You know how the joke goes — if you can’t fix the technology, ask the resident five-year-old. But are our children using technology responsibly?
There’s no question children adapt fast to electronics — and parents increasingly encourage it, through the use of tablets, phones and social media at home. It’s important, though, to consider ways to ensure your youngsters use technology responsibly.
Limit internet use
Talk to your child’s teachers about creative ways to engage technology at home. Teachers will have great ideas, particularly when it comes to the amount of time you should allow your children to be online and the types of activities they should be engaging. Some studies have shown an overuse of technology can lead to attention issues, obesity and sleep disorders among children.
Consume less, create more
Many parents also find success when teaching their children about the creative process. Instead of playing games on their devices, they explore tools to create games using programs like Scratch and Logo Foundation. The idea here is to encourage children to become innovators, instead of mere consumers. It’s also wise to teach our budding creators about copyright laws as a way to protect and respect intellectual property.
Care less about what people think
Online interaction can lead to self-doubt and humiliation – and potentially bullying situations. When young minds give too much weight to other people’s ideas and comments, particularly with social media’s proliferation of likes, shares and comments, they can be negatively affected. Even if a child is not being bullied, many teachers try to remind students that social media attention should not shape who they are as people.
Fake news vs. real news
Teaching children about using trusted and responsible online content is increasingly important. With the abundance of fake news and a lack of accountability on many websites, parents are looking for ways to help their children navigate this online world. Try providing a list of approved websites and compare those to unreliable sites. Help the children learn to evaluate sites to make responsible decisions on their own.
Encouraging children to use technology responsibly can set them up for success. Schools are already giving students devices that incorporate electronics into the curriculum, which often involves young children gaining access to the internet. It’s up to teachers and parents to regulate online access and encourage its use in a responsible manner.