When you work with kids it’s crucial to know what they are doing with their time, particularly how they spend their screen time. Popular technology becomes viral and obsolete very quickly, and by the time adults start using a “new” type of technology, chances are the kids have already found something newer and better. The best way to know what kids are doing is surprisingly easy: just ask. Kids are more than eager to tell you about what makes these activities important to them. And while you don’t need to pursue the same interests (such as listening to their music or playing their favorite video games), it helps to be aware of popular activities.
In order to help clinicians who work with children be up to date on the latest technology and how it is used, the LW4K intern staff (all under the age of 25) provides ongoing lists of the most popular games, apps, technology, and social media tools. The following is an extended list of games, apps, and technology that can help clinicians engage in conversations with kids. We provide the basics and links along with them so that it is easy for clinicians to learn more. If you start hearing about something new from the kids you are working with, let us know in the comment section so we can update our listing for other clinicians.
What Kids Are Doing Today: Games, Apps, Terms and Technology to Know
Call of Duty (COD): This video game was one of the most popular first person shooters to be created and released. Game modes include Story Mode, Special Operations, and Multiplayer (online). There are many different versions of this game, all revolving around war and the history/significance of war. Check the link below for more on Call of Duty:
Facebook: One of the pioneers of social media platforms, Facebook allows users to connect and interact with family and friends for free at any time. Users have the ability to befriend/unfriend others, customize their profiles, and post content, as well as share others’ content. Check the link below for more on Facebook: What is Facebook and What Does it Do?
Fortnite: This multiplayer game is currently the most popular game. One hundred users per server land on an island, and the last person standing wins the match. Users can play by themselves on their own or squad up with friends and take on other players together. It’s all about finding the best weapons and harvesting materials so you can take over the island.
Check the link below for more on Fortnite:
Grand Theft Auto (GTA): This notorious video game is about being an all-time criminal. Story Mode and Multiplayer mode enable users to play with others or by themselves. The game gives users the ability to let their minds run free and be creative as they concoct ways to succeed and win.
Check the link below for more on Grand Theft Auto:
Hulu: This platform is a popular streaming service that offers all kinds of movies, television shows, and documentaries. Users are able to employ this platform for free (which comes with a substantial amount of advertising) or with a paid subscription plan. Check the link below for more on Hulu: How Does Hulu Work?
Instagram: This is a very popular free social media platform where users can post pictures, videos, and mini-albums to share with their followers. Users can follow friends, family, and even public figures so to see what other people post. Check the link below for more on Instagram:
Minecraft: Debatably the most popular game for kids around the ages of 6-14, Minecraft is a sandbox game in which players can build virtually anything they want and explore a vast world. Some compare it to a computer version of Legos that is endless and offers opportunities for creativity. It has a creative mode, where materials are easily accessible for building, and a survival mode, where dangers built into the game can destroy what a player has created.
Check the links below for more on Minecraft:
Minecraft and Learning (A listing of Minecraft articles)
Musical.ly: This app (now called TikTok) is a video social media platform where users can record themselves with a 15-second video or broadcast live to other users. It is meant solely to showcase users’ musical talent or love for music in general. This is a fairly new platform that is gaining a lot of global attention, especially in the music industry.
Check the link below for more on Musical.ly: What is Musical.ly?
Netflix: The most popular streaming service out there right now, Netflix is home to thousands of movies, television shows, and documentaries. It’s very similar to Hulu, but on a higher scale. Through a paid subscription, viewers can watch whatever they want at any time with no advertising. Check the link below for more on Netflix: What is Netflix?
Pandora: This is a popular music streaming service that has been around longer than other known music platforms. Pandora can be used free (this comes with advertising) or with a paid subscription. Users can listen to radio stations and any music they want and can create their own playlists. Check the link below for more on Pandora: Guide to Pandora Internet Music Streaming
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUB-G): Similar to Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUB-G) is a multiplayer game where players are in a set territory, and the last one standing wins the match. Players find weapons and come up with different strategies in order to survive the fight. This can be played by individuals singly or with a team of friends. Check the link below for more on PUB-G: What is PUB-G?
Reddit: This social media and discussion platform is different from others in that subscribers can post links to certain content or startups for discussion about a certain topic, and other subscribers can vote whether the content is useful to them or not. Users can start a discussion “thread” and post content for others or simply contribute to a discussion. Check the link below for more on Reddit: What is Reddit?
Roblox: Somewhat similar to Minecraft, Roblox lets players create their own games and game types. They can build to their liking and play games that other players have created or create their own game(s) and have other players be a part of the creation. Check the link below for more on Roblox: Roblox 101
Snapchat: This free social media platform is one of the newer forms and has innovated the way we communicate with one another. Users send pictures/videos to their friends with a timer on them (maximun is 10 seconds for pictures), so once the content has been seen it automatically disappears. Users can also post “stories” in which all of their friends can see what is on the story for 24 hours before it disappears automatically. Check the link below for more on Snapchat: What is Snapchat?
Spotify: A very popular music streaming service, this is similar to Pandora, but newer and on a much higher scale. This can be used for free (with advertising) or with a paid subscription, and users can listen to any music they want. Users can also create playlists and follow their favorite artists so that their new music is the first thing they come across. Check the link below for more on Spotify: What is Spotify?
Steam: This is a streaming platform where, instead of streaming music or video content, users stream themselves or others playing a game. They can also distribute game information and software with other players online.
Check the link below for more on Steam: How Does “Steam” Work?
Texting: Texting is now the normal way we interact with one another (besides face-to-face). By exchanging phone numbers, users can text friends and family instantly without having to call them.
Check the link below for more on texting: What is Texting?
Tumblr: One of the older but still popular social media platforms, Tumblr gives users the ability for complete customization of their profiles and image, letting them choose how others see them and how they see themselves. Users can can post memes, gifs, pictures, songs, videos, and more and can reblog others’ posts so they appear on their profiles. There are no chat rooms or places for instant interaction, it’s all about building user profiles and having others follow these so they can see what is posted. Check the link below for more on Tumblr: What is Tumblr?
Twitch: Similar to Steam, Twitch lets users stream their own gaming, and other users can watch or comment to the side. Twitch is a bit more popular than Steam: there have been multiple sights of celebrities using Twitch, and popular users make money from their performance and audience levels. Check the link below for more on Twitch: Everything You Need To Know About Twitch
Twitter: One of the best known social media platforms today, Twitter is the platform where users post “tweets” and their followers can see what they tweet. Users can share the content that others put out so it can be on their profiles, as well. It is the home of the infamous hashtag – this one symbol (#) can make almost any topic be a trend and potentially give it a worldwide audience. Check the link below for more on Twitter: What is Twitter and How Does it Work?
YouTube: This social media platform has been around for years and is still extremely popular. YouTube is the platform where users can find videos on most any topic. Users can also make profiles so they can share their own videos and have others subscribe to them. YouTube just recently made itself a streaming service so subscribers can watch television and movies and stream music. Check the link below for more on YouTube: What is YouTube?
Mobile Phone Apps and Games
These games and streaming services are accessible on computers or consoles can be accessed on mobile phones, as well. Apps on iPhones, iPads, or other smart devices are a large portion of downloadable content, especially games. Here is a list of some of the most popular and trending mobile phone apps and games today:
Candy Crush Saga: This is a simple matching game where players encounter a board with pieces of candy, and the goal is to find three of the same candy in a row to earn points. It’s a globally known game, and there are worldwide leaderboards keeping track of players with the highest/best scores. Check the link below for more on Candy Crush Saga: Candy Crush Saga: Everything You Need to Know
Clash of Clans: This is a popular strategy game where players try to form an army so they can battle opponents and earn points. Players can play computer bots or against their friends and try to win the most battles to earn the most points. Check the link below for more on Clash of Clans: Why Clash of Clans is So Popular
Fire Emblem Heroes: This is a typical role playing game where users pick characters to fight against others. This is so popular because it is a spinoff of a previous video game series, Fire Emblem. Check the link below for more on Fire Emblem Heroes: What is Fire Emblem Heroes?
Pokemon Go: Based on the anime show Pokemon, Pokemon Go is a mobile phone game where players come across all kinds of Pokemon, depending on where they are. It’s an augmented reality game in which players have to move around and visit actual places to find different and even more rare Pokemon and can battle others. Check the link for more on Pokemon Go: What is Pokemon Go?
Toon Blast: Similar to Candy Crush Saga, Toon Blast is a game where players face a board full of colorful blocks and have to find three or more blocks in a row to earn points. The more combinations they make, the faster they level up. Check the link below for more on Toon Blast: What You Need To Know About Toon Blast
As noted above, iPhones, iPads, and other smart devices are what most people have nowadays, making it easier to download apps and games:
Apple Watch: The newest addition to the Apple collection, Apple Watch not only tells the time but also acts as a phone on one’s wrist. People can answer calls, return texts, and download apps with it.
iPhone: Undoubtedly the most popular mobile phone in the world, the iPhone lets people call, text, and download apps at the click of a button.
iPad/iPad Mini: A huge addition to the iPhone, the iPad can download apps whenever one is, just without calling or texting. This Apple tablet can be taken anywhere, similar to one’s phone.
Samsung Galaxy: The legendary smartphone that doesn’t have to do with Apple, the Samsung Galaxy can do whatever the iPhone does, including download apps, but many people prefer the device without a bitten apple on its back.
Here are a few links showing what it’s like instantly to download an app or game right onto a smart device:
Mobile App Store – Apple: This link takes iPhone and iPad users to the mobile app store. It looks just like the normal desktop app store and is just as convenient, if not more.
Mobile App Store – Samsung: This link takes Samsung users to the mobile app store, more specifically the Samsung Galaxy. Although almost all apps are the same between Apple and Samsung, each company has a few different ones to which only their users have access.
LearningWorks for Kids – Games & Apps
When you visit the LearningWorks for Kids website, you’ll come across a variety of fun and educational games and apps that your children can try on their own! Here are a few links to these games and apps: