4 Key Reasons Kids Are Great With Tech
It’s a common scene for a parent of the digital age – you leave the room for one moment, and return to find your 3 year old quite happily typing away on the tablet. It seems almost instinctive, which can be a little alarming. The average child can now spend over 6 hours each day in front of a screen, but should we be so worried? The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated their guidelines for screen time and suggested 1 hour a day for 2-5 year olds, but with work, school activities and evening family time, it’s so easy for this to become an unlikely scenario. So, we put together a few thoughts on technology and why children seem to use and love it so much in spite of the apparent risks and side-effects that parents are so often reminded of…
First things first: let’s break down why children appear like fish in water with seemingly complex tech:
- Any child born since the year 2000 has been born into the technological era: they know no alternative. Children learn quickly from their surroundings, and when they see their parents constantly on the phone, watching TV to unwind, or browsing social media, it is only natural that they will mimic that behaviour. And, since they are picking up this tech at a young and developmental age, they can grasp the mechanics as easily as they can learn their first language.
- Because of the slow death of traditional media, there is no other way to get where they want to be. Few people own road maps, letter writing sets, or encyclopaedias nowadays. As painful as it is to see libraries close and ebooks take over, it’s important to remember that to keep up with their peers, kids are going to need to be more engaged than ever before with technology – it will affect education, job prospects and their social lives as they grow older.
- At a young age, children are very keen to explore. They are not intimidated by ‘newness’ in the way that adults can be. If you give your child a new toy, they will work out how to play with it, and then play with it. The same goes with a phone, tablet or desktop computer. They aren’t afraid of making a mistake or looking foolish – kids just don’t have the lifelong experiences and expectations of themselves.
- Finally, kids have a lot of leisure time! Practice certainly does make perfect, and boy, can kids repeat things. How many times has the average parent watched Frozen now? Kids thrive off of repetition, as it helps to cement their learning and help them to understand what they are hearing or watching.
So, onto why parents shouldn’t worry too much about their kids’ screen time. The recommended guidelines seem to change across countries, year on year, and it can be hard to know whether to trust any one source. The best course of action is to watch your child closely. You know them better than anyone, and know the signs that they are bored, or tired, or simply not getting anything out of their screens anymore. But don’t dwell on their three hour stint in front of the computer, if at least some of that time has been spent on an educational, creative or interactive program.
3 reasons to love your kids’ technological savviness:
- They’re getting steps ahead of a quickly developing world. As I mentioned earlier, kids today will grow up into a world ever more integrated with technology, and the better handle they have on it, the more they can achieve.
- Technology requires a lot of creativity and decision-making. You may think that sitting in front of a computer game is mind-numbing, but in many cases that couldn’t be farther from the truth. To play even a simple car simulator game, you need to make key decisions and react in a way that computers just can’t: when to brake, when to avoid a dog, when to do a wheelie and show off to your friends…
- Finally (and possibly most importantly) they can fix your stuff – who wants to fork out the money for an expert when you’ve got one sitting on the sofa?
Here at Minilab, we create apps for children aged 2 and up, to contribute to your child’s development – and help you worry less about screen time! We believe that with the right tools, screen time can be as useful to children as reading a book (although we recommend plenty of that too!). If you’re looking for something to keep them busy and learning at the same time, our apps are available for iOS, Google Play and the Amazon App Store. Check out TotemUp, Artie’s Magic Pencil, or Astro Cat’s Solar System, and make screen time matter with us!