Education - I fully embrace any technology that helps my children do better at school! There are plenty of studies that show giving students access to iPads improves their school results. So, I’m all for additional technology in education. The kids can use educational apps to help understand the tricky topics at school. They also find these devices easier to engage with, compared to some traditional methods.
Entertainment - When it comes to entertainment, I’m a little more strict about their usage. It would be too easy to allow them to spend an entire evening on games consoles, social media, and the iPad. I’m all for education, but there’s a limit to how much they should spend engrossed in a screen. As a parent, it would be easy to let them get carried away. It’s bad for their eyesight, and I do worry about the effect on their social interaction. That’s why I put a strict limit on how much technology they use for entertainment.
Future learning - Technology isn’t just about education and school. I completely understand that technology will be a huge part of the future. In particular, most jobs will require an in-depth understanding of gadgets, websites, coding and technology. I’m happy to encourage their use of technology when it will actively help them in the future.
Communication - As parents, we want our children to grow up into socially confident young adults. That means engaging in real life social situations, talking to adults and their peers in the flesh. At the same time, we do have to accept that most of the younger generation do communicate online. And they will continue to do so! To a certain extent, we have to let them grow those social circles. Again, it’s a case of setting realistic limits on how much we let this take over their lives.
Restrictions - Despite all the advantages of technology, it’s crucial that parents step in and set restrictions. Excessive technology use sets up bad habits for the future. Studies show that children who spend more time watching TV in the younger years will do the same in the future. It’s all about encouraging a more active lifestyle. I am particularly strict when it comes to using technology before bedtime. Looking at bright screens and using mobile devices at this time disrupts sleep patterns.
As a parent, it’s our job to find that careful balance. Use technology as a tool for learning, and - to a smaller extent - entertainment. Just know when it’s time to pull the plug.