In the last couple of decades, digital technology has gone from something we used occasionally to something most of us can’t live without. And with this surge, there’s been a lot of discussion about whether technology is really beneficial to one’s overall well-being. That’s especially the case when it comes to children growing up in today’s very digital age.
What it comes down to is purpose. Technology, in its essence, is a tool. When created for the right purposes — to communicate, learn, and grow — technology can be incredibly beneficial. Kids tech, for the most part, was created for the right purposes.
Companies like Apple, Amazon, and more have launched products specifically designed with children in mind. From a safe phone for kids to educational tablets, these devices are meant to help children grow while also keeping them safe. In this article, we discuss tech for kids and how it can help children thrive.
Regardless of whether you like or dislike technology, there’s no denying its ever-present role in our daily lives. When children are exposed to tech, they’re able to better prepare for what’s ahead. Not only will they learn how to use technology, but thanks to apps like Elmo Loves ABCs, children can gain basic skills. From math to language, kids tech can help children get ready for school — and maybe even get ahead.
Another way tech prepares kids for the future is by enhancing their communication skills. In the last few years, there’s been a lot of debate on whether technology helps or hurts a child’s ability to socialize. While staring at a screen all day isn’t healthy for anyone, socializing is easier to do thanks to technology — especially during a pandemic. With FaceTime, texting, and even games, kids have more opportunities than ever before to stay connected with family and friends.
What’s the difference between technology for kids and normal tech? The features. Most technology that targets children offers less access to the outside world. For example, some phones for kids don’t allow internet access or social media apps. Some only come with the basics like texting and calling. Even then, parents are able to monitor exactly whom their kids are communicating with.
A Pew Research Center study found that 48% of parents check their children’s smartphone. Some parents use parental controls, while others rely on simple snooping. The point is, even on their own technology, kids are being monitored for their own safety.
Timely decision-making is a critical life skill, and it turns out that playing video games can improve that capability. In fact, according to a study reported in American Psychologist, children who play video games make faster decisions than those who don’t. While children shouldn’t spend all day playing video games, this type of kid’s tech can actually set kids up for success.
Something most children have in common is their inability to concentrate for long periods of time. Kids tech helps children learn how to focus on what they’re doing and make critical decisions.
If you have a child, you’ve probably seen firsthand how easy it is for them to get lost in a game. That’s because they’re paying attention to every single detail on the screen and considering their next move. Focusing their attention on one thing is an important skill for children to develop before they start school or begin their careers.
According to a study from the Family Online Safety Institute, 53% of parents believe a kid’s use of technology offers more benefits than negatives. While there’s no denying too much tech usage can be harmful, nearly anything can be harmful in large quantities. The key isn’t to keep children from technology altogether but to monitor their usage.
These days, many technologies let parents set time limits. In 2018, Apple announced they were launching certain features, like Screen Time, to give parents more control over their children’s usage. Nor is Apple the only company introducing these capabilities.
Circle with Disney helps parents manage screen time when kids are playing games, doing school work, and even chatting with friends. Kids tech comes with its own set of features to ensure a child’s safety.
Most kids tech involves children using their hands and eyes, usually simultaneously. Whether playing a video game or completing homework online, tech requires children to follow objects on a screen. They then use their hands to move those objects from place to place.
Having good hand-eye coordination is incredibly important, and it doesn’t happen automatically. In fact, most kids don’t develop their hand-eye coordination until they’re between 6 and 9 years old. By integrating technology into a child’s life, kids are able to practice these skills.
Decades ago, if you wanted the answer to a question, you either had to ask someone or go to the library. Not anymore. Now we all have the ability to answer our own questions, in seconds, simply by typing a few words into Google.
This accessibility can be incredibly helpful to children as they grow up and become more curious. With technology, kids can do their own research to answer their questions. For example, to learn what sound a cow makes, they can open up the Animal Sounds! App and click the cow picture. This process of wondering, looking, and figuring out the answer can improve a child’s confidence and help them become more independent.
According to a Common Sense Media survey, over half of U.S. children own a smartphone before their 12th birthday. Every year, more and more kids are gaining access to technology at a younger age. This isn’t because parents have stopped worrying. In fact, just the opposite. It’s because technology is being created with kids and their safety in mind.