By: MARYANA MUNYENDO
My two-year-old nephew’s favourite word is “Hello!” and my smartphone is his toy of choice whenever he visits.
A few broken phones screens later, I learned my lesson and handed him my basic “mulika mwizi” phone in his last visit, which he out rightly rejected, throwing it on the floor and walking away in a huff, perhaps astounded that aunty was “lowering” his social status by giving him such a basic phone?
My little nephew’s attitude is very telling of the kind of tech-savvy world we are raising children in.
Dues to socialisation and trends, there is no clear cut-off age as to when kids can be fully engaged digitally.
Most children barely of school going age can navigate through our phones, play games and install games that give us a hard time trying to uninstall. It suffices to conclude that our generation was the last of the low-tech that was raised playing “kati” and
“shake”. We are now raising very high-tech kids in a rapidly evolving high tech-world.
Conversations on the web surrounding kids and technology largely revolve around red alert topics like sexting, cyber bullying and online fraud. Technology however has the good, the bad and the ugly and is here to stay.
Our children have the privilege to learn more than we did using technology. Instead of fighting the tidal wave, let us consider embracing technology and look at the up side of raising tech savvy kids.
BENEFITS OUTWEIGH THE HARM
The benefits of technology for children outweigh the harm through educative exploration for the expansion of young curious minds and socialisation for development of expression forms.
Peer influence is important and children now also gain a sense of belonging when using technology with their peers; just the same way we belonged when included in team games when growing up.
Do not discourage technology, encourage it and learn more about it with your children.
Moderate the use of technology (screen time) to allow for other physical and mental stimulus for the child’s mind and body.
Observe age appropriate restrictions during use of technology.
Maintain your bond. Do not replace face to face communication with technology.
Be a role model user of technology for your children.
You might also enjoy the benefits of a tech savvy kid because you will get help when the universal remote refuses to work, when your smart phone hangs, when the home theatre system runs amok and when you cannot navigate through your computer’s latest operating system.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION