Nowadays it is a very common practice to be glued to your phones, laptops and iPads, all through the day. Staring at the screen watching videos on YouTube, browsing through social media, and checking out shopping websites, has become a habit, distracting students from studies and robbing their time to be spent on quality bonding with family.
There are arguments on the pros and cons of the usage of technology for youngsters and the debate continues as to how much exposure is required, and where draw the line. Millennials and Generation Z are more familiar with the social media lingo, rather than being familiar with Shakespeare’s famous odes.
Though technology can sometimes go out of hand, it is also a great boon when it comes to distance learning scenario and app-based studies. Children can continue to be educated from the comfort of their homes and also playfully learn important concepts, thanks to the invention of various EdTech Apps conveniently downloadable on mobile devices.
Even in schools across Dubai and other Middle East regions such as GCC, children are introduced to technology right from preschool grade. Youngsters learn about colors, number counting, shapes, and geography, through interesting play-way methodology. TechnoKids is one such popular computer-based curriculum that provides technology-based projects to assist teachers in classrooms. TechnoKids resources are highly customizable and the innovative activities keep children engaged. So, when technology is integrated into the education system, how can one explain the perils of it to students!
What is the right age to introduce children to technology? How do you as a parent set limits? What conversation should you have with them to inform children on how to use technology responsibly? Read through the blog and get answers to these pressing questions.
When To Buy A Smartphone For Your Child
So far as the child wants to use your smartphone, tab or laptop for education purpose it is fine. However, the right age to buy your child his or her own device should not be before 10 years of age. The simple reason being, when the child uses your phone you can exercise greater vigilance by staying around and keeping a watch on whether the device is being used for educational purpose, or any other unproductive activity. Also, since it is your device, parents can set a time-limit, and ask the child to finish whatever homework, reading, or educational videos they wish to watch within an hours’ time. When your child turns 10 years of age, set some ground rules before gifting the much-awaited device. Advise them to always use it prudently, not to mishandle their phones, and restrict them from making social media accounts before they officially turn into adults at 18 years. If you reside in countries like Iran, UAE, and Qatar, WhatsApp and other social media platforms are banned by default, so there are only local social apps that you need to take care of.
Discuss The Dangers of Misuse
It is important to make children aware of the impacts of misusing technology. Here’s what you can share:
- Excessive usage causes eyestrain and puts extra stress on the muscles, causing eye dryness and early age-related macular degeneration.
- Make a rule that no phones or tabs are allowed at bedtime. Some have a habit of holding their phones in their hands and browsing until wee hours of night lying on bed. This disrupts the 8-hour sleep schedule and children wake up the next day feeling tired.
- Explain that downloading images, videos, and pdfs is only allowed for educational purpose and no other unsolicited reason.
- Browsing the web should be monitored and children mustn’t be allowed to Google content which is not age-appropriate. Make a list of what the child can browse though and what he should not.
Make use of Parental Lock and Control
There are apps that allow parents to set a bracket for screen time, after which the phone will be locked and the child will not be able to use it. Also block certain downloadable apps and websites, by using the parental control feature such that children don’t go astray and check out dating apps or any social media platform, before they become adults.
Practice Before You Preach
If you want your kids to spend less time on the phone, you do it first. Even as adults, we need to restrict ourselves from over indulgence and set time limits. The child only observes and follows their parent’s footsteps, so don’t set separate rules for them, until you learn to practice it yourself.