The Perils and the Perks of Technology For Our Children

Taciturn, technology-obsessed children seem to be the norm today. Long gone are the days of board games and books… Is this really the future?

At Our Dream School we have been investigating the perils and perks of technology for our children and hosted a seminar to search for ways to help our children use technology sensibly, rather than obsessively.

With the help of Dr Anastasia Dedyukhina, a coach, TEDx speaker, Huffington Post blogger and author of Homo Distractus and Noel Janis-Norton, best selling author, learning behaviour specialist and parenting advisor, we tried to find a solution to the IT jitters.

Soon it became clear that technology is a necessity and not necessarily an atrocity.

BLIC’s (Barcelona Learning Innovation Center) director, Sam Lardner said: “It’s about finding a balance. We don’t have to be quite as drastic as Ed Sheeran the singer and throw our children’s cell phones in the garbage. After all, we might need to know where our kids are and speak to them from time to time! But we do need them to understand that they can live without them for a while and that they should not be slaves to our phones. Those Whatsapp messages can wait.”

Our Dream School´s co-founder, Stephen Harris added: “IT, whether it be a phone or a computer, I-pad or whatever, can play tricks with the brain’s frontal lobe. We don’t want that. In addition, technology can be viewed as a ‘second brain’ that is able to access more information than our primary brain. Unlike our primary brain, however, IT doesn’t have emotions. It’s important that parents notice any behavioral pattern changes and are always on the lookout for cyber bullying and compulsive use. We MUST try to educate our children to use their IT for more than just mindless gaming programs.”

Mobile phones can be highly effective for the following:

  • Video creation
  • Audio recording
  • Note taking
  • Photo captures of white board thinking and discussions
  • Mathematical calculations
  • Translating
  • Instant research information on a topic

Noël Janis-Norton’s books, especially ‘Calmer, Easier, Happier Screen Time, give parents lots of tricks about how to do this. In the end, though, it’s basically down to communication. As Stephen Harris remarked, “Technology is a necessity for most of us, but like a glass of wine, it needs to be just one, not a bottle every night. Usage guidelines are essential, and we need to set the boundaries for our children.”

Handling fractious teens is a challenge at the best of times, just saying ‘No’ to phones at meal times is a great start. Most importantly, lead by example. Remember to switch your own phone off, too!

The perils of technology @ Our Dream School

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