Technology and Kids – How much is too much?


Technology.

I’ll be honest and tell you that it scares me a little.

As adults, so much of our current world spent online that we rarely find ourselves completely unplugged. With the current society consumed by blogs, Facebook, and other social networks, are we aware of how this affects our maturing youth? Are you like me, when you finally do detach yourself from your favorite mobile device, do feel like you are missing something? Like maybe…your right hand?

I often think about how different the current technology landscape is for my children. I had my first cell phone in the early nineties. The version I owned weighed about 20 pounds (mainly from the the battery), since I thought I was too cool for the bag phone. I was out of college. The average age for cellphones for kids is now 8. In my mind I am screaming “That is just ridiculous!”, but is it really? A child carrying a phone with built in GPS tracking is actually brilliant (barring they don’t lose it), sounds pretty good to me.

Modern technology is changing the way students are learning. My niece’s textbooks are on her ipad. The used ipad my sister purchased was a portion of what the real text books would have cost. My daughter’s weekly spelling words are online, complete with available games for skill building and pre-testing. School assignments are all communicated via email, and Baby is assigned projects to research online. Shouldn’t our children be trained to use the embossed set of Encyclopedia Britannica we all used? Using a search engine you can easily spend hours trying to sift through the digital rubbish trying to find the facts. We’ve all seen the search overload commercials. It’s frustrating for an adult, let alone a child. Is there a lost benefit from the old school ways?

I’m hoping not.

It is up to us, as parents, to enlighten our children on the value of a real book full of printed pages and beautiful illustrations, but also teach them to appreciate the ease and convenience of using an ebook reader. Just because my daughter’s spelling words are online and the website will test her on them, does not remove the responsibility I have to nourish her desire to learn. Children need parental interaction with their homework as well. The internet is a valuable resource for the development and growth of today’s youth, but we can’t let it be the only one. If we do, there will be an impact when it comes to healthy development of their budding social skills.

Are you up to the challenge to unplug once in a while and go old school with your children?

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