Kids and tech – getting it right

We all hear the stories, and many of us tell them – about the two year old who knows how to programme the TV or the five year old who shows her Grandma how to look something up online. Today’s kids have been born into a world that is very different from the one we knew a generation ago.

That’s fine, and it’s something that every generation says. However, many parents are nevertheless worried that their children will grow up to become some sort of virtual zombies – unable to draw a picture, write a word, read a book or play a game unless it is there on a screen in front of them.

In some respects, those concerns are understandable. We all want our children to lead varied and rewarding lives and to be enriched by all the childhood experiences that we remember. At the same time, though, technology plays a vital role in 21st century life. It’s not going to go away, and our kids need to be technologically savvy in order to succeed.

Clearly, there is a balance to be sought here. Here are some pointers on how you can get it right.

Get involved

Online activity doesn’t have to be solitary. After all, with anything else your children do, you will ask them questions – what did they get up to at school, what games did they play at their friend’s house and so on. Making online activities social brings a number of benefits, so discuss what you do online, and then turn the discussion to them.

If kids know from an early point that being online is something that parents are involved in, you avoid all sorts of potential risks further down the line. Chatting about videos and games is a great starting point. And from there, the potentially more contentious topics are easier to approach. For example, children don’t think twice about talking about who they see or talk to in an after school club, and with this approach, it will be just as normal to discuss online interactions openly.

Mixing the online and the physical

In years gone by, we had artwork strewn all over the walls and on the fridge door. Today, there’s no reason to stop that just because it is created on a screen. A printer and a box full of ink cartridges from printerinks.com will not cost much, and can bring those virtual creations into the real world in all their glory!

Lead by example

If you spend the entire evening staring at your phone or chatting to friends on social media, what do you expect to happen? One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is that kids follow the example set by their parents.

That doesn’t just apply to time spent online, however. Posting drunken selfies on Facebook after a night out with friends or getting into a Twitter argument with a complete stranger might seem harmless enough at the time, but what does it say about treating yourself and others with the same respect online as in the real world? It’s food for thought.

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1 Comment

  1. July 10, 2018 / 7:19 am

    Now that my husband and I are becoming parents, this is a topic we both feel will be a future struggle. It’s important to be tech savvy, but we don’t want our kiddo(s) to become, like you said, zombies. XOXO.
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