Screen time & technology go hand in hand when it comes to children. Are children dumbing down by the use of unlimited technology?
Technology has rapidly evolved through the years. From beepers/pagers, to flip phones, to blackberry, to smartphone, to tablet, to pads, to smart watches… what else could these technology gurus introduce to us now that we can’t currently do with our personal handheld devices?
There certainly are great advantages where technology has raised the bar in development, performance and innovation. Many schools throughout the United States, both public and private, have even adopted the use of applied technology in its curriculum.
No surprise – today’s schools are eliminating traditional hard cover text books and incorporating e-textbooks.
My children have attended STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math) schools throughout the years, elementary, middle and high school. Quite honestly, I’ve seen so much advancements in their learning experience. Their interests have been in-depth and they’ve also engaged their skills beyond expectation.
Their schools have provided each student with their own iPad minis to have during the school year, primarily for educational use. The apps and websites approved by their school offer valuable cognitive challenges in reading and math content, as appropriate to their respective grade levels.
So what’s the problem? Where really is the line drawn when it comes to our children’s security, safety and development? The problem lies when an already technological, screen dependent generation become incapable of distinguishing the “needs” over the “want” with use of technology.
The problem lies when the result is unwarranted temper tantrums, emotional outbursts and respect suddenly becomes optional. Most certainly, the problem lies when a child does everything possible to forfeit exceptional effort just for the sake of immediate self gratifying screen time.
Back in my day (…boy, do I sound old ?), the television was considered an “idiot box.”
Idiot Box: A controlled device slowly burning and killing off brain cells. A viewing device, perhaps only described by my Caribbean parents as the “devil,” ushering a wave of selective hearing children.
To “play” was to go outside, get messy and get into mischeif. The first time my siblings and I got a “game” was 2 years after the original Nintendo Mario Brothers game came out with the added bonus of Duck Hunt. Our parents even spent a little extra buying the Legends of Zelda game. While we were so ecstatic, our parents hated it even more as our priorities gradually shifted. Well that was in in the 80’s.
THE MESSY TRUTH…
While technology will inevitably continue to be at large, today, more and more kids are so incredibly savvy, it almost seems like an expected developmental stage. Doctors would even caution parents to limit their children’s screen time, irrespective of device, to about 2 hours per day.
With so many positives, is it worth ignoring the risks that lies ahead? The lack of human interaction to lack of compassion. The lack of physical ability to lack of interest. Your children may not even recognize you anymore! Toddlers are pointing their fingers to glowing devices rather than colorful building blocks.
The numbers of attention deficit children are rising and children are becoming less and less emotionally expressive as a result of overall significant exposure.
This truly is a wake up call and one of significant importance. Playing a role in your child’s exposure to technology at school should impact the decision of parents. It’s a balancing act trying to limit their exposure at home to keep a healthy balance in screen time use.
Increased exposure to technology goes hand in hand with decreased interest in physical activity. This can created laziness, sluggishness, and potential obesity in children.
HEALTHY PARENT APPROVED ALTERNATIVES
There are ways, however, for parents to consider in taking control of the quality in content their children are accessible to view. The most obvious would be managing and setting restrictions within their tablet’s setting and setting goals to earn privileges.
Unfortunately, what use to be considered as strict restrictions under parental control are now far more looser definitions of restrictions. Today, when carefully researched, there are a number of kid friendly electronics that are considerate to parents concerns.
One tablet I’ve found to be a parent’s dream tablet is the Fire Kids Edition with Amazon FreeTime Unlimited.
Here some of it’s amazing features:
Built for kids:
In FreeTime, the background color changes to blue, letting parents know at a glance that their child is safe. Kids only see titles that have been selected for them. Younger kids can search before they know how to type by using Characters – for example, tap on “Cinderella,” “Dinosaurs,” or “Puppies”.
While in FreeTime, kids do not have access to social media or the internet, and they can’t make in-app purchases.
Screen Time limits:
Limiting your child’s screen time can be challenging without the proper tools. FreeTime lets parents set daily limits, or restrict certain categories – like games and video – while leaving unlimited time for reading.
FreeTime Smart Filters ensure that your child sees age-appropriate content within FreeTime Unlimited. We use input from Common Sense Media and from parents like you to ensure that pre-teens don’t get the baby stuff and little kids don’t see the scary stuff. Parents can also adjust Smart Filter settings to tailor the experience for each child.
With Learn First, parents can block access to games and cartoons until after educational goals are met. Using Bedtime, parents can control when FreeTime shuts down for the day.
Parents can create up to four individual child profiles, customize each child’s access to content from the parent’s library, and decide which FreeTime Unlimited titles will be viewable in each profile. It’s like giving each kid their very own, personalized tablet. Kids can’t exit FreeTime mode without a password.
Kids can take pictures and edit them by adding stickers, drawings, and more. Parents can view photos and videos taken by their children in a separate photo gallery, and have the option to auto-save to Amazon Cloud Drive.
Conversely, parents who would like to consider an eased approach to decreasing screen time consumption, could benefit from Amazon STEM Toys.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, but what STEM education focuses on is much more than these four subjects. The focus of STEM education is how these subjects relate to each other and the real world. That means that these subjects need to be taught together and be focused on problem solving.
STEM toys encourage kids to develop skills in the core disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I chose these STEM toys because they have clear goals and encourage kids to learn STEM skills while having fun. CLICK HERE or the picture below to find out more.
What are your thoughts on screen time and technology with our children today? I’d love to hear from you so please share them below!
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