Exposure to technology is NOT bad for kids.

I have read some articles advising parents/adults not to expose children to technology such as mobile phones, tablets, television, etc. The authors even itemized specific bad effects that technology have on children.

What’s wrong with technology?

It was created to make our life a lot easier not more complicated, right?

There is nothing bad with technology. The “bad thing” is on the attitude of the adult in handling the children and in handling the complexity of life.

I have three children. All were exposed to technology from birth. Each of them have different attitude towards technology but none of them have shown really bad effect. Let me itemize some good effects.

Television

Exposure to children’s shows on television helped me train my kids with their English. In fact, because of too much exposure to television shows like Backyardigans, Wonder Pets, Dora the explorer etc., my youngest is growing up as native English speaker. She is now 11 soon to be 12 and is still speaking straight good english. In the same manner, the older siblings learned a little of Korean and Japanese, speaking and writing, also from television shows. A very good influence because enrollment in foreign languages costs a fortune. It was also through television shows or movies shown on television where we get to do family bonding without really spending on movie tickets.

As for the censorship of television shows, i take time to watch with my kids especially when I see any of them so engrossed with the show. I take it as a chance to bond with them. I get to see if guidance is really not required plus i get to be updated with my kids’ interests. Doing this made me realize that censorship of foreign produced shows is different from Philippine censorship due to differences in cultures/principles. Sponge Bob Square Pants is rated GP because it is a children’s show but I don’t let my kids watch it. I rate it PG because of some foul words which the show considered common (e.g. calling someone stupid like it’s a natural thing; acting brainless like Patrick Star – parents should explain that a star fish is really brainless; and Sponge Bob thinks similarly as the person he is talking to – that’s because as a sponge, he absorbs how the other person is)

Mobile Phones

As early as when my eldest was 9, circumstances made us train her to go to school with her younger sister on their own. I, therefore, had to make her bring a mobile phone so I could monitor their locations and status. She was trained to send a message as soon as they get aboard the transport and again when they get to school. Doing so, she got used to communicating to us her location and she learned to appreciate the reason of parents for wanting to know the whereabouts of their children: its not really for control but for safety reasons. Until now, she’s 21, she still keeps us posted if she can’t come home as expected and why. The younger sister does the same, following the older sister’s actions.

Incidental to their owning mobile phones, they have learned the responsibility of having one. Like, respect to authority by not using  mobile phones inside the classroom; beware of snatchers/pickpockets specially when in public; putting it on silent mode or switching it off when in meetings or in class.

Mobile phones helped me and my husband instill in our children that communication is very important, which I believe, is a very good effect of telephone.

Thanks to mobile phones, despite being more than 200 kms away, I can still pray the angelus together with my family; say goodnight to one another before going to bed; update each other on our whereabouts; help each other on academic research/ school assignments; etc. etc. etc.

technology

Computers

Desktops/laptops are not unnecessary gadgets nowadays specially for those who frequently communicate with people away from them. It is also necessary to expedite the preparation and presentation of reports, simplify long and complicated calculations, easier and more frequent communications, and faster and broader research.

For safer storage and faster access to my files, I email them to myself. The only disadvantage is the need for internet access which is not really a problem anymore with the existence of pocket wifi and mobile data.

Same thing with my kids. When they are given school assignments for research, google is there to help them and MS Office can easily help them organize their report efficiently. The internet and email access can also help them access their assignments anytime, anywhere in case they left their memory stick behind.

The fear of parents when children gets free access to internet and having all those gadgets is their getting access to the wild world as well and their getting pulled away from family and good values.

Are those really the effect of technology? Is that not the effect of not so good parent-children relationship and insufficient values education as well? If parents have bonded well enough with their children, wouldn’t they respect their parents’ wishes and not dare do anything that would disappoint or upset their parents? If good values education was taught well in schools, would children still do otherwise?

With proper guidance, technology will help us live life a little easier. It’s too much dependence on technology that will give bad effects. After all, too much of anything is not good.