In a 2013 survey of teens, Pew Research Center found that 95 percent of teens use the Internet and 47 percent of teens own smartphones. One in four teens identified themselves as cell-mostly users, indicating they primarily go online with a mobile device. With this kind of usage, the Internet is becoming a pervasive part of childhood and adolescence.
In this technological climate, how are parents to spend quality time with their child? Despite any animosity you might hold, the Internet can be your friend. You can use the smartphone your children are infatuated with during family game night by downloading some exciting and easy-to-use apps. And, if you do not have a smartphone handy, there are still ways you can download games onto your computer your whole family will enjoy.
Thrilling Gaming Apps for Your Smartphone
While board games have their place, sometimes it’s fun to mix it up by using an iPad, computer, tablet or smartphone. Scrabble is a classic word game that now has a Scrabble App. You can enjoy all the features common to the board game while being able to connect with other friends over the Internet on Facebook. If you want to make this a part of your family game night, there is also a pass-and-play option available, allowing multiple players to compete from your living room. This app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android phones. According to consumer reviews on commonsensemedia.org, this game allows for learning in a fun and self-directed way that is excellent for all ages.
Along the same lines, interactivity knows no bounds in Just Say It!, an app that works very much like the popular board game Taboo. In this multi-player battle of wits, you are given a word which your teammates must guess, along with a series of words that cannot be used as clues. You must race the clock and have your teammates guess more words correctly than the opposing team to win. This app is compatible with both iPad and iPhone.
‘Smart’ Apps for your Smartphone
If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, you want to try The Night Sky app, compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android. This app gives you access to encyclopedic knowledge about the stars and allows kids to be able to track satellites and identify constellations with ease. It turns learning about astronomy into a game. Product reviews on commonsensemedia.org indicate this app uses your smartphone or tablet’s internal GPS to track the movement of stars, providing you with accurate, up-to-date data about the universe.
Yes, Computer Games Still Exist!
Apps are also available for download directly onto your computer from sites such as Facebook. Everybody Draws is an app available on Facebook that follows the same basic concept as Pictionary. You create visual depictions of everyday words and others try to guess what you are drawing. This game can be enjoyed either as a family or online. Connect with your Facebook friends and you to play even when you are not around each other.
Another Facebook application, Song Pop, is designed to support single-player use, but can be played as a family, competing against any of the one million users of this game. Song Pop plays snippets from a song from a variety of genres and asks players to correctly identify the singer of each song. Players compete against real-life opponents and the app configures weekly rankings based on your performance. This game is endlessly exciting and new tracks are added as your scores rise.
Ginger is a mom and avid reader from the Northwest. She runs a small consulting business from her home and enjoys writing about parenting and social media trends.