Nowadays, technology is unavoidable, and parents are often seeking ways to reduce their child’s screen time in favour of more mentally and physically stimulating activities. No matter how hard you try, your child will always want to come back to their smartphones, tablets, games consoles and other types of technology as a source of entertainment, and to be fair, adults aren’t always that different. With that said, why not try and find ways to make the most of screen time and turn it into an educational experience? “How can screen time be educational?” I hear you ask. I have teamed up with a prep school in kent to explore.
First and foremost, technology provides an opportunity for young people to research things they don’t know about; something that wasn’t an option for previous generations who would have had to look things up at the library. One might argue that this is a bad thing, and that students should be better at studying books, but the easy access to such a huge array information allows young people to learn at their own pace and in their own time, which is something we shouldn’t take for granted.
Playing educational games on a smartphone or other digital device can help make learning fun for youngsters. In fact, they often don’t even realise they’re learning. For instance, they can practise a foreign language using an app, which is far more interactive and memorable than reading from a textbook. For younger children in particular, using a computer keyboard can help them recognise letters, leading to early reading and spelling skills. What’s more, there are a huge array of educational videos online that engage visual learners and podcasts for those who prefer to absorb information in an auditory fashion.
So, the good news is screen time doesn’t have to be a passive activity. As long as it doesn’t displace a healthy or necessary activity, like exercise or sleep, it can actually be a useful tool for learning. Just make sure you block any inappropriate websites using parental controls, and get tech savvy yourself so that you can monitor what your child is up to. Everything in moderation, as the saying goes.