Technology and Kids: 6 ways to disconnect
December 19, 2014  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

New technologies provide many benefits to our children. Today, there are innumerable apps that are created to stimulate their learning process and are broken down into different subjects such as math, languages, art, etc. They also serve as great tools to increase their reading skills and self esteem as children have to face challenges. With all these advantages, why are we told they shouldn’t use tablets, smartphones or computers so often? Like all other aspects of life, it´s not good to spend too much time on one thing as it could provoke addiction, sleeping disorders and a lack of social skills. Our mission as parents should be to teach our children to use technology in moderation. So how do we do it? Keep reading to discover 6 ways to disconnect.

In an article published by the BBC, Helen Moylett, President of Early Education, assures that “(technology) can be really helpful and interesting if used in the right place to help us learn – but not all the time, or instead of other things.”  What she means by other things is time spent outdoors and engaging in activities with other children as well as time spent creating. In other words, everything that technology cannot provide.

It´s not a question of prohibiting them to use a tablet, smartphone or computer but controlling the time they spend using these devices (a maximum of 2 hours a day).  We should also motivate them to engage in other activities that can be equally as fun or even more.

Most kids become addicted to technology because their parents don´t pay them much attention. Even though your children might seem independent, they need to spend quality time with their parents.

6 ways to disconnect

Arts & Crafts: Cutting, pasting, drawing… are all necessary activities that children need in order to learn how to use their hands. New technologies cannot provide this. Besides, making a collage, colouring their own cutouts, finger painting etc. helps them explore their creativity and teaches them to make their own decisions. Motivate your children to complete 1 artistic project each week. You can get great ideas by reading this post as well as checking out Nancy´s Blog.

Playing Together: Spend an afternoon, during the weekend, rounding up the entire family, placing all devices into a box and spending time together playing a board game, I Spy or even engaging in role-play. Sharing time together improves family bonds, self-esteem and communication.


Reading: Beyond what television has to offer, books allow children to discover people, places, animals and ideas. It helps them cultivate a critical mind and an independent spirit. Even if your children aren’t old enough to read, just listening to a story expands their vocabulary. The characters and the illustrations also boost their imagination and helps them develop reading skills and a love for books.

Creating Stories: Apps and videogames come “already made”. But it´s important that children learn to create their own toys, their own adventures. If they get bored, don´t let them sit in front of the TV or computer. Let them think of other ways they can keep themselves entertained. Offer them toys that boosts their imagination and makes them create their own stories. Dolls and action figures such as Nancy or Pinypon, toys such as Power Trains, stuffed animals, costumes… Let them dream and create their own world.

Outdoors: Make plans outdoors. Whether it´s practising sports or enjoying nature, riding a bike, a trip to the Aquarium or the Botanical Gardens, being outdoors helps children relax and gets all their senses working. Plus, it gives them a chance to socialize with other children.

Cooking: Mixing ingredients, decorating dishes, making fun sandwiches… are great ways to teach children about healthy eating habits, teamwork and basic math skills. If they aren´t old enough to help you cook, you can start instilling their love for food with toys such as these.

Whatever you do, make sure your devices are turned off and out of sight. No looking or playing with the iPad or cell phone while at the park or in the kitchen. That way you can give your children all the attention they need and set a good example. If you moderate your use of technologies, they will probably do the same.

Are you constantly looking at your cell phone while you´re with your kids? Do you motivate them to engage in other activities?

Photo Credits: Brad Flickinger 

Photo Credits: Famosa


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