How to Raise Tech-Savvy Kids
There’s no denying that technology plays a big part in our children’s lives. One of the most important decisions we face as parents is whether to nurture or discourage our kids’ screen, tablet and smartphone usage.
This question has no simple answer, yet many parents view technical devices as nothing more than a distraction from reading, writing and playing outdoors. While these activities are fundamental to any child’s development, they can also be balanced with the sensible use of technology to help boost creativity and aid education.
Many experts say that promoting computer literacy in children will only enhance their future opportunities in today’s tech-driven world, and that avoiding technology altogether is neither sensible nor realistic. With this in mind, here are five tips for raising tech-savvy kids.
Preach the Positive, Not the Negative
It’s said that technology destroys our social skills, but many people forget how it brings people together. Thanks to the invention of Wi-Fi, more parents can work from home and spend more time with their families; siblings scattered across the world can keep in touch via Skype, FaceTime or Whatsapp, and children have round-the-clock access to the world’s most comprehensive pool of knowledge: the Internet. Show your children what we stand to gain from technology, not what it takes away from us.
Create a Family Blog
Get your children involved in the creation of a family blog. This activity won’t cost you a penny, as there are many free website creation platforms you can use (such as WordPress, Wix and Squarespace) but it will boost your children’s technical know-how and encourage their creativity. Use a free banner maker to create images using family photos, and update your blog with pictures, anecdotes and stories about what you’ve been up to. Not only can you share this with distant relatives and extended family, but you will also have a record to share with your children as your family grows and adapts. Just make sure you adjust your privacy settings if you want to keep your website out of the public eye.
Teach Them About Public Sharing
Public sharing can be great: it’s the reason many impassioned young YouTube stars are now millionaires. However, life in the spotlight does have its downsides. If your child expresses an interest in starting a YouTube channel or growing a social media following, don’t discourage him. Kids want to express themselves and explore their identity, and they may not be aware of the dangers involved with doing this over the Internet. It’s your job to guide and educate your children through their online experimentation, and banning social media altogether won’t make your kids smarter, it will only confuse and upset them. Take an interest in your child’s project and make sure he has the correct security measures in place. Turn off geotagging for Facebook and Instagram, and limit sharing to friends and family. You could also install Minor Monitor, a free web-based tool that tracks your child’s Facebook usage and alerts you to any worrying signs.
Technology is going to be a big part of your children’s future, so it’s your job to make it safe and fun for them to explore. Keep the conversation going, and don’t forget to be vigilant about public sharing.