Like it or not, technology is going to have a huge role in your children’s life. So, while you might be tempted to shield them from the dangers of too much ‘tablet time,’ it’s something you will find harder as time goes by. Tech for kids is everywhere, from the silly little games you have for them on your smartphone to the education system. They are surrounded by it – and will grow up with it.
However, we all know that too much screen time or games playing can be terrible for our children. It can lead to obesity, sleep problems, and issues with a broad range of things such as social integration and problem-solving skills. It’s important, then, that we all take care to introduce technology to our children the right way – and we’re going to take a look at how you can do that right now.
Age appropriate and educational
Using a tablet, smartphone or computer can benefit your children in many ways, but, of course, there are many dangers. The first is that there is plenty of inappropriate content out there which simply isn’t suitable for children of a particular age. Your job is to screen everything they use, prompting them towards educational content rather than a constant stream of fun games.
Addition, not replacement
Using technology to enhance learning is an excellent way to give your children a boost in the right direction. However, technology should not be used as a replacement. It’s OK to read them an ebook from the iPad rather than a hardback version, for example. But you should still encourage them to do things like hand write on paper as well as recognize letters on a keyboard.
Another significant danger is the length of time we let our children spend in front of a screen. It’s all too easy to hand children a tablet if they are playing up, but there is a worrying trend starting to occur in the kids of today. Many young children are unable to deal with boredom and levels of imaginative play and creativity are on the wane. It’s vital, then, that you set strict limits on the time your kids spend with your iPad.
Coding and building
If you want to give your child an advantage for the future, teach them to code and build their own technology. It will help them become problem solvers, give them a sense of achievement, and develop many other skills. You can start with something very simple – the Raspberry Pi Zero, for example, or use one of the many free kids coding platforms that exist right now. Who knows – perhaps this early start with coding and building tech could lead to your child creating something that could benefit everyone one day in the not-too-distant future.
Finally, ensure your tech is locked down with all the latest security updates, privacy settings, and child locks for search engines. Be wary of everything they do. Young children have no need to use the Internet, but they will seek out information online for any number of topics as they get older. It is vital that you know what they are looking at is entirely appropriate and safe.
Let us know your thoughts about kids and tech in the comments section below!