Children and Technology

It is a scary time when your children start growing up. Do you remember when you were a child? I know I imagine I was so innocent compared to most kids these days. But the thing is they are still just kids, innocent too but just of different things. Their world is different and so they adapt to whatever life presents them.

But as a parent it is still easy to become scared when they grow, and especially when the demands for technology begin. It is seemingly happening earlier and earlier these day. Some of the children in my son’s class had mobile phones in the first grade and by the end of the third he was one of the few still without one.

The time has now come to give in, not because he needs to play games on the thing, because he needs an actual telephone. When the kids get phones in the first grade they are just being given gaming devices to occupy every moment when they should be looking out of a window and dreaming or talking to a friend.

My son has now got access to a computer and a mobile phone. The computer arrived as a surprise this summer and the phone for the beginning of the new school year, when he will begin coming home on the bus alone. The only technology the children used previously was a tablet, which they had access to sparingly. Tablets are much easier to monitor and control and can be good educational aids.

Computers and phones, on the other hand, need vigilance and care from the parents to ensure they are not misused. I am learning all about monitoring and controlling these things but at the moment my son is more interested in checking the weather so he can plan a fishing trip or listening to music on his new phone.

Another way of controlling the use of these devices was thought of by my wife. We are a Fitbit family and we use the number of steps the children do each day as a motivational tool. 10,000 steps in a day means you can use technology the next, but before you play with the computer or phone you must have done 5,000 steps on that actual day. “You want to play computer games? Go out for a jog or a game of football first.” It works well and as long as the children agree to these rules and the parents keep up their side of the bargain there should be no problem.

I will keep working to learn the best way of monitoring these devices as the kids get older and begin to explore other territory. Also, I need to stay aware of the latest trends to know what they might be getting up to as they mature. But I can’t know everything and maybe that is for the best.

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© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

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