It’s true that integrating technology into a child’s world too early, or without awareness, may have negative developmental consequences, but technology also has the potential to support learning. Further, anyone growing up unfamiliar with technology will find themselves a fish out of water in their social, school and professional circle. This puts them at a significant disadvantage socially and in their later careers, as they’re unable to access the benefits of technology at the same rate as their peers.
The trick instead may lie in providing a safe environment in which children learn to use technology specifically suited for educational purposes. For instance, well-selected edutech can augment the curriculum of a gifted child who’s otherwise bored — letting them develop a sense of ownership over their own learning as they exercise an increased freedom to learn at their own pace.
Everyone will have you believe fervently either one way or the other: tech in your child’s life is either bad or indispensable. But it’s really what and how you do with it that matters. Here are some ways you can integrate technology into your child’s life with care and to their best advantage, if you do decide to take the plunge:
Prioritize tech that plays
Everybody learns through play, but children are especially reliant on this form of learning and social development. Focus on edutech experiences that support and extend your child’s natural drive to play, and function to augment real-world play experiences. Play can be an essential way to develop the 4 Cs in children, and Miniland has a range of educational learning toys, such as Mindful Kids, that are especially designed to augment rather than supplant real-world experiences.
Make use of parental control functions and protective legislation
The integration of smart technology into children’s lives has two important consequences. First, children have access to near-limitless information before they’ve developed into their ability to think critically. Secondly, their user behavior is being tracked before they’re able to understand the consequences, or consent to this.
Luckily, legislation limits the types of information gathered from children and how it can be used by third-parties. As a parent, it pays to learn about how you can protect your child’s privacy, which means using the protections laws provide, but also personally setting the controls on every device you introduce into your children’s lives and selecting for toys don’t require unnecessarily detailed information.
Balance the positive and negative effects of tech exposure
Spending too much time with tech can stunt the development of a vivid imagination and ability to concentrate, especially in the very young. However, for every negative effect that tech use may have, there is a potential positive gain. For instance, children engaging with well-chosen, educational content for a limited amount of time per day can be inspired to read more and value achievement highly based on the influence of their digital experiences.
The difference, in terms of exposure, becomes one of the qualities of content. As a parent/guardian actively selecting what your child is exposed to through technology becomes essential. Using the growing range of educational content available through specialist toy manufacturers can be the perfect place to look for ideas. Companies like Miniland have begun using their traditional experience with educational toys to develop ranges, like Play Miniland, that are especially designed to combine the best of the digital and real-world experiences for your child.
Keeping these 3 things in mind when making tech purchases for your children will help ensure they grow into capable adults, reaping the benefits of digital integration without their having lost out on the necessary learning that only an analog experience can provide. For some fresh ideas from speciality educational toy experts, have a look at the Miniland catalog.