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We live in an age of rapidly advancing technology. We can control our thermostat hundreds of miles away, we have smartphones, smart cars and even smart TVs. Every day new technology is introduced and changes some aspect of our life. It seems many children can work wonders with the latest gadgets. As parents, we need to guide our children to use technology for good and reap its benefits, instead of allowing our children to spend hours shooting zombies on their smartphones.
When I was young, my father was very adamant my sisters and I learned how to use a computer and become proficient typists. Every day, as part of my after school routine, I would finish my homework, practice my piano and then work on typing software for 15 minutes before I could play. Those 15 minutes a day spent on the computer have turned into some of the biggest blessings in my life as it helped me quickly and easily finish all my papers in college as well as be successful in my current career.
However, too much time with eyes glued to a computer screen is never a good thing. Children need to be active, use their imagination and learn how to play with others. But, just as my typing skills have helped me in more ways that I could have ever imagined, by spending a little bit of time each day with electronics, children can develop many skill sets and habits that will affect them throughout their lives.
Several computer programs and applications for the smartphone or tablet can teach children coordination skills. Many of these apps may ask children to move an item on the screen, touch a specific item, disfigure an item, etc. These types of programs can easily teach children motor skills and hand-eye coordination skills they can use throughout their life.
ABCs and 1-2-3s
Electronics can be a great way to introduce your children to basic educational fundamentals. Many electronic toys are designed around the theme of the ABCs or numbers. Many apps also teach children basic knowledge such as shapes. words or colors. My one-year-old son currently loves apps or television shows with animals and animal noises. Because we do not live near a zoo and go as often as we would like, these programs allow him to look at live pictures of the animals, listen to animal sounds and recognize what the animal looks like, all while sitting on our living room couch.
Responsibility and respect
Most children have dozens of toys and unfortunately, many of those toys are broken within days of playing with them. Often when children are given an electronic, and they take ownership to that item, they become more responsible with the toy. As children become older they understand an object’s worth and that if they do not take care of it as they should, it will be destroyed.
There are many electronics designed for children. These electronics allow children to enjoy them without breaking them days later. MarBlue is one such company that offers these types of products. This company offers Headfoams, which are headphones that twist and bend. Children can pull, drop or fall on these headphones and they won’t damage them. The durability is an excellent feature to help children enjoy technology without worrying about the toy being added to the broken toy pile in a matter of days.
Electronics can also be a terrific way to teach children communication. However, too much time spent on technology can also decrease children’s social skills. In this day and age, we use technology to communicate daily. Whether it is through email, social networks, text messaging, phone conversations or video chats, much communication is done through technology instead of in person. By sitting down and teaching children about each of these communication methods, you can also teach them what is acceptable behavior and what is poor and rude etiquette.
When children reach high school, college or even into their careers, most research is accomplished using technology. Looking things up in books just isn’t the fastest and most efficient way to gather information anymore. Frequent use of technology helps children become comfortable with electronics and confident when using them. They will have an easier time becoming familiar with programs and techniques to make research easier and faster, which are critical skills to help them succeed later in their education and their career.
Many electronic devices and programs can ignite children’s creativity. Several types of games and applications ask children to put their creativity to the test by using digital artistic tools or using more advanced knowledge to design objects or logos. Depending on the type of application you use, your children can learn how to design houses, create animation, edit and distort photos and so much more.
When using electronics wisely and not wasting time on useless programs and applications, children can benefit greatly from technology. These items can help ignite a child’s mind, help him advance in school and in his career and develop critical everyday skills.
Courtnie is an editor for FamilyShare.com and has a degree in journalism. She has a slight obsession with running, newspapers and large fuzzy blankets. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons.