Children today have much more access to technology than they did a generation ago, but many parents are on the fence as to whether this is good or bad. They fear that screen time takes away from active play and interpersonal development, but the truth is that technology goes a long way in helping boost kids' learning and development.
Concrete educational benefits
Many of the games, programs and apps that kids use build skills that will help them in their formal education. For example, many of the games kids are drawn to include elements of problem solving, which is a type of thinking they are much more likely to develop in game form than in traditional classrooms. Many kids also use technology to help with letter recognition and other early reading skills that they would not be as inclined to develop with books.
Many schools have been incorporating laptops and tablets into the classroom for use instead of or alongside traditional textbooks, and there's a good reason for that. Kids are more engaged in their learning when they're able to actively participate, and tablets are perfect for this. They allow kids to move through lessons at their own pace and see interactive media alongside the usual text. The technology also helps students stay focused and on task, whereas they may get bored with traditional lessons.
Wide Range of Apps
These days, there's an app for everything, and many of them are free. Even with just a few simple apps on a tablet, your kids can practice reading, play math games and build spatial skills with games that include moving parts. Select apps based on your child's interests and encourage learning and growth in the areas he's naturally inclined toward. Using apps almost always contributes positively to your child's learning and development.
Technology isn't going anywhere, and early exposure to it helps give your kids a leg up when they get into school, and eventually enter the workforce. The skills your children learn through games and apps build their skill sets and prepare them for a future full of technology. Just as you may want to teach your child to recognize letters or to read before starting school, you also may want to teach him how to use a tablet. He'll likely be exposed to them in school, and the skills learned on today's technology will probably transfer well to technology of the future.
Kids love the satisfaction of a job well done, and the reward cycle involved in using technology is a simple one. Kids love earning stars or winning levels in their games, and because these things happen so regularly in apps designed for kids, they will be almost constantly rewarded. Mastering skills they need to succeed in using apps gives them the emotional boost of knowing that they're clever, and these build confidence that will spill over into other forms of learning.
With so many methods available to learn with technology, kids can almost always find at least a few educational programs or apps they enjoy. Although parents should not rely exclusively on technology for their kids' entertainment or education, using tablets, phones and computers builds important skills and increases knowledge. Technology is an integral element of education in the modern world, and chances are we are only going to see more of it in our daily lives in the coming years.