Editors Note: The Superior Media Team is proud to introduce Melissa and Marcus Jakimik with their new weekly column “Tech Corner”!
Melissa and Marcus are passionate about IT, technology and helping others in the Community. They founded a local small business named Tech Tutors Onsite. Previously featured on our sister site SaultOnline, they started out tutoring seniors on how to use their technology, staying safe on the internet and avoiding scams. Since then they’ve found their new business expanding to help out many others including businesses with everything from data back-ups, security and software upgrades.
We hope you enjoy their weekly column!
This morning my husband and I witnessed something that opened our eyes. Dressed up as Ironman and playing ‘superheroes’ with his other brothers, our two-year-old asked us to turn on Super Why, his favorite television show.
“Honey, it isn’t on right now,” we said (somewhat telling a white lie so that we could work on getting him dressed for daycare.)
He looked puzzled.
“What do you mean it isn’t on? Can’t you play it right now?” he demanded.
This brings me to today’s topic- the ‘on-demand’ generation.
Is it good or bad our two-year-old realizes we can play any show he wants at any time of the day?
Is it helpful or hindering knowing our four-year-old can navigate to his favorite YouTube video even when we tell him no?
And what does it tell us when our one-year-old has a tantrum when he can’t press the buttons on our smartphones?
We have accepted that today’s world is much different than when we grew up!
If you are over thirty, chances are you also remember using the telephone to call and talk to your friends, rather than texting. Payphones were everywhere and we all survived without a cell phone. When we went shopping with friends, we went to a mall and tried clothing on, instead of clicking buttons on the Internet. While sitting in waiting rooms, we made eye contact and maybe even conversed with the person across from us instead of being lost in our own world on mobile devices. After we got our first girlfriend or boyfriend, we hid in our rooms and talked to them for hours and actually heard their voice! It was amazing. Now, calling a friend is a foreign concept for many kids.
Although I often wish those times back, I am appreciative and aware of how technological advances have positively impacted our world and their role in our kid’s lives.
In moderation, technology can be a great tool for kids. My family loves watching the kids play outside but we also get excited seeing our kids develop intellectually. Much of that can be attributed to the technology they encounter in their daily lives.
When I was in elementary school, my science projects consisted of volcanoes with baking soda and vinegar or creating art with bristle board and construction paper. Nowadays, kids have different challenges such as designing a website or programming Lego robotics. It is because kids are growing up with technology at their fingertips, that they can be successful at difficult projects such as these.
Even though I sometimes worry our kids are a tad spoiled because they get so much on demand, I have to remember expectations for them are much higher because they have access to technology in endeavors; big or small.
So how can we ensure technology helps rather than harms our kids?
Here are some tips for making sure your kids are using their devices and the Internet safely and for a good cause:
- There are various tools available to block certain websites. Use them as required, depending on your kid’s age.
- There are also tools to monitor and restrict how long and which timeframes your kids can access the internet.
- If you let your young kids play with the tablet, encourage the use of educational or strategy games instead of shooter games. This can help them develop troubleshooting & problem solving skills.
- Talk to your kids about never sending inappropriate pictures of themselves. Once a photo lands in the digital world, it is there for life.
- Give your kids real examples of what can happen when they talk to a stranger online and trust them enough to meet them, send photos/money or form a bond. The outcome is often scary and dangerous.
- Teach your kids to never bully online. Sometimes it is easier to say hurtful things when hidden behind a computer.
Now, you can go respond to all the texts you missed while reading this 🙂
Stay safe out there!