How parents can integrate technology in child’s day-to-day learning.

How parents can integrate technology in child’s day-to-day learning.

By now, we know that there are two kinds of parents when it comes to technology use by children – the outsourcing parent and the helicopter parent. 

By now, we know that there are two kinds of parents when it comes to technology use by children – the outsourcing parent and the helicopter parent.

Although most of us are a mix of two, you can identify each species with their specific markers. The outsourcing parent is happy to outsource parenting to their TV, smartphone and tablet.

Children love technology and they are drawn to electronic screens like moths to the flame. It keeps everybody happy. The helicopter parent, quite like the majority of Indian parents, is always hovering over their child’s every move.

Such a parent would have a comparatively restrictive regimen for technology use. Since the outsourcing parent already relies a lot on technology, here are a few tips for the helicopter ones. The outsourcers can try these as well to make technology usage more effective.

However, a disclaimer first – there is no single right way of using technology. Like everything else, moderation is a virtue for technology for both adults and children.

Passive consumption of media (like TV or YouTube shows) for a prolonged duration will be harmful for cognitive development. There are known physiological repercussions of device usage for prolonged duration.

Nevertheless, it would be naïve of us to think that we can entirely control the technology and media exposure of our children. Therefore, it is important that rather than keeping them away from technology, we train our children to become confident and capable users for their benefit (and not only entertainment).

We must adopt their ways, help them learn in ways that appeal to them and prepare them for a technology-driven future.

Let us see how as parents we can integrate technology in our child’s day-to-day learning and experiences.

  • As a parent you should be aware of concepts that your child is studying in school. Take out sometime and look for interesting videos, games and apps related to those concepts. Enjoy these with your children and make learning more fun.
  • Encourage children to explore various new concepts online. You may sit with them while they do so. You could encourage them to look up experiments and conduct those experiments on their own at home.
  • Join in while encouraging your child to explore things online. Participate in the learning process so that the child does not feel it is homework from you. Your child would love to see you enjoying the experience as well.
  • Schools nowadays encourage the use of technology in researching information or creating a project. Keep a tab on such assignments and help your child by looking up safe and creative websites that may help them.
  • There are times when you might feel technologically challenged as compared to your children. Do not feel intimidated by such experiences; rather seek your children’s help in order to build on your relationship with your children. They will feel more confident when they are able to teach you how to operate a device and what to look for in a website.
  • Help identify a platform where your children could connect with their friends and communicate. They could share interesting videos, blogs and articles. This will help them develop their online communication skills.
  • It would be interesting to start a blog with your child. Both of you could sit together to write the initial entries, later you could encourage your child to takeover and write the blogs independently. This will help her learn how to express her thoughts and beliefs in a confident manner.
  • Educate your child to become smart digital users. Make them aware about the various malpractices they must avoid online and the various things they need to be careful about while exploring the internet. Do ensure that you talk to them about safe and unsafe websites, spam, malware, identity theft, etc.
  • Cyberbullying on social media is a real issue. Communicate with your child to understand her needs and help her if she experiences any such issues.
  • Discuss a list of what your child should not share online and explain the consequences of sharing embarrassing posts or photographs.
  • Children are naturally adept in using technology to learn.
  • Yes, learning is fun for them. If you want to loosen the strings a bit more, check out the wonderful work done by Prof. SugataMitra. His notions of child-driven education may sound revolutionary, but entirely implementable if you try it with your child.
  • I trust that as helicopter parents you will now quickly Google Schools on Cloud and Granny Cloud, two initiatives by Prof. Mitra. The outsourcers can take heart from this as well; yes, you were right all along – children do learn a lot by themselves and have fun while doing it.

By: Dipnarayan Chakraborty

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