Friday, January 31, 2014

The Modern Child. It's Really OK!

You know, it is really starting to get quite old, all this anti-technology/anti-internet hate hype that is constantly circulating around…funnily enough, the internet, when it comes to “new age children”.

There’s an array of pictures, memes, instagrams, tweets etc that all follow the same kind of mantra.
Kids today are all loaded with iPhones and iPods and iPads etc. When I was a child, all I had to play with was some chalk and a skipping rope outside in the fresh air!

Well woop-de fucking doo!

When our parents were children, they didn’t even have chalk! They just stole some coals from the bottom of their fire place to draw their hopscotch markings out in the street. But you didn’t see them complaining about our coloured chalk.

Images of children playing with game consoles versus images of children holding birds. With slogans about how kids these days are messed up and should spend more time outside in nature.

What an absolute crock. This kind of absent minded, negative attitude is what will be sheltering your children from an added learning source that their peers will already be well advanced in by the time they hit primary school!

My child has an iPhone, which she uses as an iPod. I hooked it up to our wifi connection, installed a handful of educational games, and a few non educational games and she uses it when she feels like it.
She also has coloured chalk and a skipping rope. And believe it or not, she still plays with both.

At some stage throughout an average weekend, she might chose to sit in a quiet spot, grab her iPhone and start playing some of her games. 20 minutes later, she is outside in the back yard, IN THE FRESH AIR, WRITING HER OWN NAME in coloured chalk on the concrete. She has only just turned four.

On other days, she might go into her room, switch on her iPhone’s music playlist and blast Katy Perry from the speakers as she sings in front of the mirror. And she knows every word.
When she’s finished this, she will set up a picnic blanket under a shady tree in the back yard, IN THE FRESH AIR, and have story time with me as I read to her. The books we borrowed from the library. Each week she memorises at least one book, so that she can “read” them to me.

Another time will see her playing her dentist game on her iPhone, she says she wants to be a dentist when she grows up. Then moments later, when she’s done playing dentist, we will sit and practice her sign language. She can sign the alphabet. She can sign her own name.

At times she sits and opens her numbers app on her iPhone. 1 + 1 is 2. 1 + 2 is 3. And so on and so forth.
After she’s had enough phone time, we discuss, using parts of our lunch, the way mathematics works. She demonstrates the equations she has just learnt on her phone, using grapes and shows me, that 1 grape plus another 1 grape, does in fact, equal 2 grapes.

“Look mummy, I learned something. I love learning.”

Wow… yeah… I totally see how her owning an iPhone, or to be more specific, using my old iPhone as an iPod, has totally messed her up. She really should go back to the stone ages and just play with chalk and stones and pebbles like they did way back before technology, when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

Technology is the way of the future. Whether you want to admit to it or not, it’s here to stay and the best thing you can do for your growing child, is educate them on the advances of technology.

Just because modern children of todays world are using iPhones/iPods/iPads as part of their growing and learning activities, doesn’t mean they are worse off than our generation or our predecessors. It simply means they are moving forward with the rest of the world.

So long as you continually educate your child in all aspects of the technological world, on an age appropriate scale, then their use of such gadgets and resources gives them a greater ability than we had growing up. They can start learning more and more at a younger age.

Keeping in mind as they become older children, young teens etc, it is of the utmost importance to educate them on the dangers of the internet and how to be smart with the device that’s at their very fingertips, but that is something that every parent will need to do at some stage throughout their lives. Regardless of whether or not their young children learnt to use an iPod as a toddler.

A child using an iPad or other such device doesn’t make them lazy, or stupid, or missing out or whatever it is that is implied with all these anti-device bandwagons.
It doesn’t mean that they don’t still read books.
It doesn’t mean that they don’t still play outside.
It doesn’t mean that they don’t still use interpretive play with their peers/siblings/family.
These devices don’t replace everything else the child has and plays with. These devices join the child’s collection of toys and learning activities.

We are so lucky that our children have this opportunity. They have a world of knowledge at their fingertips. With the right guidance from their parents/guardians, they can learn great things.
They can achieve greatness.

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