If you’re worried about your child’s screen time, you aren’t alone. Pew studies show that parents of teens—and even teens themselves—are concerned with the amount of time they spend on their smartphones.
According to the CDC, kids ages 11-14 spend an average of nine hours per day in front of screens. That’s more than half the time a typical child is awake. It might make you wonder: is technology bad for kids? But kids aren’t the only ones impacted; it seems like everyone is glued to their devices these days.
Now for the good news. While it’s true that too much time on a mobile device can be harmful when spent on the wrong types of media, there are several benefits of technology for kids. These right kinds of interactions can empower our kids and enrich their lives.
So, how do we raise responsible digital citizens? How can we help our kids reap the benefits of technology while keeping predators and harmful habits at bay? Striking a balance can be challenging, but good intentions go a long way.
- Talk to your child. Help them understand the importance of good cyber hygiene By teaching them to be on the lookout for scams and predators and be vigilant about privacy and security. Talk to them about protecting their personal information and recognizing suspicious messages and links. Let them know what types of things are appropriate to post on their social media accounts.
- Bond over screens. Use technology to interact with your child regularly. Educate yourself about the platforms they are using and express interest in their online activity. Spend an afternoon playing their favorite games or watching toy unboxings on YouTube together (yes, they are a thing.)
- Focus on quality. The type of content your child is accessing matters more than the quantity of time they are spending on their device. Monitor their digital activity, evaluate their technology use, and consider limiting the apps, browsers, and tools they can access.
Positive Impact of Technology on Children
With your guidance and support, there are endless ways kids can utilize technology to create, learn, and improve their health and wellbeing. Here are a few of the benefits of technology for kids:
With apps ranging from school readiness for preschoolers to college prep courses for high school seniors, smartphones put nearly unlimited educational resources at your child’s disposal.
Do they want to learn a new language? Duolingo can help them get started. It offers courses in 38 languages and features fun lessons they won’t want to put down. It’s great on its own or as a companion to a formal language course or exchange.
Are they struggling with calculus? A free course from Khan Academy will have them finding derivatives in no time. The widespread availability of quality, online lectures on every imaginable topic means limitless opportunities for your child to improve their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Your child isn’t the only one who can benefit from digital learning. Need a culture fix? Tag along with them and spend a day poring over world-class museum collections. For art buffs, the Louvre, Rijksmuseum, and Van Gogh museums are great places to start. STEM kids will love virtually exploring the Hall of Fossils at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Tour the Vatican from the comfort of your living room. Be sure to check out the live panda cams at the Edinburgh Zoo while you’re at it. Endless possibilities.
We all want our children to grow into successful, well-rounded humans. Exposing them to various activities early on helps them discover their interests and abilities and start developing them. Technology is a great way to initiate this investigation.
What is your child passionate about? Whether they like taking and editing pictures, filming YouTube videos, recording music, or making digital art, smartphones can help them harness their creative energy and learn new skills.
Kids who are more excited about food than media can watch cooking tutorials to master new recipes and kitchen techniques. They can even brush up on their culinary skills with an Italian pasta-making class; maybe they’ll even make you dinner for a change.
If your child is logical with a knack for problem-solving, they may enjoy Lightbot : Code Hour, a free game app that introduces them to software programming.
Have they always gravitated toward the piano? Are they dying to play the ukelele they begged for three Christmases ago? Now is the time! They can play along with video tutorials or choose from hundreds of apps that teach them to read tablature or sheet music.
Whatever they choose to pursue, support them in their endeavors. Nurturing natural talents builds independent, confident kids.
Learning to navigate online resources and develop healthy relationships with technology is crucial to your child’s success.
From learning how to fact-check and recognize reputable sources to how to check the weather before leaving the house, the ability to access and sift through digital information is an invaluable skill.
Help your child prepare for the future and fuel their thirst for knowledge by encouraging research-based learning. Assist them in reading, understanding, and evaluating current events.
Health and Wellness
The CDC recommends kids ages 6-17 get at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day, but only about 24% of children meet this requirement. It might seem counterintuitive but many smartphone apps can promote exercise and help kids get moving.
Sports apps are a great way to encourage kids to stay active. Apps like Soccer Skills Guide—which teaches them how to improve their soccer techniques by practicing basics like dribbling, passing, and shooting—will keep them running for hours without even realizing it.
On top of making your child sweat—or at least walk—apps can also boost their mood and mental wellbeing. Many apps offer guided journaling that prompts users to reflect on their day, express gratitude, and develop writing skills. According to Intermountain Healthcare, “expressive writing” boasts impressive health benefits like increased immune function and decreased susceptibility to certain diseases, as well as lowered stress levels, advanced cognitive ability, and improved mood.
Mindfulness techniques also have a long list of benefits to kids, from emotional regulation to improved attentiveness. There are all kinds of apps to promote mindfulness and overall wellness. Headspace, for example, features hundreds of guided meditation exercises to help kids manage stress and anxiety. Yoga for Kids and Family teaches yoga poses specifically designed for kids—including a category of animal poses. It also offers nutrition facts and recipes, allows them to track yoga sessions on the calendar, and set workout reminders.
Perhaps the most obvious—and important—function of technology is the human connection it enables. It allows your child to keep in touch with the most important people in their life.
Not only can they hold video calls with their grandparents and instantly connect with loved ones anywhere in the world, but they can also communicate with teachers, study groups, and tutors, improving education quality and strengthening home-school relationships.
The ability to stay in touch with friends and interact with people across geographical barriers makes robust social networks and meaningful connections possible.
How Troomi Can Help
Troomi is here to help you safeguard your child while providing them with the tools they need to pursue their dreams.
Our quality Samsung devices, powered by Troomi’s KidSmart OS™, start with unlimited talk and SMS texting capabilities. That’s it. From there, you curate your child’s user experience from the user-friendly parent portal.
Troomi’s KidSmart Apps™ are screened for safety and selected based on educational value, so you can choose the right tools to help your child succeed. All apps must be downloaded from the parent portal rather than the device.
You have control of the apps they use, the contacts they receive messages from, and the websites they visit. You can gradually loosen the restrictions and increase the functionality as they grow. All Troomi devices come with GPS, so you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing where your child is, and plans start at just $14.95 per month.
Troomi helps you find the perfect balance of freedom and safety for your child while teaching them to use technology responsibly.
It’s easy to forget about the benefits of technology for kids when our children are fixed on their devices. While misusing tech has drawbacks, kids who use it responsibly can reap a number of educational, social, and health benefits. As parents, considering these positive impacts of technology on children can ease our minds and assist us in making healthier decisions surrounding screen time. So next time you find yourself wondering, “Is technology good for kids?” remember it can be! By being intentional and teaching good habits, you can ensure the impact of technology on your kids is beneficial and long-lasting.