Use technology in a variety of educational ways
Using technology in a variety of ways helps children understand that technology is more than a device to play games. Taking pictures during a nature walk, reading eBooks, and using the Internet to find information reinforces the concept that technology is diverse and a powerful educational tool. It also empowers children to become active participants, instead of passive observers, in the use of technology.
Vocalize what you are doing
As you interact with technology, verbalize each step of the process and invite your child to participate when possible. For example, saying “I am going to click the link in the middle of the smartphone screen to open the website” exposes children to language and vocabulary associated with technology and introduces them to basic functions of devices.
Ask open-ended questions
During your interaction with technology, help your child think critically about causeand- effect. For example, asking “What happened when you pushed that button?” helps your child become curious about how and why things happen. It also helps develop problem-solving skills.
Model appropriate use of technology
Screen time is a large concern for many parents and educators. Current research indicates that the quality of screen time is more important than the quantity of screen time. The content of the program or game, whether the child is playing in isolation, without the benefit of an actively engaged adult, and whether the child’s engagement is replacing interest in other activities such as outdoor play, are more critical than imposing a standardized time limit for every child. However, if limiting screen time is a concern, it is important that, as adults, we exercise limits on our own use of technology to model an appropriate balance for children. For example, you may wish to create “screen-free” zones or times of the day that apply to all members of the family.
Limit interactions with screens before bedtime
Research has shown that the noise and light emitted from electronic devices stimulate the brain and disrupt natural sleep patterns in both children and adults. It is recommended that children not interact with screens in the two hours before their regular bedtime. It is also recommended that children not have televisions in their bedrooms.
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