if need be. Most importantly, she knows how to search and look for the answers online if she doesn’t understand something.

Akads PH

Recently, I asked her if she wanted help from a tutor for any of her subjects. She said that she really wants to be good in math and her exact words, “I need help on how to add 3 numbers quickly, mommy.” This is where I booked a session with Akads PH. I got to talk to Apa, too, one of the founders of AKADS PH.

Basically, AKADS PH is a site where you can book online college tutors who can help your kids work through and understand their lessons in Math, English, Filipino, Science and Chinese.

One 1 hour session is at Php 400 (Package price of 9+1 Sessions is at Php 3600). Php 360-400 per 1 hour session, in my opinion, is worth it!

I had Zeeka try out a Math session. The steps to book a session are the following:

  1. Go to http://akadsph.com/ (Click on Sign up for Free if this is your first session or directly book a session)
  2. Fill out the form.
  3. You will then receive a chat request on Viber from them. This is where they will send the name and picture of the tutor. If you have lesson plans, pages of the book, syllabi, notes, etc. that you want to share with them beforehand, feel free to message them back.

I was told that this was a temporary process though. They are improving the site so that the parents will be notified immediately once they find a tutor.

How was the session?

I asked Zeeka and she liked the number problems that were given because the examples were relatable. The tutor, Giulia, successfully explained the concepts by telling a story where Zeeka had to think of certain relatable situations. I like that she turned on her camera, too, so that she can establish rapport with the child. She was also very patient and professional.

What I like about the tutors form AKADS PH is that they are young, but competent individuals. They can teach well (they undergo a vetting process) and can give relatable examples using current popular things, people and scenarios.

The Reason Why I Signed Zeeka Up for this

I don’t believe that tutors are there just for times when your children are failing. I think that any tutors are there to supplement or to support your children in learning.

What we tell Zeeka is that practice makes perfect. Math, like other things in life, will be easy if you practice and practice. I guess she took that to heart and wanted to be proactive about it.

We can’t be there always to help her practice, and it’s nice to have someone else to talk to or to get someone else’s perspective on things. We think that the tutor will be able to provide this.

Also, having someone else to talk to (not her classmates and teachers… and US) can help her build her confidence, too, in talking to other people who she doesn’t really interact with often.

Lastly, she likes it! She had fun and I think that’s what matters most in learning new things. 🙂

If you want to try their services, just head over to http://akadsph.com/.

13 Educational Apps & Games For Your Kids

To support your child’s learning journey, educational apps and games can be excellent resources. There are plenty of options out there to suit every age group. To get you started with some fab ideas, try these thirteen educational apps and games for kids.

1 . Spelling Stage 

Spelling Stage is the perfect application to help kids who need support with spelling. The app provides a huge range of spelling lists and hundreds of different words.

The application is suitable for children aged 4 and up, and you can choose spelling lists based on ability. The ‘Spelling Stage’ game allows your children to join in various competitions and ‘spelling bees’ to master their skills. Your children can customize their own characters and use the 3D touch feature. Using the app, you’ll benefit from:

  • Word categories for all levels
  • New spelling bees added all the time
  • Free trial before committing to a subscription
  • Challenges with your friends and family

With so many great features to take advantage of, your child will be a spelling champion in no time at all!

2. Teach Your Monster To Read

Teach Your Monster to read is based on the phonics curriculum for preschool and kindergarten. This award-winning app will support your children to read with the help of cute monster characters. Children can master new words, segment, blend, and match letters and sounds. The app helps kids to develop the skills they need to make full sentences. The app is perfect for kids who are starting to learn to read or older children who need a little more support. Early phonics learning is so important to develop good reading skills; due to this, a little extra practice at home is advisable.

3. DuoLingo Kids 

DuoLingo Kids is a fantastic app to help your kids to learn a new language. Whether it’s French or Spanish, your children will love learning with these fun animal characters. DuoLingo lessons start with simple words and expressions and then move on to full sentences. Your children are bound to have a great time earning crowns and unlocking the harder levels. New language learning is advised from an early age (as it’s easier for young children to become fluent).

4. Kids Academy Talented & Gifted 

The Kids Academy is an AI build program featuring games, adaptive tech, and a personalized experience. The program includes more than 5,000 different activities, including videos, worksheets, songs, and puzzles. This application includes topics such as social studies, reading, math, science, and arts. Features of Kids Academy include:

  • Unique animated characters 
  • A kid-friendly rewards system
  • Content presentation for different age groups

Kids Academy offers activities for preschool children up to the age of 10 years old. Using this app, kids can build their confidence, practice their problem subjects, learn new things, and have fun.

5. Moose Math 

The Moose Math application teaches your children about subtraction, sorting, geometry, and counting to 100. The program was created for preschool-age children who are just starting to learn about Maths. Your children will have plenty of fun with the wide variety of games. Whether it’s running a juice shop or pet bingo, there’s plenty to do and learn! The Moose Math application will teach them lots of skills, such as:

  • Pattern recognition
  • Comparing the lengths of objects
  • Identify shapes 
  • Solve word problems

Some children just don’t enjoy maths at school, but with Moose Math, your kiddies are bound to have plenty of fun (without even realizing it’s schoolwork)!

7. DragonBox Algebra 5 +

The DragonBox Algebra 5 + app is an excellent tool for helping young kids to get a head start in algebra and maths. With DragonBox, kids can learn about linear equations, setting them up to excel in maths. The game is fun and engaging, helping children to grasp algebra in their own time. The basic concepts covered include multiplication, addition, and division. Once your child is a real maths whizz, you’ll be glad you downloaded DragonBox!

8. Monkey Word School Adventure

Using this app, your kids get to go on a jungle adventure, exploring spelling, phonics and letters, with monkey and his friends. The lessons include letter recognition, word components, consonant blends, irregular vowels, digraphs, and more! To help your little ones get to grips with reading, Monkey Word School Adventure is the perfect app! Not all children enjoy reading right away, and so a little extra help at home is just what they need.

Top features of the app include:

  • Six different interactive games
  • The difficulty adjusts automatically as you play
  • Simple to use- designed for kids
  • Cute rewards like chameleons, frogs, and butterflies 

To develop excellent reading skills, regular practice is essential. The application is perfect for use after school and at the weekends.

9. Tell the Time Game

As well as apps, there are plenty of kids games and puzzles to educate your children. One great option is the ‘Tell The Time Game’ by Orchard Toys. It’s a lotto-style board game that teaches children to read both analog and digital time formats. 

The game is suitable for children aged 5-9 years. First, the cards are placed face down on the table, and each player chooses a board. Next, each player has a turn to take a card and read the time. The other children need to match the time with an activity on the game board. Examples include, ‘What time do you eat breakfast?’ or ‘What time do you go on a school trip? 

10. Melissa & Doug Flip To Win Memory Game 

Flip-to-Win is a simple memory game, suitable for kids aged 5-7 years. The game comes complete with themed cards, sliding scorekeepers, and a wooden frame. It’s a great game to take on your travels and is small enough for little kids to handle. The illustrations are beautiful and engaging with plenty of themes from the zoo to fruit. Your kids will have hours of fun hiding and matching these cute picture cards.

11. Times Tables Heroes

Here is the perfect game to introduce kids to their 2, 5, and 10 times tables. The game is designed to help kids understand the sequencing and grouping of numbers. Once your kids have got to grips with the basics, they can have a go at the multiplication pancake game. The idea is to stack as many pancakes as possible on the plate and then spin a spinner. The spinner reveals which times table you should practice, and you can flip the pancakes to find out the answers.

12. Loopy Llamas

Loopy Llamas is a fun-filled game themed around the idea of a llama pool party! Players get to take it in turns to move around the pool, collecting colored rings along the way. The idea is to stack the colored rings on your 3D llama, and then have a race to be the first in the pool! It’s an educational game that helps children to learn about color recognition and patterns. The game is suitable for ages 4-8 years old.

13. Alphabet Express Floor Puzzle 

Kids who love puzzles will have a blast with this 10-foot extended animal alphabet. Puzzles are an excellent entertainment source for both younger and older children; these puzzle pieces are large and thick (so they are safe for little ones too). When your kids feel a little restless at home, a puzzle is a great activity to unwind and relax. It’s an excellent activity to do with your kids at home.

To support your children’s educational journey, it’s essential to make their home learning as fun as possible!

Mompreneurs: Tip For Creating A Better Work-Life Balance

Mompreneurs, such amazing people! Seriously though. Imaging juggling all of these tasks and responsibilities. Mompreneurs always come up to me asking for better ways to manage their time. There are always things you can do to enhance the way you juggle your life as a mompreneur. Time management is oftentimes our struggle. This is the reason why we chose this as a topic for our Lean In PH Circle session for this month.

Whether you’re a new mom in business, or you’ve been managing a company for years, here are some tips that may help you improve your work-life balance, and perhaps even free up some time for you!

Give Kids Responsibilities

You don’t have to, and you shouldn’t have to do everything alone. While your partner should be doing their share of housework, your kids can help, too. This is the best time to teach them different values that you want to pass on — from a sense of ownership, commitment to responsibilities, etc.

Giving kids chores helps them to start having respect for their home environment. Tasks to give to your children can range from feeding the dog to emptying the bins. The fact is, every little thing helps, particularly when you’re trying to make your home life and business more functional. 

Nightly Prep 

Struggling to find something you need just before you need to leave the house becomes a routine part of most mom’s lives every morning. Actually, now that we are always at home, the entire household runs to you and assumes that you know where everything is.

Whether trying to find your daughter’s missing notebook for school or locating the shirt that your husband wants to wear for an important call, there’s always “something” that goes missing when you need it most. 

To save yourself the stress, why not prep everything you need the night. This means shirts, notebooks, bills, shoes, etc. Having everything prepared and ready will make your mornings go much more smoothly.

Start With The Most Important Tasks First

Picture by Jopwell from Pexels

When you’re tackling business issues during the day, try not to drift off and deal with tasks that have little to no impact on your company. Instead, start with the to-do’s that are difficult or you’ve been putting off for a while. In doing so, you’ll feel accomplished, and it’ll give you the motivation to handle the next priority in line with confidence. 

Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves. – Dale Carnegie, American writer.

Simplify and Streamline Processes

To streamline and automate processes that consume a lot of your time, look for software to take care of areas of your business for you. 

For instance, hr software from Elmosoftware assists you in consolidating numerous HR processes onto one system. A few of the areas they can take care of include talent acquisition, payroll, and maximizing employee performance. 

With everything HR-related in one space, available for you to access 24/7 online, managing your employees will be easier and less time-consuming. Meaning you can concentrate on the areas of the company you love most.

Increase Productivity at Work

To maximize the time you have available to complete work projects, try using an application, such as Pomodoro. 

Pomodoro enables you to complete tasks in short bursts, with mini intervals to rest and make yourself a hot drink. Apps like Pomodoro are perfect for mompreneurs who are limited on time and need to improve productivity while working.

To ensure your life and business can thrive, consider including the small changes mentioned above into your existing routine.

Do you have other tips for mompreneurs that you want to share? Share it with me in comment section below!