Thanks to affordable connectivity and easy-to-use handheld devices, our lives are becoming more technology driven. We pay our bills online, buy clothes and groceries online, and even consume Netflix and other online media channels instead of basic cable. In today’s world is it possible to escape technology? So, it really doesn’t surprise us that children of today naturally gravitate towards technology too.
Companies are now working on building laptops for children as young as 5 years old. Kids as young as 8-10 years old carry smartphones. As kids grow more and more attracted to media and technology, you may wonder if this is a good thing or a bad thing? The adage stays true, too much of anything is bad. Too much technology has its downside but what about just the right amount?
Technology now is preparing your child to face the “real world” later which will, arguably, be even more technology-driven for the next generation too. Just think about it. Most jobs will be technology related and your child needs an edge to thrive in such an environment. But critics also argue that overuse of technology affects social and physical development. So how can technology play a positive role in the early development, you ask?
Increase social and cognitive skills
Experts believe the right amount of time allotted to use devices is an hour a day for ages 3-8 years. With this, your child can enjoy technology, and still not get “addicted” to it. Children have their individual rate of learning and grasping concepts. So, when you expose them to age-appropriate content, your child is engaged and it can help your child master skills which otherwise may take a longer time. Who doesn’t like to learn from interactive and engaging content? That said, you must remember not to let technology become the babysitter. See the potential and use it wisely by filtering the media they consume and by monitoring screen time.
Technology, a motivational source for classroom learning
Young children now learn the alphabet, numbers and many other concepts in a whole new way through technology. Learning about the solar system in a 3-D format has never been so exciting! A much-loved cartoon character signing the alphabet song is the easiest way to learn the ABCs. Children between the ages 3-8 years are naturally interested in interactive games and educational video games just as they would in playing with play dough, trucks or dolls.
A Supplement to traditional learning
Children with learning disabilities or impairments use technology in useful ways. For example, you can enlarge letters to see them clearly. Children with speaking disabilities can now use apps to communicate with. Thanks to technology, differently abled students can attend regular school and be a part of the community without any discrimination.
Even for regular students, technology is a supplement to traditional learning. You do need hands-on structured activities such as art, writing, reading books, and dramatics.
A context for language learning
Books are an integral part of early development. Reading books with your child helps develop the vocabulary, imagination and learn new concepts. Now take that and add in interactive visuals and multimedia to support learning.
Reading ebooks and playing with appropriate educational apps with your child helps in learning language from video. With ebooks, you talk about what is happening in the story, invite questions, and help your child focus on key elements of the story. For non-English speaking families, technology is another boon. Infusing technology in early learning with interactive games and videos boost language and social skills in a big way.
The key is to do it together. This is also where Play Parenting comes into the picture. You incorporate a whole lot of play, experiences, and adventure in your parenting towards the goal of learning.
And so, you want to use your judgment to decide how long your child uses technology during the day and what media is being consumed. Look for content that is meaningful, without unnecessary distractions and one that actively and creatively engages your child. Whether ebooks, video games or media, good quality digital resource support learning. So, let your child dip into the world of technology and reap the benefits!