Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On Kids and Technology

As we all know, kids are naturally curious creatures.  They want to know about everything.  The amount of questions I get asked in a typical day is overwhelming.  And if I don't answer those questions to their satisfaction, they're going to find the answers themselves.  So it doesn't surprise me at all when they start asking to use the computer.  After all, they see me blogging throughout the day and their dad organizing on his iPad for Sunday morning.  Why wouldn't they be curious?

Technology is a double edged sword in my mind.  On one hand, it's changing quicker than ever before and has become such an integrated part of our society that our kids will need to understand it for their futures.  On the other hand, access to so much information can be both inappropriate and addicting.  And it has become a cheap substitute for face to face interactions.

So how can we help our children (and ourselves) navigate through technology?

*First of all, realize that because of their natural curiousity, children will figure out how to use the computer.  It amazes me time and again, how my two oldest children have worked their way from one website to another in a matter of seconds.  Search bar?  No problem.  Bookmarks?  Got it.  They're not afraid to play around with the tool bar 'cause it's all fun for them.

*Don't be afraid of parental controls.  I know sometimes we want to let our kids just follow their curiousity.  But left unchecked, this could lead to some very scary realities.  And don't think your child is too young.  A curious child can be lead to all sorts of dangers on the internet.  Don't let your child (or their minds) become the internet's next victim.

*Establish clear time limits.  In our house, the kids read every day for 30 min in exchange for 20 min of computer time.  Computer time is not to be redeemed until all school work is complete to Mom's satisfactory.  Sometimes we allow for more computer time, but that's a rare exception and usually focuses on homework or something that the family can do together.

Technology is a great tool.  I have been incredibly blessed by the friends I've made through blogging and social media.  And there's a whole world to explore right at our fingertips.  With a little planning, parental influence, and clear limits, our kids can flourish in the world of technology.

*Linked to these Parties

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