According to Lehigh Valley Health Network, technology can be helpful in educating kids, whether it be using video games to help solve hypotheses or understanding complex stories in television; screen time can be especially beneficial to visual learners. But while there are some educational benefits to technology, we also should make sure to monitor our kids’ usage and ensure they’re accessing parent-approved content. Here are some ways to let your kids safely use tablets and smartphones as a means of expanding their minds.
Use Kid Mode
Eliminate the stress of safeguarding your kids’ content consumption by checking to see that your tablet, laptop or smartphone has a kids mode option. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S7 has a built-in kids mode to keep kids safe and give parents peace of mind. Pick and choose the apps your kids use and monitor how they're using your device. For kids, the mode is fun and makes the controls bright and easy to use. The S7 is also waterproof, so it’s protected against toddler spills.
Make It Creative
Choose a device that inspires your child’s creativity, such as the Note7 with stylus pen. A stylus pen will allow your kids to doodle away on your next flight or car trip and create their own masterpieces. Try downloading the ArtFlow app onto your Note7 for a mix of brushes, colors and drawing tools. There are also fun games your kids can play with a stylus pen, like Scribble Racer, which takes them on a journey where they can score points by grabbing fruit along the way.
Keep It Educational and Fun
Too much screen time is always a concern for parents, so make sure some of that time is educational. For little ones, Elmo Loves 123s can help teach your kids simple math and identify numbers by providing creative opportunities to color. Got an aspiring filmmaker? GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine offer the basics to create animated GIFs and shorts. There's also a fun photo-capture tool so your kids can star in their own movies.
Learn Responsibility with a Smartwatch
Smartwatches can be affordable and fun and give teens some responsibility without having to invest in a top of the line smartphone. When teens wear a smartwatch, they're less likely to leave it lying around and lose it. You can also help your kids stay accountable with a smartwatch. Send a text to your teenager to find out where they are and sync up Google calendar so they never miss a class or appointment.
Learn to Compete in a Modern World
Kids need parental supervision and limitations to their technology consumption. But they also should be exposed to technology in order to compete in a modern world. An article in Psychology Today reported that search engines may cause children to become less adept at remembering things, but increases their ability to find things. The article suggests this could help kids engage in "higher-order" processing like contemplating and critical thinking.
Like anything else in life, moderation is key in introducing kids to technology. Start with the devices and apps you’re comfortable with that challenge your kids, then take the time to find out how they’re using the technology and what they’re learning from it.
This post was written by Bill Clark. Bill is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing about culture and the arts, however will write about anything that piques his interest including business, travel and lifestyle. He can be reached on Twitter @BilboClark01.