Technology – is it good or bad for our children?
Technology has certainly changed learning and engagement opportunities for our children. They are adopting technology into their daily lives at a rapid pace which leaves many families questioning the pros and cons. Although negative impacts of technology frequently make it to the news and are popular topics of discussions, technology is also being used more frequently in educational settings….so, is it all bad?
Here are some of the positives we see; smart boards, document cameras, apple TVs and even 3D printers are now used in classrooms in early childhood and schools to boost collaboration and engage children in the learning process. They are offering new opportunities for creativity and project-based learning that are more meaningful and easier for some young children to understand.
There are many creative and engaging programs that can support our “learning through play” philosophy where children are learning basic academic skills in a fun game-style format. Technology also fosters problem-solving skills. In many of the games, children are required to work independently to achieve a specific goal. In this process, they are posed with different types of challenges which they must learn to navigate and overcome.
It is common knowledge that our future lies in many of today’s emerging technologies. One of the greatest benefits of exposing children to technology is the fact that their future education and professional life will most probably require an understanding of technology in addition to the option of working in a large pool of tech jobs.
There are some negative aspects that families need to consider and be aware of and this would include the risk to the development of social communication skills. These skills are developed though personal interactions and conversations which include the skill of positive body language and making eye contact and are limited as children passively view a screen.
The overuse of devices can also be harmful to children’s health, as the more they sit stationary, the less physical activities they do which can include mindless snacking of unhealthy food. The use of technology before bed can also reduce the sleep quality for a child.
I believe that the key is moderation. The problems associated with technology come with overuse and misuse. We need to know what our children are viewing and the games they are playing – limit the time and regulate the content to ensure your child can enjoy the benefit of technology.
Here are some of my favourite programs for young children:
- Alien Buddies – While some apps work on developing specific skills, this one is great for variety and easy to navigate.
- Princess Fairy-tale Maker – This one allows children to draw, colour and best of all use their imagination to create their very own fairy-tale.
- Intro to Letters – Great educational app that is designed to help children recognise, pronounce and write lower case letters.
- I also love Reading Eggs and Jolly Phonics for pre-reading apps.