Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Parenting and technology

Published:Sunday | May 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence

Tablets, cellular phones, laptops, you name it, all that seemed to be a thought 30 years ago has now transformed from a concept to something revolutionary. But do these tools really have a place in parenting.

Spending quality time with one's child will forever be important. Now, while technology should not replace the presence of a parent, it might be able to help them with the little things.

Child psychologist Gemma Gibbon believes that it is not the technology that is the problem, but when it is misused or used in excess. In fact, she admits that if used properly, it can actually help children and parents alike.

Reading with children is a great bonding moment, and while you should not replace that, she mentions that for children who have trouble reading or learning to read, having an audiobook that they can read along with helps them to learn and better equip them in this category. You need not stop reading with your children, but audiobooks help with the process.

Gibbon explained that technology has so evolved that there are endless ways that it can be used to help to educate children instead of being the hindrance that some see it to be. It is about being mindful and ensuring that the child does not shut out the world. Children need to be interactive and technology cannot replace that.

 

SETTING LIMITS

 

"There are games that have caused children to shut out all that is around them, because they are addictive, and that is when technology can be a problem - when they do not interact with anyone else and shut out everything for an extended period of time. Parents would then need to set time limits when they recognise this behaviour," Gibbon advised.

Technology can be used to bridge the gap between parents and children in ways that would previously be difficult. When you buy the child a tablet and monitor their usage, you gain insight into them, according to Gibbon. The child puts applications and information that reflect their passions and interests, things that do not generally come up, but would give you a behind-the-scenes look into your child's mind. You can use this to motivate and encourage them to pursue their interests. You can also use it to create activities to do together, based on your shared interests, when you do have family time.

Also, with tablets designed for children, you have less to worry about when it comes to being exposed to information that they are not ready for.

jody-anne.lawrence@gleanerjm.com