According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children today spend an average of seven hours a day using technology such as mobile phones, gaming consoles, tablets and the internet. In the UK last Christmas parents spent over £3 billion on Gadgets for their children. Most adults agree that this is too much time and too much money for what are sometimes no more than expensive toys. But if these gadgets were used primarily for educational purposes, would people feel the same?
Advantages of Children Using Technology
“Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.” — aap.org
Other than the warning above, age should not be a large factor when deciding to buy an electronic gadget for your child. Once they are old enough to navigate and understand the concept of the device, instead of just throwing it against a wall, they’re ready to use it as a learning tool – with close supervision and helpful guidance of course.
Most children’s toys are designed to help them learn spatial reasoning, recognise shapes and colours, improve dexterity and master eye-hand coordination. Many gadgets on the market today, especially those designed for children, possess the same learning opportunities.
The world that today’s children will inherit is dominated by technology. The earlier they become comfortable with the devices the better off they will be in the future.
There are many advantages for children that learn to use gadgets at an early age, such as:
- Improved eye-hand coordination
- Better basic reasoning skills
- Increased dexterity
- A wealth of age appropriate learning resources
- Better preparation for school in the technology age
- Multiple communication platforms that help parents keep track of them
Your child will be better prepared to begin school by taking advantage of the resources available online. They can learn the alphabet, numbers, colours and simple problem solving before starting their classes.
Negative Influence of Gadgets amongst Children
The American Academy of Pediatrics also offers some concerns and problems related to children and technology. These are mostly centred on over-use and employing technology for entertainment only.
“Studies have shown that excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. In addition, the Internet and cell phones can provide platforms for illicit and risky behaviours.”
Common sense is the best guide to determining your child’s internet and gadget usage. Like most things in life, moderation is the safest path. Children should not spend all their spare time either playing computer games or studying.
Create a balance for your children between outside activities, exercise, reading, homework and time spent on their devices. Limit the time they can use gadgets, and divide it equally between entertainment and learning.
Habits developed in childhood can last a lifetime. Children should learn that over-use of technology causes problems. Long before the internet was a household word parents wanted to raise well-rounded children. Nothing has changed. Every parent wants the best for their children, and learning to master technology while recognising that it is just another tool is the ideal solution.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. All parents can do is instill good habits into children when they are young and hope that wise usage of electronic devices will carry over into their teen years. Buy your children any devices you want, including game consoles. Regulate their use, and require a well-rounded regimen of traditional learning, outdoor activity, computer learning and entertainment.
Susie Fraser started out in finance before she discovered her interest in tech of every stripe. She’s passionate about the industry as a whole, keeping her attention firmly focused on the big picture.