- Charis Chio
Children and Technology - How to Strike the Right Balance
Does your child often ask for your mobile or any other digital device?
If you have been feeling guilty for not being able to curb your child's growing fascination towards a phone, tablet or any other device, then it's time you stop feeling that way.
Believe it or not, a whopping ninety-eight percent of families with children now have smartphones or digital devices. Children starting from as early as 10 months are becoming more digitally driven than ever.
It’s natural for parents to worry about their kids accessing inappropriate content online, the impact of too much screen time or their children becoming addicted to technology.
However, first let’s understand this. The digital era is here to stay. Exposure to the digital universe is inevitable. Children see us on our devices all the time and it just does not make any sense to them when we keep repeating ‘It’s harmful for you’.
So what can parents do to ensure the right balance?
Mentoring over Monitoring
By practicing what you preach instead of the hypocritical "do as I say not what I do" approach, you emulate the habits you want your children to pick up.
In today's digitally-fueled times, that means guiding your child not just in the real world but in the always-on virtual one as well. Train them to use technology in a healthy way and pick up the skills and habits that will make them successful digital citizens.
Fun educational apps can appease both parent and child
Digital consumption need not be an all-or-nothing proposition. It is also important to understand the quality of the content your child is seeing. Replacing random screen time which may lead to harmful content with a trusted viewing destination can have more pros than cons. Choosing an app that combines education with fun interactions is a choice that has helped many parents calm their nerves.
Here are a few basic parenting guidelines to further maintain tech harmony at home
Avoid use of devices for children and yourself when:
1. Picking up or dropping children at school
2. Right away after coming home from work
3. Having meals, including when dining out
4. Out on family trips to the park or zoo, or vacations when the focus is on family time
To sum up, technology can be empowering for kids of all ages, with tools that help children learn in fun and engaging ways, express their creativity and stay connected to others.
Experts have suggested that apps in education can make children more interactive and at the same time activate better engagement between parents and children.
Children who are tech-savvy will also be better prepared for a workforce that will be predominantly digital.