- Our Take
- The MASKMatters App In-Depth
- Pros and Cons of the MASKMatters App
- MASKMatters App Compared
- Who is MASKMatters For?
If you are a parent who is worried about your child staying safe online, then the MASKMatters App could soon be your new favorite tool. As kids get introduced to technology earlier and earlier, you must prepare your child for the various online dangers they may face like scams, predators, and misinformation—this app can help.
Even if you think you are up to date on the latest scams, are you keeping your children in the loop and teaching them how to protect themselves? If you struggle to bring up sensitive topics like internet safety with your child or are unsure why kids need to stay safe online, check out the free MASKMatters app.
The MASKMatters app is a collection of all the resources the Mother Awareness On School-Age Kids (MASK) provides, with a particular focus on technology-related issues. The app takes the hassle out of Googling and researching ways to keep your kids and teens safe from harm and online scammers and teaches you how to educate them properly.
The MASKMatters App In-Depth
The MASKMatters app is great for anyone trying to build a better connection with the child in their life and set them up for success in the future. Creating a platform with matching lessons for kids and adults provides the opportunity for discussion and your kids to ask questions.
The app includes educational videos that correspond to the account type chosen by the user.
Videos for students include:
- Cyber Safety
- Being safe online?
- Feeling unsafe online?
- Do you protect yourself online?
Videos for teachers include:
- Screen Time
- Being Safe Online
- 4 Digital Safety
- Digital Reputation 101
Videos for parents include:
- Screen Time
- Is your child safe online?
- Digital Reputation 101
Videos available in Spanish include:
- Internet Dangers (Peligros en el Internet)
These videos are a great place to start if you are unsure about what information should be protected online and how you can relay that information to your children. Plus, each student video is designed to have a matching parent or teacher video so you can both learn the same information and can discuss it later on.
Printable charts, contracts, posters, and activities are available on the app and are meant to be used by parents and teachers as a conversation starter concerning tech safety.
A few examples include the “Cyber Safety Rules” poster, the Cyber Safety Contract, and the “What You Can Do” chart. These printable resources are designed to help your child understand the serious nature of cyber safety and protecting themselves online.
The ASK MASK section of the app is only available on the student version. It is a safe place for kids to ask their uncomfortable questions free of judgment.
While this is an excellent way for kids to get their questions answered, it could be improved if the answers weren’t generic or auto-generated and had a broader search option.
MASK Live Videos and Podcasts
It is always nice to know where information is coming from and if the source is credible, which is why the MASKMatters app allows users to listen and learn with an expert. Each MASK Live segment covers a specific topic in-depth and teaches parents how to handle the issue.
For example, they have an episode titled “Digitally Raised,” which features a professor from Arizona State University who is a leader in Digital Media and Journalism. During this episode, they talk about how content that kids and teens post online can come back to haunt them in the future when they are applying for colleges or jobs.
While the short versions of MASK Live are available on the MASK YouTube channel, the MASKMatters app is the only place where you can find the extended versions and the podcast versions.
Pros and Cons of the MASKMatters App
There is no doubt the MASKMatters app has quality information and helpful tips, but there are some improvements that could be made to make it more effective and valuable to kids, teens, parents, and teachers.
The best part about the MASKMatters app is that it doesn’t focus on only one issue. All of the resources mentioned above are also available for other topics, including:
- Bothering vs. bullying
- Building self-esteem
- Peer pressure
- Drugs and alcohol
- It is a free app that provides valuable resources.
- The app has content that successfully conveys adult messages in a way that children can understand.
- It is a combination of all the resources MASK provides in one convenient app available right at your fingertips.
- It has some content that is not available anywhere else, e.g., MASK Live extended versions.
- Although the app is meant to be used by adults and children, it seems that adult versions, such as the parent versions, are more developed with more content and resources than the student or Spanish versions.
- Many of the app links take you out of the app and to the MASK website.
MASKMatters App Compared
There are not many apps that are like the MASKMatters app. Some apps such as “The Happy Child” or “Baby Tips” are similar to the MASKMatters app as far as promoting stronger relationships within families. However, none of them focus on technology-related issues the way the MASKMatters app does.
Plus, the MASKMatters app focuses not only on relationships within families but also on other relationships with teachers or other trusted adults. MASK understands that kids don’t always listen to their parents, so they encourage you to communicate with other adults in your children's lives so they aren’t getting mixed messages.
Who is MASKMatters For?
The MASKMatters app is made for children of all ages as well as parents and teachers. When you first sign up, you will be asked to pick an account type, and the choices include:
- Elementary Student
- Junior High Student
- High School Student
- College Student
- Teacher for Pre-K
- Teacher for Elementary
- Teacher for JR High
- Teacher for High School
- Teacher for College
- Parent for Pre-K
- Parent for Elementary
- Parent for Jr High
- Parent for High School
- Parent for College