I was out having a meeting in a coffee shop last week when a girl and her mum walked past our table. Nothing out of the ordinary there you would say but in this instance the girl (aged about 5) was holding an iPhone. To this my guest piped up “I would never leave any of my kids have an iPhone at that age. Just leave them be kids”.
This seriously got me thinking. Should our children be allowed to get immersed in the technology we use on a daily basis or should we shield them from it, allow them to “just be kids” and sort it out at a later date?
Take my 3 year old girl as an example. She loves my Blackberry Playbook to bits (it is kid proof by the way!!). She has learnt how to access apps, switch between them and even load up Mr Tumble on You Tube (parents will know what I am talking about here). She shows a lot of interest in playing with keyboards, using the Eeepc 701(again kid proof) and just computers in general. She also likes mimicking dad on the phone by talking into her toy phone while wandering around the house (we all do it). Should I stop her doing all this stuff especially since it was not forced on her but rather she likes it? She still gets to “just be a kid” when she goes to playgroup or just sits and plays with her toys.
There is so much technology around these days that if we were to turn it all off the world would be cast back to the dark ages overnight. If we like it or not it is here to stay. To this end surely it is better to get kids used to it and show them how to use it responsibly rather than hide it from them. Who better than your mum and dad to show you how to do things because believe me there will always be someone else available to show them if you don’t.
IT should also be higher up the school agenda alongside Maths, English (in our case) and Science. Yes you still need the ‘traditional’ subjects but you also need the IT skills to use them. For example when was the last time you wrote a letter?
At this point I want to clarify one thing. I would never allow any of my kids to use Facebook until they fully understood the dangers of using social media. Social media is fantastic when used in the correct manner but it can also be used to cause great harm too.
So should children be immersed in technology? Over to you.
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