When Should You Start Technologising Your Kids?

September 27, 2017 Kids and technology

Technology has become a somewhat indispensable part of life. While parents cannot insulate their kids from using electronic gadgets, it is their responsibility to make sure that children learn its responsible use. 

The question, however, remains: When should you start technologising your kids? Here are a few insights for you.

Preschool Age

Children are tactile. They, instinctively, reach out for anything.  Since electronic gadgets are engaging, kids will zero in on them and insist on getting their hands on them without too much prodding. This is where parenting comes in. 

According to experts, parents should wait until at least the age of 3 or 4 before introducing kids to technology. Children under two years old should be exposed to real-world experiences and interactions first. They learn best this way. Parents should make it a point to give their kids opportunities to explore their environment using their senses before doing the easier thing which is to prop them up in a corner in front of a screen-based device.

Once they reach age 3 or 4, kids are capable of understanding content with context.  This is when you can start technologising your kids by watching educational videos on your computer or tablet. These videos are highly interactive and they use images and sounds that capture the attention of the little ones. Children can be exposed to light educational stuff such as the alphabet, letters, and numbers by watching these kinds of videos.

Unsupervised use

There sure is no way that you can keep on checking what your children are doing when they use technology. That is why parents are encouraged to learn when to start technologising your kids because with it comes teaching its responsible use.

Experts recommend that parents can wean off hovering around children using electronic gadgets at around 11 and by the age of 13, allow unsupervised use. However, it is important to make them understand that they have to earn such freedom.

Have they consistently been responsible in using social media? Do they have enough time to do school work without gadgets getting in the way? Is the content that they are accessing appropriate for their age? These are things that you have to discuss with them.

Set a clear boundary and give appropriate consequences if children cross the line.  Make it clear that it is a huge responsibility to use technology and that they must learn to consistently follow through even without your supervision.

Parental guidance should continue

While supervision will diminish as kids grow older, guidance, especially after you officially start technologising your kids, is essential for them to build healthy habits when using technology. Parents should regularly monitor their kids’ activities when they use their gadgets. TVs and computers should be in common areas. 

Remember, nothing trumps real world exploration and interaction. Do not let your children be slaves to technology. Give them more opportunities to read actual books, explore their surroundings, and build social networks. There should be a time for real life experiences and a time for technology. It is up to the parents to strike that balance.

Screen time and content

Here are some recommendations where screen time is concerned.

  • Not more than half an hour for a 4 to 5 year old
  • Not more than an hour for a 6 to 7 year old
  • Not more than 2 hours for older children

To prevent eyesight issues from too much exposure to screen-based devices, ask kids to rest their eyes in between using their gadgets.

Content is yet another thing that parents should look into. For younger children, you can co-view educational videos. When they grow older, they would understandably gravitate towards entertainment. While you can put on parental controls for any device, you may be surprised to know that kids can go around many of them.

The best thing to do is to talk to them about some of the dangers when they go online and set clear limits when using technology. There is still a need for parents to monitor what videos their kids are watching and what sites they have been visiting. 

Need further guidance? Talk to a professional counsellor to get further insights.

Parents should be at the frontline where their kids are concerned especially with technology. Teaching children to be responsible when using technology is imperative. If you need help in this particular area, you can always ask help from a professional counsellor.  Contact Dr John Toussaint today for expert advice.

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