childrens corner

Keeping in Touch with Friends Over the Summer

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by Rebecca Alwine

Moving trucks are filling the streets of installation housing communities and neighborhoods surrounding military bases, and while parents are saying goodbye to friends, children are also struggling with goodbyes.

For some it is their first move and others are saying goodbye to yet another group of friends. Mantras like, “It’s a small army, we’ll see each other again soon” and “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later” are passed around but the truth of the matter is, it’s hard to say goodbye and it can be hard to keep in touch.

But with today’s technology, there are many ways for children to keep in touch with friends and family — no matter where they live this year. However, with all of these options comes concern for safety and security. There are several ways for parents to closely monitor their child’s activity on the internet or other electronic devices. Circle with Disney, is a device that manages all electronic devices in the home that connect to your wifi router. It can set bedtimes, time limits, and filter what is accessed by each device. Parents rave about the device, many saying it is essential for their family.

Kids are all about technology, and they probably know what SnapChat and Instagram are, even if you don’t. But just because they know about it and their friends have it, doesn’t mean it is right for your kid. Remember, today’s parents survived most of high school and college without a cell phone, let alone a smart phone.

Traditional options to keep in touch

While these may not be as appealing to teenagers or to those who already have been exposed to cool apps on their phones, these options are still fun.

Letters and postcards Even adults get excited about receiving mail! Consider having your child purchase some fun postcards or stationery and write their friends.

Emails Email certainly is faster and can still very easily be monitored. Have your younger children learn to type an email in a non-internet program and then copy and paste it into your email.

Care Packages Get a flat rate box and allow your children to fill it up for their friends. This is a great option if you have family friends who moved, as the whole family can participate.

New, techy ways of communicating

Skype

Just like many military children have used Skype to talk to deployed parents, Skype is a great way for them to talk to other military kids. And the probably already know how to use it.

FaceTime

If everyone involved has an iPhone or iPad, FaceTime is an option. It’s similar to Skype and Google Hangouts, and can be used to connect Apple devices.

Google Hangouts

A great bonus to Google hangouts is that you can easily video chat with more than one person. So for all of those groups of friends that are spread out, they can easily chat together for free.

Encourage your children to reach out and stay in touch with their friends. Some relationships will last forever and others will naturally fizzle, but there is never any harm in sending a note or card to a friend, even if a lot of time has passed.