Children and New Technology

Today's children are technological whizzkids; they can text at terrifying speed with their eyes half-closed, they roam the internet at will, they're dab hands at computer games, wizards at Wii, prolific social networkers and music downloaders par excellence.

While admiring their aptitude, these skills will obviously cause a parental qualm or two. Clearly, safety on the internet is paramount, and parental control software should be implemented on computers, satellite tv etc. Without being obviously nosy, keep an eye on what your child is doing on-screen.  

Because children are so absorbed by their on-screen activities, it is very easy for parents to fall into bad habits; computers and televisions become babysitters and - because they effectively absorb the children and keep them out of trouble - there is a tendency to leave them to it.

This is a dangerous precedent. Computer games, social networking etc. are all highly addictive, and if you're not careful you'll soon end up with an anti-social child, incapable of communicating, unless it's digitally.

Children's uncanny ability to multi-task can exacerbate this problem - how many parents have watched in despair, as their children allegedly do their homework, text their friends, and watch television all at the same time? Any attempt to engage with a multi-tasking child elicits cave man grunts at best.

It's up to you to take action before the rot sets in. Communication with real people must take priority over the digital competition, and as a parent it's your job to point this out. So insist that your child always stops what they're doing, looks up, engages in eye contact, and speaks in whole sentences. If they're not prepared to do that, unplug the machines, or remove the mobile.

It really is vital that children grow up to see the digital universe as an accessory rather than as end in itself. It's up to you to help them…

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