This article was originally written by me for The Little Writing Company and I wanted to share on here as it can be a concern for mums just like me. Arlo’s not at the age where he is using iPads or playing computer games but I’m sure it won’t be long, so it’s good to know that actually a bit of screen time isn’t as harmful as some make out!
Although it can be worrying knowing our kids are on the big wide web, modern day technology and all it’s wonders is simply the way of the world now. But is that a bad thing?
Knowing the safety measures we can take to ensure our kids are using their screens properly and securely is of course key, but we shouldn’t forget that our screens can prove hugely beneficial to our kids learning and development in addition to encouraging pen and paper activities.
Here I list 8 reasons why screen-time is good for our children.
1. Good visual attention
Is it tricky to get your little ones away from their screens? This has a lot do with how preoccupied they are, focusing on the task at hand and what is required of them next. Using technology will equip children to pay more attention to detail (big or small) to complete an activity.
This also helps their motivation, because many apps and games encourage children to complete a level in order to move on to the next one. This sort of learning process may prove beneficial later on in encouraging children to try to overcome the challenges in front of them away from their screens.
2. Discovering a new talent
Using technology may open up some doors for your child and they could discover new skills or even a talent. As parents you will start to learn their interests from how they respond to different activities online. Using technology or apps for writing exercises could kickstart your child’s love of creative writing and stories, or exposing them to different music could unlock their love of singing. You never know!
3. Expressing their creativity
There are many apps that offer a chance for kids to get really creative and most importantly have fun and enjoy their screen time. Photography, music, funny faces, voice recordings and colouring are just some of the types of creative applications on offer for children to get stuck into. Peppa Pig Paintbox is a favourite in our house.
4. Reading and writing
There are lots of eBooks and other educational resources that can be located online which will give your child the opportunity to practise their reading and writing. Many online applications offer pronunciation tasks and are really engaging for kids. Not only do some apps encourage practising words aloud, some are multi-sensory and allow you to draw letters on the screen.
TIP: Still offer the dictionary and encourage your child to look up a word or spelling away from their screens. It will also be beneficial to use physical, fun and educational flash cards for reading and writing practice too.
5. Hand-eye co-ordination skills
By using online applications, children will start to follow objects on their screens and start to engage in their screen activity. This kind of hand-eye coordination is really beneficial as it’s a skill which will be practised a lot at school when they are writing and drawing.
6. Enhances learning
In the simplest sense, once your children have learnt something, the internet doesn’t just leave it at that. Research resources are limitless and can help children enhance and broaden their knowledge about something more than ever before – all in one place, the big wide web!
7. Bonding with family and friends
Modern-day technology gives our children the opportunity to speak to faraway family and friends on video chat. Whether they sing songs together or read stories, this is a special and personal online activity the whole family can benefit from.
8. Preparing for the future
Despite our views on technology and even the ambitions and goals of our children in the future, technology is everywhere and is almost guaranteed to be a part of their career. Getting them used to navigating online will give them a real advantage in their working life. Even before that, some schools are now incorporating screen time as part of their curriculum to support learning.