Technology is everywhere nowadays, and it can be both a blessing and a curse. We all use multiple forms of technology before we even get to work in the morning.
Think about your morning coffee, your commute, checking your emails, using your shower – there are so many forms of technology that we take for granted every single day.
The kids-and-tech conundrum
One huge debate among parents right now is the use of technology around or with their children. Of course, you can’t avoid technology completely, but many parents feel that most children have too much access to tech in their daily lives.
Reports of social media and gaming addiction are rife across many nations, and some scientists link the overuse of technology to increases in anxiety, depression, obesity and other worrying conditions.
On the other side of the coin, technology is the future. We can’t shield our kids from its potential, least of all because when they become adults and enter the world of work, they will need technological skills to be employable in the future job market!
So how do we strike the balance? In this blog you will find out exactly how. Let’s explore how to keep your kids interested in technology, without feeding an unhealthy screen addiction!
1. Invest in coding lessons for your kids
If you want your kids to be interested in technology but you want this interest to be productive, you could invest in coding classes for your tech-head kids. Coding is an essential part of modern society, and the need for skills across all industries is pressing to say the least.
If your child enters the adult world with an intermediate or advanced knowledge of coding, their employment and study opportunities will be opened up hugely.
Plus, coding is a great hobby that engages your intellectual mind and pushes you to think logically. If you are worried about your child sitting passively in front of a screen all day, coding is the opposite of that – they will be creating exciting new things while learning this valuable skill. Visit YoungWonks to learn more about coding classes for kids!
2. Take them to visit a robotics centre or science museum
There’s nothing that gets kids hyped up like a day trip to see some cool science and technology. If you are concerned that your children are only interested in gaming or movies and aren’t aware of the more exciting sides of technology, you should take them to visit a robotics centre, or your local science centre/museum.
There, they will meet experts who will inspire them to pursue their interests in a more productive way. Plus, you will be able to help nurture their potential talents for technology and science, if you put them in this inspiring and opportunistic environment that can push them further.
3. Set limitations on their screen time
In order to nurture a passion, boundaries and limitations need to be set too. Although that sounds counterintuitive, becoming obsessed or addicted to a hobby or passion can actually be very damaging to a person’s mental and physical health.
If your child is highly invested in tech, be it gaming, design, coding, robotics or hardware building, that’s great! But make sure you are still setting rules as to when they need to take breaks and step away, in order to achieve a healthy balance.
That way, you can keep them interested in what they love doing, without letting them slide into an unhealthy or addictive pattern without realising it.
4. Set an example of responsible tech use as parents
Children respond to how their parents behave, and when it comes to technology, this remains to be the case! If you want your kids to have a healthy relationship to tech, maybe take a look at your own habits and examine the examples you are setting to them.
For example, behaviours like:
- Using your phone during family dinners, or even just during one-to-one conversations;
- Spending all your free time watching TV or on your phone;
- Using tech while you are driving;
- Never ever switching off your devices; and
- other similar behaviours can rub off badly on your kids.
If you set the example that relying on tech heavily and swapping it for healthy human interaction is normal, then they’ll do it, too.
5. Offset their tech use with non-tech-related activities
Following a good example, you should offset your kids’ tech enthusiasm with some good old fashioned non-tech activities. No matter how much your kid loves coding or robotics, you should use the boundaries you are setting to encourage them to go outdoors, play sports, hang out with their friends, or even engage in simple activities like card games and board games.
Offsetting your kids’ reliance on tech will help to ground them, getting them to live in their bodies as well as their brains. Scientists say that playing sports outdoors and doing simple manual activities can reduce depression and anxiety in people of all ages and backgrounds.
6. Listen to your kids’ thoughts
No matter if your child is a certified tech nerd or isn’t interested in technology at all, you should listen carefully to what they have to say on the subject.
Ultimately, as parents, we want our kids to be fulfilled and as happy as possible – so if your child has concerns or worries about how and why they use or don’t use technology, it is important that you listen without judgement.
You should work together with your child to find the balance that works for the family – not just impose an iron rule of what you know to be best.
Nobody can deny that technology has shaped our society, and will continue to be at the helm of our scientific and social development as a species. If you have children and aren’t sure how to encourage or discourage their use of technology, this blog is here to help.
Encouraging your kids into productive forms of technology while offsetting that with physical activity is the best recipe for happy, engaged, healthy kids who will enter the adult world with the right knowledge.