Parenting can be challenging at times as it is, but parenting in the 21st century certainly brings on board a whole lot of different concerns. Especially when it comes to monitoring children’s exposure to technology. What is the daily limit of allowing your child to watch TV or play computer games? What precautions can parents take to ensure children’s safety online? At what age are they allowed a smartphone?
Living in the information age where knowledge is freely available at the click of a button, means that children are learning at a much faster pace than before. Years of information and research are now contained within pages of compressed knowledge which has been simplified. There are also images and videos available to easily illustrate complexed concepts allowing children to take in information and knowledge without a long-term commitment.
A study conducted by Info Central in 2016 concluded that the average age for children to own an electronic device with access to the internet is 10, with over 64% of children favouring the tablet as a form of entertainment during car rides or while at home.
Children are very much aware of the World Wide Web and they want in. Trying to deny children access to the internet and technology may not be the best approach and you may end up doing the opposite of what you’ve hoped to achieve. Parents need to strive towards guiding their children so that they are confident in using the internet and most importantly, be able to identify potential online danger.
The advance in technology is neither a good or bad thing. It is innovative and it simplifies a lot of once complex processes. It is neither helpful nor detrimental in itself, the latter is dependent on how you use it. Technology has revolutionised every sector and industry ranging from the corporate workplace, beauty, art as well as education.
Parents can utilise educational technology to empower their children and contribute to their growth and knowledge. Children should be taught how to use the internet and guiding them through this is the first step to empowering them with the right knowledge.
Here are seven ways to use technology for good:
The internet is home to various platforms where children can get the extra help that they need. From online exercises and courses to online tutoring. E-classrooms often provide a supportive environment for learners and reward systems that encourage a learner’s strengths. Some courses are designed for particular grades and levels of knowledge and may be accompanied by virtual assistants who guide children through exercises and others encourage parent participation which can be a great way to spend quality time together.
Free Podcasts and Videos
Free podcasts and videos are more accessible as most platforms do not require the creation of an account before the information becomes available to the end user. The information obtained from free podcasts and videos may be a little less reliable than official e-classrooms that use curriculum materials pertaining to the country. Be that as it may, platforms like Youtube and scholarly articles shared online still remains a good source of information for young people to learn and improve their knowledge. Since the content of free podcasts and videos have not been certified and approved by scholarly boards, further research on topics might be needed to avoid being misinformed.
One of the biggest advantages of the internet is that it connects people. Mentoring websites connects experienced people who are willing to shed light on industries with parents and their children looking for first-hand information. This can be extremely helpful when children start to consider different career options. A mentoring website can provide children with answers pertaining to their prospective careers and what they will need to increase their chances of success.
Self Care Websites
The downside of free-flowing information is that it is not censored. Children can sometimes come across content that can negatively affect their confidence and perception of self. It’s important that children think of the internet as a resource to build good self-confidence and a healthy self-image. There are several websites that offer health tips as well as emotional and psychological care guidelines. Positive affirmation is particularly strong and when coupled with love, support and guidance children receive from home, these websites can help them distinguish between positive and empowering information and also help them identify and prepare them to deal with negative content.
Technology as an outlet for creativity
Another great way technology can enrich children’s lives is by providing an outlet for the creative and talented. There are great apps available, from online videos to singing apps likes Musical.ly. Another great app is Soundcloud which allows the user to share audio files, and let’s not forget to mention Apple’s GarageBand! These are all healthy ways for children to stay focused on school and be expressive at the same time.
It is beneficial for children to learn how to manage their time appropriately and how to organise their day. Over time they will be able to balance school and their social lives independently. Calendars are now integrated into electronic devices like phones and tablets. Google Calendar allows users to synchronise calendars between family members, friends and even schools. This is a great way for parents to keep a watchful eye on their children’s schedule without seeming too overwhelming and allow children to learn how to manage and organise their time.
Educational Chat Rooms
Apps like Whatsapp are a favourite among preteens and adolescents. Instead of just being used for passing time, they can also be used to network and discuss ideas and help clarify questions for group assignments. This free app is a useful tool because it can be used by children from all financial backgrounds. Parents can create these chat groups for their children within the app and children can exchange images, audio and links to information over the app.
GT Scholars is a non-profit organisation that focuses on social mobility and growth mindset. They also run an afterschool tutoring programme that includes online tutoring, mentoring as well as skill building and enrichment activities for young people aged 11-16. For more information on how to join the GT Scholars programme please feel free send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org