Technology & Children: The Pros and Cons
It’s the ultimate 2020 dilemma.
How do you balance activity with technology in early childhood?
Some tech is designed for movement – but most are designed to be enjoyed on the couch. There’s plenty of educational tech out there for children – but also plenty of risks. Tech helps children socialise – but it can come at the sacrifice of critical face-to-face play.
This bittersweet narrative is familiar to all 21st-century parents.
Here at Happy Feet, we believe digital tech can be a supremely empowering tool if harnessed the right way in early childhood. And that can be hard. It involves making conscious decisions all day, every day about online consumption. It means keeping an eye on particularly ‘addictive technology’ and cutting it out where necessary. And it probably also makes for a seriously inconsolable pre-schooler.
The good (and bad) news is that if your little one is bored, unhappy or on the brink of self-destruction when there’s no tech around, you can be pretty certain their tech use has slipped into the realm of ‘unhealthy’.
Want to get back to a healthy tech life? Read on for some do’s and don’ts when it comes to balancing activity and technology in early childhood.
DO: Revisit the topic regularly.
As kids get older, their interaction with technology changes. At each touchpoint, it’s important to revisit the topic of tech and reinstate the impact technology can have on mentality and the impact that movement can have on mentality. While one can bring joy in certain circumstances, the other always brings innumerable mental and physical benefits.
DON’T: Spend too much time on passive content consumption.
Some tech can be educational – think language games, mathematics apps or digital art platforms. All of these can be profoundly valuable for young minds, but the benefits tend to be stronger if they’re interactive. Watching YouTube toy unboxing videos won’t have quite the same impact!
DO: Set screen-time limits.
Screen time limits are a powerful way to save space and time for movement in busy lives. The duration of screen time is up to you, but no more than half an hour per day is best. You can also consider placing a blanket-ban over certain times of day, like Sundays and weeknights for example.
DON’T: Spend a lot of time on your phone in front of the little ones.
Kids can begin to feel unseen and unheard pretty quickly if you spend a significant amount of time on your phone around them. They will also pick up on an unhealthy reliance on digital stimulation. Try to make sure time with your kids is spent phone-free. If you can incorporate some physical activity or creative play in that time instead – even better!
DO: Make sure offline activities are as engaging as possible.
One of the most powerful ways to manage technology use isn’t about technology at all. We know tech is built to be addictive, so putting some extra thought into offline activities to ensure they’re engaging can balance the scales a bit. Sporting events, zoos, theatres, parks, lakes – the list goes on!
Rest assured, Happy Feet kids are immersed in creative, movement-based play every time they take a class. They’re sure to let you know about their favourite activities, and you can even recreate them at home!
If you’d like to enrol your child in a Happy Feet program or find out more about our commitment to a healthy tech-life, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org!