Encourage Practice – Appropriate use of technology
Reinforce Tutoring Sessions, Classroom Instruction, and IEP goals by ensuring children are engaged in meaningful activities.
Parents often justify using technology, because “children need to learn how to use it.” But the reality is that technology is unproductive for children, who have not yet learned to read and write. Most of us “learned how to use technology” as adults, when we already had nurtured those skills, and we are doing just fine. In fact, we are using it far more productively than the younger generations, and are better able to differentiate quality content. But many adults are picking up bad habits, as they abandon writing full sentences, and have become “sloppy” communicators. I personally avoid abbreviations most of the time, because (truth be told) I am not getting any younger, and I worked far too hard to develop good habits, and prefer not to hinder them now.
While I am not a huge proponent of technology for young children before they have developed the primary skills of reading and writing (and believe it can be a huge and unnecessary distraction…and impede learning); from time to time, it can serve as a tool to “trick” children into practicing foundational skills, once they comprehend the fundamentals of reading and writing.
That being said, parents should be monitoring these activities, and ensuring that children are actually benefiting from them. Do not assume the recommended age is appropriate for your child. Make sure each activity provide some challenge, but not so much that the task leads the child to randomly click through to activate the “bells and whistles” just “for the fun of it;” thereby gaining no benefit from the endeavor whatsoever.
Websites – Just a few of the millions.
- PBS Kids – WordWorld: Dog’s Letter Pit – This game teaches the sounds that each letter makes and beginning spelling skills.
- Starfall – ABCs
- TypingClub.com – improves focus, and discipline; while teaching children a valuable skill.
- Jacob’s Lessons – Lesson # 8
- New York Public Library – NYPL – Kids
- New York Public Library – Education – From English language classes and technology training to story times, we give New Yorkers the tools they need to succeed.
Do not fall pray to marketing gimmicks, or false claims by manufacturers. Remember when Baby Einstein Products were all the rage. (Baby Einstein products and videos were extremely common in American homes, even though pediatricians recommended that children under 2 should watch no television at all, and indicated early TV exposure may be linked to attention problems later in life).
The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends parents…
- Limit the amount of total entertainment screen time to <1 to 2 hours per day.
- Discourage screen media exposure for children <2 years of age.
- Keep the TV set and Internet-connected electronic devices out of the child’s bedroom.
- Monitor what media their children are using and accessing, including any Web sites they are visiting and social media sites they may be using.
- Coview TV, movies, and videos with children and teenagers, and use this as a way of discussing important family values.
- Model active parenting by establishing a family home use plan for all media. As part of the plan, enforce a mealtime and bedtime “curfew” for media devices, including cell phones. Establish reasonable but firm rules about cell phones, texting, Internet, and social media use.