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Teach your kids to give this holiday season

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AP

Does your child enjoy using the computer, your smart phone, or your tablet? These new tools not only provide entertainment, but also opportunities to teach children about giving back and making the world a better place.

Since kids today live in a "wired" world, parents have the chance to expose their children to philanthropy in a very modern way, using innovative tools and games that help connect the world together. Here are five ideas for how you can use these amazing tools to provide your kiddos a personal experience with charity.

1. Connect with news sites online.  News stories are a great way to teach your child about different challenges that people encounter in their lives. Selecting a few, you can ask your child what they could do to help. Try to find stories with strong visuals, like videos or pictures, or a connection with an individual person.  They will provide a stronger impact and impetus for empathy.

2. Visit charity websites.  Here, you can show kids what different types of charities do, and how people can help. For example, you can show how people help at the American Red Cross by donating blood, at Goodwill by donating used clothes, and at a hometown shelter by serving food to people who are hungry.

3. Take advantage of interactive games, web-based games, or game apps that show children how their contributions matter.  Check out freerice.com, which donates 10 grains of rice for every correct answer. Or try Wetopia together, a Facebook game where players collect “joy”, which translates into donations for various charities. Or download Raise the Village, an iPhone game similar to Farmville.  

4. Find other kids who are working with charities.  Real-life examples of kids working around the world to make it a better place are proof that you don’t have to be a grown-up to do good things. The Global Game Changers book app features three real-life kids who have done what they can to make the world a better place!

5. Encourage your child to use their talents and passions to make the world a better place and utilize the Internet to get it done.  There are many websites that allow you to start fundraising online for your favorite charity! Participate in a real-world event as a family, but show your kids how you can raise money from friends across the country by using online tools like raceraiser.com, for example, or the site related to your walk/run!    

Engaging in philanthropy will make your child a better person and a better citizen their entire life. Using these tips, you can show your kids that the power to make a difference lies within them and that they can have fun doing it. Help them to fill in their own equation, “My Talent + My Heart = My Superpower!” The hope is to inspire a young generation of givers who can answer the questions: what’s your favorite way of giving back, what talents do you have that can help others and what charitable initiatives are you passionate about just as easily as they could tell you their favorite sport, school subject or on-line game.

Jan Helson is CEO of Pixel Entertainment and creator of The Global Game Changers brand.