The child and the Smart Age
Funny how the rules of technology keep changing faster than we can keep up. But the rules of good parenting remain the same.— Debra-Lynn B. Hook
Should we let them D(G)oogle or not?!
Who are these Smart age kids
'Smart age kids' (as we would address them) do not settle for the normal (of course). They are all game for browsing our smartphones, tabs, xbox's and other gizmos which encompass them to a virtual world which nobody ever thought of. The adrenaline rush which we had while plucking mangoes or probably while climbing down a slide in the water park is well replaced by gaming sessions and video viewing on these gadgets.
A 2-year old maneuvers through the interface of an I-phone so seamlessly we feel that if we were half as intelligent as them at that age, we would have landed jobs in likes of Microsoft , Google etc.
The big question of leaving the tiny tots in the hands of digital world
The question is : Is it okay to leave them to this technology at this tender age, (when they should be in the playground instead of being left to a machine) which will anyways eventually envelope them in it's big world of applications, social media, forums and so on)?
There are various debates arising from this topic, the foremost being the health of the child. For two reasons technology can play a havoc to our kids :
- It requires long sitting minutes - hours (depending on viewing time) taking away their playtime in the playground.
- The long viewing time causes problems like strain on vision, bad posture development at early age, headaches due to constant viewing etc.
Other debates include the type of content, the fact that they grow aggressive when not given in to the demands of a gizmo etc. go against the topic.
Whereas, those who are 'Pro - technology' say that it adds a new and different dimension of learning , opening them to an exciting world which churns their minds (Interactive learning tools, audio books and visuals manipulates their mind letting them visualize and learn more easily)!
The possibilities of handling a smart age kid with technology
There are various suggestions given by experts to solve this virtual problem like :
- Parental guidance (keeping a check on the type of content)
- Limited number of hours (allows win -win situation for both)
- Providing alternatives to the child to channelize their never - ending energies (engaging them in daily chores, engaging them in art and craft activities etc.).Remember 'Do not bore your child'. They cannot wait for your 5 mins mommy will be back. Engage them in some activity till you are busy. Let them sort their clothes (although at the end you realize they are really not sorting them).
- Be 'Firm' about your decision of not giving in. If your spouse is denying the child of a demand then support instead of 'giving in' due to your maternal or paternal instincts. We really need to learn how to say 'No' to kids at times. Don't let these little creatures manipulate you.
- Last but not the least - Patience is the key - after all they are kids and not adults.They will throw tantrums.
Where do you draw the line?
The following link talks about the above debate and some solutions in detail:
- When to Introduce Your Child to a Smartphone or Tablet . Articles . Children and Media . PBS Parents
When to Introduce Your Child to a Smartphone or Tablet
Also another link (below) has some very interesting facts about use of mobile phones in different countries including Japan, India, Egypt and Paraguay showing
- Children's use of mobile phones
GSMA NTT DOCOMOChildren’s use ofmobile phones —An internationalcomparison 2011
So here we are , in this sought after technology freak world , trying to figure out 'How to bridge the gap between the old and new generation - and not sound like Not caring parents'. Hope we get some useful clues and navigate in the right direction of 'How to bring up a Smart child in this Smart Age' of Smart cities , smart phones, smart technology and hopefully smart parents'.
Any thoughts, feedback or ideas are welcome on the above topic. After all, we all are or will be parents at some point of time :)