In this day and age, kids seem to grow up surrounded by computers, the internet, smartphones and digital technology, so it’s no surprise that they are becoming competent in their use at a much younger age.
Often we consider such technology as detrimental to our children’s well-being or development and you often hear parents saying that their child spends too much time in front of a screen or that they can’t get them away from the computer. In many cases this is absolutely true and prolonged use of such technology won’t be great for a child but it is equally important to recognise the way in which such technology has also become a tool for education.
For an incredible number of us, the internet has become the means by which we satisfy all our needs and desires. If we need information, we have Google and Wikipedia. If we need to shop, we have an enormous range of online stores. If we need to communicate, we use Skype, email or instant messaging services. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that our children are becoming increasingly apt at making the most of such a resource. As a source of information, the internet is unparalleled.
It can be hugely beneficial for children in a number of ways. Firstly, it is interactive. This means that a child is being constantly stimulated while using it and will constantly be facing problem solving challenges that help their development.
Secondly, it allows them a greater degree of independence in learning about the things they want to. Where previously children may have been limited by what was available in books from their local library and information parents and teachers were able to pass on, now they can access any information they want and assess it themselves.
However, this freedom does come at some expense. Parents need to be aware of the risks associated with unsuitable content and unsafe internet usage in order to keep their children safe. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Virgin Media provide tips on how to keep your child safe and software that will help block unsuitable sites. For information on Virgin Media’s services, click here.
Concerns about your child’s use of the internet should be balanced with the recognition that in recent years it has become an incredibly useful educational tool and a much more important part of this generation’s lives.