We live in a technology-driven world, but given the rapid growth in the industry, people are often concerned about the risks associated with these new gadgets. Rand.org claims, “On a typical day, children ages 3–5 spend an average of four hours with technology, and technology use is increasing among children of all ages.” Since tech developed rapidly, the jury is still out on how it will impact future generations, but that hasn’t stopped technology from encroaching on the lives of youth at school and in the home.
When it comes to technology, there are some best practices.
Use technology in moderation: With televisions in 98% of homes and 72% of kids also having access to a computer in their home, parents inevitably, even if inadvertently, expose their children to technology at an early age. After all, these products are a great source of entertainment at ages when it can be hard to keep your child entertained.
The world is immersed in technology. It doesn’t make sense to completely relegate it to the back corner of your child’s life. As a part of preparedness, some level of introduction is imperative. My point being, every child’s interaction with an iPad isn’t bad. In fact, “The use of computers and other digital technologies continues to rise in early childhood programs, and technology is being used as a tool for improving program quality in many interesting ways.” The real trick becomes the balance of interpersonal communication parallel with digital learning.
Utilize technology for learning: It is important that children learn how to properly use technology, and what better way to do it by increasing classroom engagement and interaction? There are a ton of interactive websites for children, such as Starfall and Seussville (cleverly named after Dr. Seuss) that not only keep them engaged but also reinforces academic concepts. Additionally, there are a variety of enriching apps, education video sites, eBooks, interactive whiteboards, and more that can be used to assist student learning.
At the end of the day, both as a parent and a teacher, trust your instincts when it comes to technology. We must embrace the ever-growing industry of technology, however, you know your child and students, and if you think they’ve had too much screen time, turn it off. It is up to the adults to recognize if technology is interfering with their interaction with other children.