Written by Katherine Lutz
Technology has given us access to a lot of immensely helpful things like the internet, social media, helpful or fun apps and so much more.
Obviously, children under the age of five won’t have the same uses for technology that we or older children do. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t any available for their use, however, and there are many ways to get them involved.
Here are some helpful things to know about introducing your young child to technology!
Wanting to keep your child ahead of the game from the very start is standard, and technology offers plenty of affordable and even free ways to do so.
A lot of apps, websites and resources are dedicated to helping boost learning potential in young children or even children who have learning or physical disabilities.
By taking your specific child into consideration and thinking of the kinds of things that could help them grow and develop at such a critical age for learning, you may be surprised at all of the resources you can find.
Even though pre-elementary ages may not have a lot of potential for heavier learning material, there is always something that young children can learn and grow with, and looking into it can open up a world of potential.
Plenty of phones, computer and tablet games are geared towards children of all ages, and many of them have educational components!
Whether the game focuses on simple cognitive development or the basics of more complex ideas like colours, numbers and words, there are plenty of options to sort through.
Plus, when a child is playing a game, they aren’t too likely to be focused on the educational nature of it. This will make them a lot less resistant to the idea of practising things like math, language and much more than things like strictly educational resources or tools.
Plus, looking into educational gaming options for things like programming languages and coding abilities, you can help to give your child a head start as early as possible.
If there are particular areas that come to mind when thinking of things you want to get your child ahead of the game with, look through the app options on your devices; many of them are free or inexpensive and can bring a lot of joy and development to your child!
Early Exposure to Devices
By making sure children are exposed to devices early on, you are giving them an advantage in an increasingly technologically-dependent world.
David Dodge, CEO of Codakid, stresses the importance of children’s exposure to devices, software and even coding early on:
“Pretty much every industry at this point in time is dependent on technology through things like necessary software or hardware and the internet. Because of this, more and more computer science specialists are needed in the modern market, and more employers are looking for this kind of skill in their candidates. By making sure your child understands the basic early on, you are giving them a huge advantage down the road.”
Though most of the reasons for young children to be handling technology aren’t going to be heavily academically or professionally oriented, it is important to keep in mind that a strong foundation will make them much more comfortable with other technological concepts down the road.
Both simple and complex uses of technology can be found throughout education and careers, so making sure your child is ready for that in a world that requires it is a great step to take.
Movies, Videos and E-Books
Entertainment for children has never been more easily obtainable and accessible. Whether you are looking to keep them entertained on a long car ride or simply looking for something fun at playtime, technology can grant that.
While computers have been around for some time now and TVs have been around even longer, the intense increase in smartphone and tablet possession makes finding age-appropriate entertainment for young children easier to find and use than ever.
Decades ago, the thought of entertaining a child with their favourite movies and TV shows during travel was inconceivable. Now, it is not possible but it you have multiple tools you can use to accomplish it and plenty of free resources to top it off!
Plus, if you are dedicated to your child’s reading progress at an early point, e-books are a great way to continue their learning in a more portable and inexpensive way.
Regardless of how you plan to keep your toddler or young child entertained, there are plenty of resources available on your devices to make it easier!
Risks to Keep in Mind
Though there are many great benefits and uses for technology, it is important to realize that everything also comes with risks and things to be aware of.
Technology can be addictive and isolating, and it is important to make sure that your child’s interactions aren’t limited to screens. Physical toys and stimulation are important to make sure they develop other more physical skills and strengths.
Additionally, making sure they have sufficient interaction with people is critical to their social development. Movies and games are great for playtime, but also consider group activities or screen-free time as well so that they can get used to being around other people as well.
Ways that you can enforce this in a positive manner from early on is by making set time slots for the children to use screens. Additionally, you could consider it a privilege that can be given and taken away based on good or bad behaviour just any other activity.
Ultimately, it can be hard finding a balance, but it is important to give your child positive exposure to screens while also making sure it doesn’t consume their days and impact early development in other areas.
The use of technology is no longer something reserved for older children and young adults. Children as young as the age of two are able to grasp certain functions of tablets, phones and other devices.
By understanding the positive ways technology can influence your child’s life, you can really help them get ahead through supplemental learning resources or educational games. Additionally, you can keep them entertained through a variety of movie, video or book resources.
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Katherine is a graduate student at the Florida State University…
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