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It is not how much time your child spends on the internet, that’s important, but what he’s doing there

10 December 2011 / 16:12:26  GRReporter
3784 reads

Ivan Petkov
Nowadays, children are faced with many challenges. A vast amount of information is flying around them in volume and at a speed unmatched in human history. They explore not only our real world but also the virtual world of Internet, computer games, everything that the different devices connected to the network can provide them.
Increasingly I hear from my friends who have children of different ages saying that they restrict their access to the Internet in order to teach them to have some limits, to protect them, somewhat, from the content that is inappropriate for them, as well as to enable them to explore the world around them. Without being a specialist teacher or child psychologist I would like to express my thoughts on the topic related to children and the virtual world from my personal experience with the Internet.
As I already mentioned in our days the computer is far from being the only device for accessing the network. Children have at their disposal tablets, and even smart phones. So they are not spatially restricted in their access to the information flows, which the network offers.

1. It is not important how much time your child spends on the Internet, but what he is doing there.

Restricting a child’s access to a computer, and Internet respectively, may certainly have some educational implications. More important here is not how long but how useful is the child's access to the Internet. Computers, as well as the information on the network are simply means and with proper guidance one can derive great benefit and stimulate all aspects of the child psyche.
I guess you've seen some of the many videos of how 2-3-4-year-olds are looking at, with interest, and interacting with a tablet? In addition to the early habits they create for working with technology which will increasingly enter our daily lives, children can interact and learn other useful things. But please do not consider the tablet as a toy, which you can use to distract the child and leave you for a few minutes to relax. That way you and to some extent the child will miss a lot of opportunities. I will immediately give you an example - colouring books. They develop a lot of things - recognizing colors and shapes, connecting words with objects or animals, motor skills, preparation and mastering of initial motor skills associated with writing, etc. etc. But also, they can demonstrate the talent of your child for colouring and painting, something that might later become his hobby, and why not a profession. Colouring pictures on a tablet is fun and easy. I am not at all saying that this particular activity should be transferred entirely to a tablet. Rather, that a combination of colouring on a sheet of paper, using a crayon, pencil or finger, with colouring pictures on a tablet, can further develop the imagination and further stimulate the demonstration of his talent for drawing, if the child has this. But even if we are not talking about a future artist or designer, still in all cases, the parallel knowledge of these two worlds will be of great benefit to the child. When shown with some primary explanations and care, colouring can perform its function and the child may be happy to do it. As a side effect he might still leave you in peace, and occasionally come to get your approval and guidance.

2. The book as a window to the world ... which speaks.

Let us stay for a while longer with the younger children and tablets. Tablets as you may already have begun to guess if you have not seen a child playing with them, are very suitable for this age because they are compact, relatively light and they are controlled with the fingers, which the child learns to use first. There is certain content that is appropriate for children playing with a tablet and I’m talking about children's books. In addition to the fact that the child cannot scratch them and tear them, children's books for a tablet offer something we previously had in some pretty weird and interesting books – I’m talking about folding children's books, made of cardboard, on which certain elements could move. I do not know whether you remember them, or maybe they still sell them now. So what the tablet offers in a much more developed way, is interactivity or interaction with the virtual book. The child can press on a hero and he does something or says his line. Some books have the option mode "storyteller". Maybe some of you are already thinking that they have found a way to replace them, in the telling of stories? Good idea, as long as it is only for certain cases. Do not let books replace you. You may listen together, and when any of the characters, let’s say a cock or a cat makes a sound, you may stop it and have the childe repeat the sound if he does not do it himself. I'm sure that with a little imagination each of you will find many advantages of similar applications. Do not forget the traditional books either. At least you will maintain your child's surprise when he finds them and wonders why they don’t react as a tablet. Both types of books will enable him to make him a clear distinction between the virtual world of technology and the real one.

3. Homo Ludens.

Tags: children and internet tablets talking books computer games virtual money parents
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