Making a Choice for Your Children: Allowing Them to Use Technology or Stopping Them from It

When we talk about our right to make choices for our children, we usually refer to giving their names, the christening, religious teachings, and morality lessons. Do we have the right to decide those things for them? We focus on those big things, but we forget that we are making choices for many other things related to the development of our children. We are responsible to make some decisions about the way we let our children grow up. Where does technology find its place in all that?

Whether we like it or not, we have to make that choice for them. Will we let our children use technology, or will we prevent them from looking at the screen? Technology has many advantages, but hidden dangers as well. It’s an important issue, and it’s not an easy decision to make.

Both extremes are… well, extremes. No matter how much we try to keep our children away from technology, they will discover it. If, on the other hand, we let them use their tablets as much as they want to, we are neglecting our role as parents and we risk seeing them become addicted.

The Two Types of Parents: Restrictive and Technology-Prone

Whether we like it or not, our children will use technology. Today’s education is closely related to the use of technology, and we surely want our children to be educated. When they are young, however, we have a say in this matter.
Some parents allow children aged two or younger to use the Internet. Their parents encourage them to play games that develop different skills. Some games require players to choose outfits or use different colors to paint their own pictures. Those activities help them develop skills of creative expression.

The other group of parents encompasses those who are focused on the potential dangers of technology. First of all, we are aware that children are not that careful with iPads and other expensive devices. They break them. By allowing them to do so, we are making them unaware of the value of the items we buy. That’s not the biggest issue, though. The parents from this group are afraid that their children would access unsafe websites that would ruin their innocence. They are also worried about their kids becoming addicted to technology and forgetting all about real play.

Which group do you belong to? The real question is: do you really need to belong to a group? Let’s discuss the advantages and disadvantages of technology, and then we’ll try to answer that question.

Why We Should Allow Children to Use Technology

Television is a more passive medium when compared to the Internet. It tells a story and doesn’t necessarily require response. When we allow our children to use the tablet, on the other hand, they get reactions to their actions. They are not just swiping around the screen; they are learning how to activate different functions on the device. For that purpose, they activate their brains. That’s only one of the many benefits technology has. Let’s check out a few others:
·       Well-chosen games improve the hand-and-eye coordination of the users.
·       Children may improve their language skills thanks to the tablet. There are different active screen activities that contribute towards improved vocabulary: reading stories or eBooks, or playing games that intuitively teach children of different terms.
·       Children are motivated to learn. The Internet is an endless source of knowledge. When your child has a question about the Universe and you don’t know the answer, Google will have some answers for you. Children have an intuitive curiosity that the Internet supports and develops. One answer will lead to another, and they will be learning a valuable lesson before you know it.

Why We Shouldn’t Allow Them to Use Technology

The use of technology doesn’t come without advantages. If you leave your children to use the tablet without supervision, they might end up somewhere you don’t want them to be. We’re not talking about opening your Facebook app and writing senseless status updates; that’s the most innocent thing they could do. We are talking about accessing inappropriate content that’s all over the web. In addition to that obvious disadvantage, there are few other potential drawbacks we should be aware of:
·       The games that only encourage rapid reflex responses (such as repeated shooting at an object) are especially dangerous. They have no educational benefit and they tend to be addictive. The problem is: those are the games our children love the most.
·       Technology leads to sedentary lifestyle. Can you deny the fact that children who prefer playing on the tablet spend less time outside with other kids? Dolls and trains quickly get boring for them. The games on the tablet, on the other hand, never bore them.
·       The screen may cause problems with the eyes, as well as the shoulder nerves. Too much screen time may also cause headaches, even when children are in question. 

The Solution: Balance

After considering both the advantages and disadvantages of technology, we’re more confused than ever: is it good or bad for our children? It’s a bit of this and a bit of that. Thus, we need to find the balance. On one hand, the knowledge that our child is entertained is comforting. We can always find child-friendly apps and games. We can encourage our children to learn thanks to their inclination towards technology.

On the other hand, we mustn’t allow our children to become addicted. We need to limit the screen time to a safe dose and monitor their online activity, so we’ll keep them safe.

As for the decision-making part, it’s great when we allow our children to make their own choices. That’s how we teach responsibility. Sometimes, however, we are responsible to make some choices for them. As parents, that’s what we need to do. Regarding technology use, balance is the key.

About Author:
Jessica Freeman is an experienced journalist who also contributes her freelance pieces to Australianwritings. She feels passionate about writing and prefers developing such topics as education, motivation, and career improvements. Get in touch with her on Twitter.

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