To Use or Not to Use: 5 Ways to Guide Your Child on the Use of Technology

Parents, are you struggling to strike a balance when it comes to exposing your little ones to technology?

Well, we’re now living in an interesting time in history when teaching and learning are being enhanced in ways not possible in the past without technology.

As some said, parents nowadays seem to have the last of the truly low-tech childhoods, but are now among the first of the truly high tech parents!

We know what childhoods were like in pre-internet days, and we only have parenting models derived from that era. However, technology has inevitably fuelled challenges to the already-tough parenting arena. What we’re doing seem to be unprecedented as no study has known exactly what this iChildhood will look like when our children grow up.

And this has become one of the trickiest issues a parent may face today – to use or not to use.

Are you facing this same dilemma? If you are, we hope that these 5 ways can provide some tips on how you can raise your children in this digital era.

1. Embracing Technology

Well the fact is technology is going to be around for a while. Our kids will need to have these skills in the future (or even now?). Parenting is not about shielding our children from the tools of the world, but equipping them to use the tools properly. We should be active and yet vigilant in teaching our children on how to use technology effectively and to its fullest potential.

2. Encouraging Moderation for Children & Parents

Though the future of technology and how it might turn out remains unknown, many studies have shown that excessive media use can lead to attention problems, as well as sleeping and eating disorders. It is recommended to avoid screen time entirely for infants and children under age 2. For older kids, parents should monitor their duration and content consumption. Parents should also ensure that your own use of technology does not create “technoference”, affecting your interactions with your child. Develop rules with your child about acceptable and safe behaviours for all electronic media.

3. Using Technology to Create and Innovate

Try to not only consume but create something out of technology. We can play electronic games, or we can create them. We can browse Facebook, or we can create communities that serve a purpose.  Perhaps, this will be one of the most important distinctions concerning technology that we can teach our children. Ignite your child’s creativity and guide them to understand how technology should help to make the world better.

4. Using Technology to Solve Problems

When it comes to using technology, you can get your child to constantly ask this question, “What problem does it solve?” As we all know, technology should be making our lives easier and more efficient. So you can present your child with the pros and cons of using a certain technology and guide them to think critically. If a technology is not solving an existing problem, it may be only adding to them.

5. Providing Opportunities for Face-to-Face Conversations

Last but not least, though technology is changing the way we communicate (for better or worse, only time will tell), at present, our children will still be living in a world where their elders (parents or grandparents) appreciate verbal conversations. It’ll always be the older generation vs younger generation on whether technology is destroying or enhancing conversations. But in the meantime, for our children to be successful in communicating with the elders, they must be able to communicate both online and in-person. We should create safe opportunities where they can learn.

Do you have any strategies that you’ve adopted with your kids that you think are important to add? We’d love to hear from you! Please comment below to share with fellow parents on your techno-parenting tips!

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