We’re are citizens of the digital-age and our children are exposed to technology on a daily basis – they see us on our smartphones, they know there are things called “Wifi” and “Google” and many can operate a tablet with very little assistance from an early age. Whether we like it or not, technology is advancing and our children are being exposed everywhere, including school. Because of this, the responsibility to take a more proactive approach to managing their online activities increases.
When it comes to technology, my greatest concern is that it sometimes takes away from my son’s “real job” as a child – which is to play, get dirty, socialise, learn and have fun; I also want him to value books and reading. I wouldn’t want him to miss out on these important elements of being a child, because children learn the most from real experiences! Then there is also the treat of cyber-bullying, I explored the topic in this post Bullying.
Tips and guidelines for your children’s use of technology:
- Limit the amount of “screen time” (smartphones, television, tablets) to 2 hours per day for smaller children and adjust accordingly for your older children.
- Only allow them to do one activity at a time – in other words, don’t let them play on their tablet while watching television.
- As far as possible, supervise all activities on the internet. Make it your business to know what website, apps and social media pages your child is using.
- Teach them to never give personal information to anyone on the internet
- Use password protection as far as applicable and change the settings on the device to restrict inappropriate websites and content
- Switching off the mobile data (most phones don’t need active data once the game has been downloaded) so that he is not exposed to pop-ups, notifications and in-app purchases, that may lead him to unsecure links and webpages.
ClickTab Kids 7 Tablet:
We had the opportunity to review the new ClickTab Kids 7, which was designed to “address” concerns such as my own. It’s a 3G enabled tablet that caters specifically for children between the ages of 3 and 10 years. Most importantly, for me and many other parents, is the built-in parental controls that allow parents to limit the time that children can spend on the tablets, the time of day that play is allowed and even what apps and games they can have access to. Parents can even set up profiles for different children of different ages and manage each child’s profile separately.
My little man enjoyed the memory games and camera the most. He was able to customize the photo frame, choose the “camera sound” when we took photo’s and add special effects. In the process he learnt how to create a slideshow!
Ultimately, I think quality family time and participation should never be replaced by technology. We need to prioritise moderation and security when allowing our children to interact with technology under all circumstances.