Raising kids is not an easy task, and with full-time jobs, parents have their work cut out for them. But advice comes from all sides, and it’s hard to know whom to trust. Ultimately, each parent has to decide which way they want to raise their kids, and they can use all the help they can get – including technology. But kids have been raised without technology for thousands of years, so is that really necessary for successful parenthood? Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of using technology as a tool to raise our kids:
Many schools across the world have realized that in order to prepare our kids for a successful future, we have to make them technologically literate at an early age. This is why children are learning to type as they are learning to write with a pen, and it gives them the preparation they need when they enter the modern world tomorrow. But on top of that, technology has been used in schools as a way to make them more inclusive. Special software can help children with disabilities participate in class as much as their peers, with the software often used to help them communicate and express themselves. An aspect that has been adopted far less is the school system, but is gaining popularity, is using video games in lessons, as a way to teach and explore through a medium familiar to kids; as well as using concepts of video game design to make classes fun and engaging.
Technology is an amazing tool that we can use, but it’s not without its dangers. If we allow children to use technology unattended, we risk them accessing content that is not appropriate for them and that can lead them to misunderstand or get scared. This is why it’s crucial for parents to be part of the technology use with their children and teach them how to properly interact with it. For example, an activity that you can do together with your kids is to play baseball games for a while, which is both fun and educational. Video games, cartoons and other media don’t have to be just for entertainment purposes – they can also be educational and engaging in other ways, helping the child develop critical thinking, puzzle solving and other valuable skills.
There’s a reason why so many people are against using technology in raising kids: they are scared that it will go too far. All too often, we hear of kids who have become antisocial because they only cling to their screen – but that is actually not the whole truth. The fact is, kids “overdosing” on technology doesn’t happen that often, and when it is the case, it is usually a symptom of an underlying problem that the child is experiencing. This is why it’s important to spend a lot of time with the child both with and without technology, and make sure they are doing well in all areas of life. Set some rules that will help them control themselves around technology. If they have a phone, make a rule about no phones at the dinner table, or no phones in their room. Set the exact amount of time that they can spend with technology, and allow them a few extra minutes as small rewards.
We know, in today’s world, it’s sometimes impossible to avoid leaving your child home alone for a few minutes, or half an hour, or even longer. And entertainment technology, like television or video games, is a great way to make sure they are going to stay in front of that screen and not do anything potentially dangerous. But the problem is, relying on this as a primary method of babysitting is dangerous. Without proper guidance about technology and without proper rules, kids can develop a compulsion that makes them want more every day. And if you absolutely must leave your child with the computer alone, make sure that they have been playing or doing what you told them to, by talking to them afterwards.
In the end, the parent is the one that gets to decide what is the best thing for their kid. If you do choose to use technology, it’s important that you learn everything you can about it before handing it to your child. Use technology as a tool, not a solution, and you won’t be in any danger of doing it wrong.