Screens are the ultimate demons in our kids’ lives – Says Who?

In most of my discussions with parents, the one thing that surfaces most often is the kids’ relationship with the screens. Earlier i have written about this subject here ” The Y of Screen Addictions”. And here is how I as a mother of 2 kids deal with the Screens in my house.

Technology is good

From times innumerable, we have been fascinated by the science, its new discoveries and its progression in our society. There is no denying the fact that progress in technology has been incomparable in the last one decade. As the world is being transformed into a hi-tech digital space, new age challenges are often cropping up in our communities. While ease of access to information, artificial intelligence in medicine and various other fields, are usually decoded as new age wonders, parents struggling with screen addictions and boredom in children crowd the other end of the spectrum.  Children today are getting hands-on with smart devices and the blue screen, like never before. Parents are often caught in the dilemma of the pros and cons on the health & wellbeing of their kids due to over-exposure to technology and devices.

Screens are good

Benefits of Technology:

Here are some of the key benefits of embracing technbology and as part of your parenting endeavor you might want to consider these seriously the next time when you feel debarring the scrrens from your child’s lives.

  1. Technology helps improve the hand-eye coordination in kids in the form of interactive Apps and games where children follow the content with their eyes and react with their hands.
  2. Technology enhances essential life skills in child especially the cognitive aspects pertaining to critical thinking, mathematics and reading abilities. Various researches prove that online games and technological content helps in strengthening the attentional, motor and visual skills in children. This is true for computer-assisted learning software pertaining to math which is typically a subject where teachers are unable to pay personalized attention to their students in large-sized classes. 
  3. Through technology, parents are able to receive low costs messages that act as reminders, tips and tools that eventually help students and their parents in being positively engaged at every stage of their child’s schooling. 
  4. The other key life skill in kids that technology has been found to be very effective is in the improvement of language skills and in the field of problem solving and social interaction. A study conducted by Fordham University has reported that when young kids engage with online games, they need to take decision faster because of the format of the game that usually come with short-term goals. This directly leads to enhancing their problem solving, logical reasoning, decision making skills and mathematical skills. Another research in the field of behavioral and mental science called Policy Insights in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences reveal that when kids play video games they react spontaneously to take critical decisions that consciously or unconsciously enable kids to take faster decisions. 
  5. Screen time also works on the development of the dynamic spatial skills that pertain to comparing the sizes of different items, components and structures.
  6. The digital medium enables kids to access multiple platforms to gain more information on different aspects. Technology opens new world to kids who are able to see upfront and directly view events, places, animals and other things from their interest field online. For example, kids are able to animals under water or see a country from the other side of the world. They can take virtual tour of the Seven Wonders of the World or things that exist on this planet that they have never seen before and probably will take some time to see physically.
  7. The digital medium is also helpful in encouraging kids to explore their skills and talents, for example, singing or writing, or speaking and engaging with an audience. 

What should you bother about instead:

Various new studies in this field are showing that technology, after all is not that bad for kids. What is important is the quality of the content that kids access online rather than the time they spend playing games or watching videos online. Parents need to fine-tune the kid’s digital engagement quality and time.

Studies conducted by UNICEF also mention that digital technology stimulates a child’s social relationships because most of his friends are now online. Further the study also reveals that internet use has negligible negative impact on the child’s brain or mental well-being. (https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/Children-digital-technology-wellbeing.pdf)

Online safety for kid

Hence the need of the hour is to indulge in safe online access and presence for kids. Parents, of course have a bigger role to play here and keep supervising contents and other safety related aspects. Some of them are:-

  • No posting of personal information and keeping privacy settings high.
  • Online medium is not ideal for befriending strangers and also not sharing personal pictures, videos or plans to meet unknown people.
  • It is best not to respond to people or messages that appear threatening, appears unsafe or uncomfortable. 
  • Keep a watch on the child and keep monitoring his online activities and behaviors.
  • Teach and instruct him on what is right and what is wrong.
  • Do not share your credit card or banking details, passwords etc with your child.
  • Also keep a watch for dangerous signs like if the child is spending too much time online, especially at night; or is receiving gifts or unsolicited phone calls; or switches off the smart device as soon as you enter the room.

A beautiful article “Why screen times isn’t bad for kids” by Dr Jordan Shapiro provides further insights on the subjectA must read

Another insightful post i found while i researched on this subject is “Screens are the latest inventions not ruining kids”

These 2 write ups have been successful in breaking so many myths about screens being the ultimate demons in our kids’ lives.. I hope they do the same for you all too… So i am ok if my kids want to spend some time in front of their screens, all i worry about is that they dont over do it and what kind of content they are consuming. While with my personal experience on the subject, i can easily say both my kids have developed such good skills in finding out relevant, exciting and quality content. We usually end up listening to intreresting stories answering creative riddles and listening to such useful and life enriching hacks from my 12 year old while the 6 year old chap always tells me about the new 1 minute game that he can set up for all of us to play and engage… So screens are not bad but like everything lets just set the boundaries and keep an eye on kids’ safety.

Happy Surfing!

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