There is an intense debate going on about how much screen time children should be exposed to since the mass adoption of mobile devices like iPads and other tablets. There are people on both ends of the spectrum and others are somewhere in between. I know parents who won’t let their children watch TV or use electronics until a certain age, while some let them use it before they can talk and walk. If you don’t believe me, look up “baby using iPad” on YouTube.
I think the question of whether it’s right/wrong or good/bad is the wrong thing to focus on. The question we should be asking is if it is useful and beneficial to our children because the answer shifts the conversation to something more helpful.
There’s no question we live in a society immersed in technology, electronic and otherwise. It is so embedded in our lives, we don’t even realize how much and how often we rely on it for our survival. Therefore, our kids will be exposed to it in some form whether we like it or not. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, it’s only a matter of time before they will be using it at home or in school, and eventually their job. So the only question we really need to ask is how we will prepare them to live in a world dependent on technology.
One app I recently began using my with my kids is Duolingo, a free language app. Lydia wanted to learn Italian so we started a private club in the app which automatically posts our progress, then allows us to comment on those notifications. It’s been a great opportunity to model positive online interactions using encouraging comments and emojis while also explaining the meaning of some phrases she doesn’t know yet. Evelyn recently joined as well, and I’m excited to have this channel of communication with them during the day as they learn. One of the best things I can do for my kids is to model a lifestyle of curiosity and be open to learning new things.
Because we are actively involved in our children’s lives, including their education, we feel it’s appropriate to give them access to technology that will assist and possibly even accelerate their learning. It also gives them access to teachers who have knowledge we simply cannot possibly possess. They can learn almost any language because it exists right at their fingertips. That is one of the key reasons we homeschool our children; not just to be involved in their learning, but to be participants as well. By showing them we are never too old to learn something new, we are teaching them that learning is a lifelong pursuit which can happen anywhere and anytime.
Inspiration for this post: The Problem Is Wasted Time, Not Screen Time