Technology in the 21st century has leaped frogged to levels that were perhaps unthinkable only a few shorts years back. With such rapid development in tech and tech related products and services, we have almost everything at our disposable. Along with adults, even children have been touched by technology and today we are going to read a little about the positive effects of technology on a child’s social development.
I know this topic may sound ironic so don’t pick up those pitchforks just yet. I am a technology geek and also being the father of a 4-year old has given me certain perspective into this statement. Yes, I will definitely agree with you that there are negative effects as well which perhaps may outweigh the positive ones. However, there can be no denial of the fact that technology is here to stay.
How to create environment for positive effects of technology
I will certainly limit the usage
Yes, the above statement is quite true. In fact, we all know that excess of anything is not good for us. Take for example a lavish buffet dinner. Now you are a person who normally eats to your potential. But when placed in front of a buffet you generally tend to overeat. It is the same principal that needs to work with technology and children. Excessive usage of tech or tech products such as laptops, mobiles, tablets etc does bring harm.
I always make sure that my daughter when she wants to play with me, I do not hand over her the laptop or tablet to watch some cartoon. Even though I am back from a hectic day at work if she herself has asked to play then I oblige.
In this same situation if I would have simply asked her to see the tablet or laptop. Which by the way is the easiest things to do. Then I would certainly be miss using tech and getting my kid addicted to it.
How does one limit the usage
Well as I shared earlier when there is ample sunlight like on weekends. Make plans to stay as much outdoors as possible. I recently got into a hobby of terrace gardening. So now I involve Anika when I am gardening. That way she learns about nature but also stays away from any tech. When you are going out to buy vegetables or fish, take your kids along with you. No matter how naughty they are once you get them into the habit then it becomes quite easy.
Simple things like these go a long way in making sure that your kid does not get addicted.
So what are those positive effects of technology?
There are quite a few good effects of technology when used judiciously. Let us look at a few of them today.
Hand-eye coordination development
I know this observation is not far fetched. Yes, I will agree now itself that sports develop hand-eye coordination. But at the same time using a laptop or the keyboard of the desktop does help with the same. When the child has to move the mouse pointer over the screen using the touchpad of the laptop, they learn how to control objects. They need to look at their fingers as well as the screen thus making sure that their coordination increases.
Superior language skills
When the kids watch rhymes in English or watch some movies. They learn the language and the vocabulary. Since their brain is like a sponge they pick up words like a super soaker. So we do need to be mindful of what we are letting them watch but their language proficiency increases ten fold.
I have seen my daughter and how her language skills have developed so early. In fact when we first went to get her admitted in her school at 2.5 years. Her teachers commented on her skills with the English language.
Now she also watches regional language rhymes which have ensured that she is learning other Indian languages on her own. Now she can understand and speak broken Hindi and pretty fluent Tamil. All this would not have been possible if there were no Youtube videos to watch rhymes.
Technology and child’s social development
If a kid interacts with other kids of their age then definitely it improves they social development. But at the same time using task-based computer programs that teach group play and turn based tasks help in kids social development. They learn the importance of turns and group dynamics. Of course, there can be no substitute for interacting with actual human beings but every now and then meaningful computer programs that teach social skills can be really helpful.
My daughter started to learn A, B, C from the computers. Even counting she learned from the rhymes. This was even before their school started teaching these letters and sounds. She knew the way they are used and did very well in her class. Knowing that she has these intellectual skills also gives her self-esteem quite a boost. Though we should be dependent on computer programs to help in all scenarios. But watching such programs is ten times better than watching movies or other non-developmental videos.
There are even sensory books that literally read out to children and helps them in learning new things through the use of technology.
Can technology help in emotional development
Short answer, yes. Technology can certainly help in emotional development by enabling kids to master skills and self-expression. When a child is able to complete a task then they really feel good about themselves.
As mentioned earlier there are kits available nowadays that use technology to have children complete puzzles, drawings, and other tasks. These beautifully designed kits certainly helps in not only learning new things but also increasing the kid’s self-esteem
Positive effects of technology can certainly be seen
When used with moderation and judiciously technology has the power to shape a child and impart them with skills and knowledge that can be useful for their future in schools and colleges.
Using technology is not just confined to the use of mobiles, laptops, tablets etc. There are home learning kits that use technology quite effectively to help the kids develop intellectually. There are programs like English learning programs that feature a reading pen that promotes comprehension and improves language fluency.
I have used such programs for Anika my daughter and she has certainly grown bigger intellectually. It is now quite fun to speak to her like an adult as she is able to comprehend using her language fluency and reply.
So does technology really have the positive impact we parents desire?
The answer is actually two-fold. One answer is, Yes, tech certainly has a positive impact. At the same time the second answer, No, cannot be discounted. Now when I say No I am rather referring to overuse of tech that we discussed earlier.
Tech can have quite a big positive influence on kids if used wisely. Technology and its by-products should never be used to substitute what a child can learn from their parents or friends. But technology can definitely be used to bring in new skills especially in terms of language even before they are taught at school. That is one of the biggest advantages of using tech.
I know I am being devils advocate here with this blog, but we parents do need to shun our fear of technology and use it to effectively enhance our beautiful ones. So let me know in the comments below what methods you have used to have a positive effect on your child.