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Is it a good idea to give kids digital devices?
3 COMMENTS
May 14, 2015  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

Holy Communion season is approaching and one of the most demanded gifts is, without a doubt, a technologic device: laptop, smartphone, game console or tablet. However, as parents, we might ask ourselves if it´s a good idea. There are different opinions on the matter. We still don´t know what effects its and experts argue about the benefits and dangers. What we do know is that technology is here to stay and it seems counter productive for children to live in a bubble. The key is moderation and the decision is up to you.

Pros

Sparks their curiosity: Computers, smartphones and tablets are a window to learning. Through them, children have access to a variety of information that allows them to learn new things. They also provide for an open mind. Since there are no barriers, kids can learn about different cultures, animals, historical facts, among many other things and the world stretches far beyond their room. “Children who interact with screen improve their learning, make fewer mistakes and learn faster,” says Heather Kirkorian, assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin, who has completed a study that determined the educational potential of technological devices.

Improves their observation skills: Videogames teach children to pay attention to details, as the majority of games require them to search for certain objects or characters in order to reach their goal. They also force them to concentrate on their next movement, improve their hand-eye coordination and invites them to make decisions without the fear of getting it wrong.

Helps conflict resolution: Fran C. Blumberg and Sabrina S. Ismailer from the University of Fordham (cited by the American Psychology Association) proved in a recent study that apps with short term goals are very useful in math and critical thinking.

Discovering Talent: Before we signed our children up to a variety of extra curricular classes. Now, thanks to technology kids are given the chance to try different activities without leaving the house: playing an instrument, writing stories, painting, etc.  This isn’t the same as the real thing but it could help us discover what they´re interested in and introduce them into that world so they find their true vocation.

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Cons

Generates addiction: Paediatricians still lack information regarding he effects that screens have on our children. An expert, like child psychologist, Aric Sigman, suggests that the use of digital screen can become a bad habit that can generate addiction and even depression.

Provokes isolation: Intensive use of digital screen changes the way kids communicate which could derive in changes in social relationships. Janice Richardson, consultant for European Schoolnet and co-founder of Insafe, suggests that “children are consumers, not creators, of digital content” which turns them into hyperactive people, incapable of keeping their concentration for more than 10 minutes.

Dangers: The cases of young children being bullied through electronic devices is on a rise according to Robert Shilling, coordinator at Interpol. Cyber bulling and sexting are ever more present and aggressors use sophisticated formulas just like this site reveals.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

-Parents should supervise what apps their children consume. It´s best if the device doesn’t have direct access to Internet and parents should be the ones who download apps. We also suggest that we try the games first to see whether they are educational.

-We must teach them to use their devices. When you give your children a digital device, it´s best if you decide the maximum time allotted (2 hours a day at most, and depending on their age) and under your supervision. Your children must understand what they can and cant do and you can explain what types of games they´ll be able to access and when.

-Make them understand that technology is not a substitute for other activities. Encourage them to make friends and lead by example. If you limit the use of digital devices, they probably will too.

Do you think that technological devices are a good present to give children? Send us your opinion.

Photo Credits: Brad Flickinger

CATEGORIES: KIDS & TIC's  |  TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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