Technology is a part of kids’ lives whether they’re at home, spending time with friends, or at school. An increase in educational initiatives like blended learning means that tech is now integrated into education, too. Kids are regularly exposed to computers, tablets, and phones. Technology is an essential tool that gives them access to information. It’s also a platform for self-expression.
As kids connect to the cyberworld more and more, it’s natural for parents to worry. There are potential risks, after all. Cyberbullying looms in parents’ minds, and diminishing attention spans is a real concern. These are worries parents will have to deal with, however, as technology isn’t going away.
Many parents didn’t have all of these gadgets when they were kids. They can be at a loss for how to handle their children’s use of technology. They may wonder how to limit their kids’ exposure while also ensuring that they’re prepared for a tech-driven world.
Making decisions about limiting screen time, teaching ethical digital citizenship, and modeling responsible uses of tech all come into play. Part of this process is managing parental controls and determining which devices are appropriate for each age range. Gadgets like phones for kids can help minimize the potential pitfalls of social devices.
At the end of the day, deciding how to manage your kids’ tech usage can be hard. Thankfully, there are a couple developments in modern technology that can help. They’ll ensure that your kids are getting all the benefits of tech use with none of the detriments. That’s important, as their use of the internet and devices will likely have long-term effects on their education and development.
Built-In Parental Controls Can Help Ensure Safety
Child health experts say that it’s not the technology itself that creates problems, but rather how kids use it. The content that kids are exposed to is an important aspect of setting rules for children using devices. You’ll also want to ensure that their use of tech doesn’t result in the neglect of face-to-face socialization and activities. There’s a lot to consider.
Fortunately, devices made for kids do a lot of the work for you with their built-in parental controls and monitoring tools. Parents can control their children’s screen time on mobile devices like tablets. They can also restrict their kids’ ability to access content that may not be age-appropriate.
Some mobile devices for kids simply don’t allow internet and social media use. Children can only access the essential capabilities, such as making and receiving calls. Other devices feature online learning apps and educational videos, but parents ultimately retain control over them. For example, you can set learning goals for your kids and filter content within an app. You can also completely block access to apps that may have questionable content.
Parental controls mean that kids get the best out of tech. They can still learn and develop reading and mathematical skills, but they won’t get cyberbullied.
Childhood development experts are proponents of parents and children using technology and reviewing content together. This is because it can activate the areas of the brain that control emotions and problem-solving. Plus, children learn that tech can be a tool that supports teamwork.
In addition to monitoring content, parents can see where their kids are when they’re away from home. Mobile device apps and wearables use GPS technology to track their kids’ location. There are also small location-monitoring clips that kids can wear on clothing if they’re too young for smartwatches.
Parents who are concerned about safety can locate their kids during emergencies and other high-stakes situations. Some of these devices, like the monitoring clips, come with built-in security features that prevent hackers from reprogramming them.
Educational Tech Continues to Advance
Kids’ tech isn’t limited to traditional devices like phones and tablets. Some of the available gadgets for children combine technology, learning, and creativity in different ways. For example, kids can learn outside the classroom with digital drawing pads and robot-building kits.
Some STEM schools already incorporate courses like coding, but toys and kits can actually give your kids an edge. Plus, these kits can also introduce computer science and engineering to children who may not have access to such curricula.
There are also tech toys that teach coding without the use of screens. This allows elementary-aged children to develop critical-thinking skills without logging additional screen time. Given some kids’ overuse of screens, this approach is ideal.
On average, children between the ages of eight and 10 get nearly eight hours of daily screen time. Too much screen time can lead to problems, such as a decreased ability to pay attention and focus. Tech toys that take the screen out of the equation still allow kids to develop relevant and valuable skill sets. Even older kids can benefit from this screen-free trend.
There are kits that teach pre-teens how to build a computer from scratch. Other toys show them exactly how circuit boards work. These toys gamify critical thinking and problem-solving.
Digital drawing pads and interactive art encourage creativity and help kids developmentally. Interactive art kits, for example, use the cameras on tablets to transform any floor or tabletop into a virtual world. Kids can engage with both real and virtual objects, teaching them better spatial awareness.
Technology can improve kids’ learning in the classroom, and it will likely play a significant role in their adulthood. Research indicates children can use technology to foster relationships with distant friends and relatives. Apps and devices have even made it possible for kids to help people who have disabilities. With this information, you can help your kids on their journey to become smart, responsible computer-savvy adults.
Technology has so many benefits. Don’t let confusion or concern keep you from finding the right way to integrate tech into your kids’ lives. By better understanding parental controls and educational devices, you can help foster your children’s development. You’ll ensure that they get access to the information they need to complete assignments or engage with important STEM subjects. Most importantly, you’ll keep your kids safe and prepare them for the digital world.