Skype

Common Sense Media says

Video-calling site keeps people connected, most of the time.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Skype gives kids and families the ability to communicate face-to-face from any location; used in the right ways, it can bring people together.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The site occasionally reminds users to upgrade to a premium account.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

It's possible for strangers to attempt to add your kids as contacts, although they'd have to find their names or usernames to do so. If your kids have their own profiles, only fill in the required information; more details aren't necessary. Make sure your kids understand that they should not accept any unfamiliar friend requests, or even any friend requests at all, without you taking a look first. Teens may be mature enough to sign up for their own accounts, but younger kids can use parent accounts to talk to family and friends for maximum safety.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Skype is another way people can communicate online through video or by regular phone calls. It's reasonably intuitive to use. Although it occasionally has technical glitches, it can be great for families with a member who is often traveling or is living in another location. Keeping in touch with extended family and faraway friends can help kids feel connected to the people in their lives. For safest use, supervise your teens' Skype chats and have your younger kids use your account.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • presenting to others
  • speaking

Skills

Communication

  • friendship building
  • listening
  • speaking

Collaboration

  • group projects

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Skype can be an incredibly fun way to extend learning beyond the walls of your classroom. Although today's students may be more accustomed to digital communication, live video chats will still draw them in.

Learning Approach

Beyond bringing the outside world to your classroom, you can help students learn some of the ins and outs of video conferencing -- an important 21st-century communication skill.

Support

Skype's FAQ is very detailed and takes the guesswork out of making a call. Skype in the Classroom, a section aimed at educators, also offers lesson plans and additional ideas for application.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • presenting to others
  • speaking

Skills

Communication

  • friendship building
  • listening
  • speaking

Collaboration

  • group projects

Tech Skills

  • using and applying technology

Kids can improve their communication skills by using Skype. They'll learn to carefully listen to the person speaking through the screen and to think about their responses. Reading people's faces and hearing their tone of voice are dimensions of communication that email and text messaging don't capture. This site can help kids learn the importance of face-to-face interaction. Skype isn't perfect, but it can be an amazing tool for kids to learn about communicating with others.

This Learning Rating review was written by Polly Conway

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Kids say

What's it about?

SKYPE is a website that allows users to communicate using video and voice calls. Its basic features are free, but you also can access additional features such as group video calls or SMS, either by paying as you go or subscribing. To begin, download Skype onto your computer; when it's done installing, a log-in screen will appear. You can sign in using a Skype, Facebook, or Microsoft account. To add contacts, click the \"Add Contacts\" button and then type the person's name, Skype handle, or email address into the search box that pops up. Once you've added contacts, click on the name of the person you'd like to call; if there's a green light next to their name, they're already signed in and ready to receive your call. They'll answer, and you should be able to hear them. Turn on your webcam, if you have one, and you'll be able to see the person you're connected to. During your video call, you also can share screens or send files to the person you're talking to.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Skype is an incredible idea, and when it works, it's a world-changing free resource that's opened up communication for millions of people. But it can sometimes seem like one of those modern conveniences that's more trouble than it's worth. It's notoriously buggy; sometimes calls get dropped for no reason, or connectivity is terrible at random. It can be difficult to predict how well a Skype session will go for these reasons, but it's more likely to run smoothly if you have new, high-quality equipment. However, even at its fussiest, Skype has the potential to bring together families and other groups of people. There's nothing like face-to-face communication, and Skype's video calls get close to replicating that experience.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the ways people have used technology to communicate through history. What did they do before Skype, before email, before telephones? Explain that, for many years, the only way people could stay in touch was by writing letters. Ask your kids if they can imagine doing that today.

  • Talk to kids about the difference between video calls and regular phone calls. Which do they prefer? Why?

Website details

Genre:Social Networking
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Skype was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old January 3, 2014
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Great for age's 10 and up

Well I think that Skype is a great way to talk to your friends or family members. I think the rating should be 10 and up :)
What other families should know
Great messages
Safety and privacy concerns
Teen, 13 years old Written byemmygirl January 1, 2015
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Ok, but don't accept strange requests

It is fun for talking to friends, but you can get requests from anyone. Don't accept any strange requests.
What other families should know
Safety and privacy concerns
Teen, 13 years old Written bycoolteenager01 July 28, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

I think there's something you really have to know about Skype.

I think Skype is appropriate for any age. There are just some things I have to protest about. When you have problems with Skype and you want it to be fixed, you are begging on your knees for Skype to actually fix it! Even when you tell them your problems, they do not take you seriously and will not fix the problems that their angry customers nicely requested for them to fix. Even when you're an adult and ask them nicely to fix the glitches that you want to be fixed, they still do not listen. They do not listen to anybody's problems not even adult's. They are very manipulative, dishonest, and bad employees. They lied on their feedback page they said something about not responding to every amount of feedback but what they lied about was taking it seriously. They do not take it seriously at all with you. And in their Terms Of Use, they say they are not responsible for those types of glitches. Well, I think that's unreasonable for Skype to say that and not be responsible for the dang, freaking glitches! Common Sense Media thought the glitches were occasional but I think the glitches are frequent and are usually not fixed because Skype isn't willing to fix it. On the other hand, it would be a great way to stay in touch with families and friends who live far away. It's just when there are no problems with Skype, Skype has to screw it up! Yo, Skype employees, do you really have to not do what your customers request you to do? If you're a Skype employee, you should be ashamed of yourself for not improving your software. My recommendation is if you have Skype, you're better off looking for another chatting service.

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