Sunday, September 21, 2014

A challenge to parents: How much technology is good for their children?

The start of the school year brings many challenges to parents. A key concern is how much technology is effective and appropriate for young children, pre-school  through the early years of school?  There can be no conversation about how children learn the skills they need to become ready to learn to read without addressing the implications of the early use of technology.

No doubt, technology does enhance children’s education. The internet’s value as a research tool is unquestionably valuable but the concern becomes the over use of technology and how compatible child-friendly digital technologies are with the nature of childhood and the flowering of their intellect.

Parents want their children to achieve academic success and they often think technology is the way to success, when much of it is mindless entertainment. When technology is over used, unmanaged and unregulated, the results are serious.  Parents and children plugged into devices does NOT foster the type of interaction and stimulation children need in their early years to foster their communication skills. Children need plentiful opportunities to use and respond to the words they learn through play, informal talk, reading and responding to what is read.

Let me share a valuable piece of information that comes from the VP of the Kaiser Family Foundation “My impression is that parents really believe these videos and other gadgets are good for their children, or at the very least, not really bad for them,” “To me, the most important thing is reminding parents that getting down on the floor to play with children is the most educational thing they can do.”