Ballymena Today recently heard Sophie Ellis-Bextor on Radio 2 chatting about her 10 year old son and his love of technology and we like her attitude.

“He’s setting up his own YouTube channel. He’s just really into technology and I think if they’ve got a passion you’ve got to try to make it into something thats progressive and creative rather than just something that they do when they are supposed to be doing something else.”

Here are some good ways to encourage your children to use technology for something creative rather than just for passing the time.

1/ Start an online journal – Set up an Instagram account, and set it to private and challenge your children to document one photograph a day. Click here to see other Apps which are child friendly including a comic strip creator or start up a YouTube channel like Sophia’s son for vlogs. When your child is online be careful to ensure that their profiles are private so you can keep control of who can see them and who cant.

2/ Plan a Geocaching Treasure hunt – Geocaching is a new form of the old fashion treasure hunt which uses GPS coordinates to locate log books. Once the log book is located people sign them and move on to the next location. The National Trust have several locations where they run Geocaching hunts including Divis and the Black Mountain. We would love to see other National Trust sites setting this up – child friendly and a good day out.

3/ Look out for Computer Games which teach coding – Coding is a big deal and kids will take to it much more easily than adults. Why? Because they are keen, inquisitive and aren’t scared to make a mistake. Games like Cargo-Bot for the i-pad uses coding concepts to operate robots moving crates. Lightbot also using coding and programming ideas to control a little robot. There are lots of other online resources for learning code. Older children and adults can check out websites like to try “an hour of code”.

(Featured image: Lucélia Ribeiro; Creative Commons; Other photos via wikipedia &

The Ballymena Today Youth Team are kids who have lots to say and have employed the Internet to help them tell their stories. Click here to see what the Ballymena Today Youth Team have been up to so far and let us know if you or your kids have been embracing technology.