I was recently asked if I had any advice for parents who would like their children to enjoy technology as well as use it in their education.
Today’s children are internet natives who often run circles on their computers and smartphones around their grandparents, and sometimes their parents, too. It is definitely not easy for parents to encourage their kids to use but not abuse technology and its possibilities. Here are just a few of my tips. One idea is to subscribe to a technology magazine that parents and kids can read and discuss together. Another is to engage them in conversations about IT by taking them to technology fairs, exhibition, and shows. How about watching TV shows about science together? Make learning an adventure by asking challenging questions and letting them research answers on the web. Of course, there are many technology related after-school activities for kids. Recently, a group of high school students visited my store as part of a fundraiser for their “robotic science project.” There are many online programs for teaching the basics of programming to kids; one of the most widely used is Scratch. Games that promote logical thinking are helpful, too. Chess may be considered old fashioned by some, but is still one of the best intellectual training grounds for young and old alike. While engaging your children, don’t forget to set reasonable limits, and teach responsible, safe use of smartphones, the internet, and social media. Many parents exercise parental controls, filters, and barriers on inappropriate or harmful content. Some use programs such as Net Nanny to monitor activity. But the key is doing things together! There are so many ways to enjoy and learn new programs, games, and tools together, and along the way, practice healthy computer use habits.