We are in a new world and children today are growing up with a completely different life experience from their parents or generation before.
These days, every parent will acknowledge that it seems their kids are operating smartphones and tablets shortly after they are born. You are more likely to see a 2 year old baby clutching mom’s or dad’s phone to play games or watch videos. Many of us parents, never held on to any ‘smart’ technology till we got into the university. Many more, probably, only read about it. But today’s kids have been able to take happy moments out of the garden, straight into the living room.
The good thing is, with our children’s level of access to technology and a greater ability to understand and use it, an average kid today has access to more information than a whole country would have, hundreds of years ago. With smart devices, kids can use application to learn how to read, write and spell, all while mommy is making dinner. They can get to read, view images or videos of all the Seven Wonders of the World. They get to know about our solar system, galaxies or the evolution of man.
Interestingly, Schools are also embracing the use of technology as a way to empower our kids in educational environments. Computers can be used to do homework, play online spelling games, and improve language skills. Video games have been proven today to improve and encourage developmental skills such as hand-eye coordination, while some motion-controlled active games like Nintendo Wii or Xbox Kinetic can promote physical activities, like dancing.
Today, the use of technology for kids is a source for learning and fun at the same time.
However, there are also many bad sides to the use of smart technologies by our kids. This include, causing kids to have short-attention span. There are evidences that children exposed to increased use of technology end up being easily distracted. Not just that, they also miss out on real-life social interaction with people. They have less friends, and the use of these smart devices often interferes with their homework. They do less physical activities and may be exposed to adult contents, especially in the use of online-activated devices. We have to also be very cautious in the continuous stare at screens like television, computer or tablet. It may have a long term effect on the eyes.
As parents, we may find it easy to let our kids continue to play with technology, especially when they say they are bored. But we have to find ways to create limits because of the disadvantage of the continuous use of these technological devices. We can control it; and here are a few tips
- Do not put a TV in the kids room
- When the children are having a meal, or not watching a particular programme on TV, or doing their homework; switch it off
- Limit the screen time. Whether it is TV, tablet or video games, make sure you set limit to the amount of time they will spend with these devices. You can set a couple of hours per day.
- Encourage kids to play outside
- Have family time. Either you go get Pizzas, visit the cinema, play hide and seek or plan a family vacation.