My pre-teen nieces and nephews no longer play with regular toys, they only want apps or games for their Ipads. When they visit, they are usually glued to their screens. I worry what long term effects this has on our youth; how it may affect their adaptability and safety. I ran across this article and thought it brings up good points. So I am posting it with permission.
Is Technology Dumbing Down our Kids?
by Joseph Mack
This post originally appeared in Smarthomesage
We all want to raise smart kids, but could technology and smart devices help to make your kids smarter than they already are? While there are arguments both for and against introducing technology to children at a young age, we should first understand how letting your kids use smart devices impacts their intellectual development.
How Technology Impacts Your Child’s Development
While we may reminisce about the simplicity of our childhoods and fondly remember riding our bikes and playing sports with our friends, the reality is that a lot has changed over the years. The world we grew up in is not as simple.
Everything from how our kids to learn to how they play has changed, technology plays a prevalent role in how we raise our children. Knowing how to balance the growing dependence we have on smart devices while at the same time trying to give your kids a “normal” upbringing is challenging. We will look at both the positives and negatives as they pertain to childhood development and technology.
THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY FOR CHILDEN
Your kids are growing up in a society where everyone has a smartphone, watch or tablet, and your kids will want what everyone else has, so you do need to prepare your children for using technology. But before you do here are a few things you should take into consideration.
- Technology can make you child less sensitive to the real world; this doesn’t mean that playing a fighting or war game online will turn your child into a murderer, but it may desensitize in a way that makes them less empathetic when communicating with their peers.
- The Internet is full of creepy people; the ability to hide in plain site on the web can lead people to do things they can’t do face to face. From cyber bullies to pedophiles, the internet can be a scary place. That doesn’t mean you never let your kids on the internet, but you do need a plan to make sure you know who they talk to and what to do if they are bullied, or someone is using suggestive A little education can go a long way
- Too much time on the web may contribute to obesity; on average kids today spend 7.5 hours using some kind of smart device. So encourage them to participate in school sports, or take them biking or for a run to keep them healthy. Then reward them by allowing them to play their favorite online game. You want to make sure that you kids have a balance between online time and outside time.
The best way to keep your kids safe in a virtual world is to know who they talk to and to educate them on what to avoid. While you may not be able to see everything they do, by educating them and encouraging them to come to you when they feel unsure help you keep them secure.
WAYS THAT TECHNOLOGY MAKES YOUR KIDS SMARTER
While there are some things to worry about when it comes to your kids and technology, there are some surprising ways in which it can make your kids smarter. One of the most prominent areas in the use of technology to make kids smarter is education. This integration of the web into the classroom is changing the way your children learn, for the better. The result is children that retain more and learn faster. Here are some of the positive ways technology is helping to make your kids smarter.
- New options to supplement classroom training; the use of apps, eLearning, video and interactive whiteboards and chat platforms are transforming the learning experience by expanding learning time and adding more engaging ways to learn.
- Technology lets kids learn at their own When we can let the child determine their learning style, instead of using categorized ideas of how we think they learn, it gives them a chance to build their own learning identity. Often the kids perceived to be slow learners are just more thoughtful, by giving them time to learn at their own pace without the pressure you can make them grow to love learning.
- The internet also provides research in an instant. When you encourage your kids to dive into topics they are interested it will make them feel more connected and excited about learning. Curiosity is one of the traits of smart kids, so when you see it, nurture it.
SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD
Should you keep your kid from social media? Your first instinct is to protect your child, and social media can be a scary place for not just kids, but adults as well. But there are some benefits that can help your child gain confidence and that can even make them smarter.
Social media can help your kids form long term friendships. The world gets smaller every day, but for your kids, that is a good thing. If their best friend moves to another state, social media can let them continue their friendship. By keeping in contact, your child can create relationships that last.
Depending on what interests your kids, the should be able to find a group of people online that like the same things they do. It not only allows them to share a hobby with like-minded people, but it also can have lasting benefits that can help your kids when they are deciding on a college, or looking for work.
Social media also offers children the opportunity to present themselves as their authentic self. This can help your kids as they explore their own unique personalities, it can also give them confidence in who they are, which makes them more open to exploring and learning more about themselves and the world.
HOW YOU CAN HELP CREATE A SMARTER KID
If you spend your days tied to your phone, you cannot blame your kids for being wanting a smart device of their own. You can set the example for how best to use smart technology for your kids. While the internet can be a dangerous place, if you take time to educate your child on how to keep them safe when they are using their smartphone to surf the web you can ensure that they know what to do in the event they get caught in a bad situation.
Technology alone cannot make your kid a genius, but there are a lot of ways it can help them develop their own learning style. And by doing so you can help turn your child into someone that doesn’t just learn because they have to, they will learn because they want to.
If you encourage your kids to be curious and allow them to learn at their own pace, not only will you have smarter kids, you will also have well adjusted, emotionally intelligent children that can form lasting relationships, show kindness to others and that have a strong sense of who they are. Which makes you one awesome parent.
About the Author:
This was written by Joseph Mack from smarthomeSAGE, a blog that analyzes the impact that smart home technology has on home life.