4 ways to help your children spend time on the internet productively
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
Hi everyone, time feels strange in 2020, this year has flown by, spring and summer came and went, and now the Christmas time is almost upon us. But why does it feel like it has been a long time since we started to think about children and school closures due to COVID-19? But the truth is that we have learnt a lot about children's effective use of technology for educational purposes (and for parents' sanity as well). And a great part of these outcomes we would never have had the time to find out about in normal circumstances.
We have heard a lot about the negative impacts on children's development as a result of their overuse of digital technology or the internet; for example, that it might decrease their attention spans or that digital technology might influence their daily behaviours (resulting in eating disorders or obesity, among other issues. Even though technology poses real threats, it may come as a relief to hear that there are lots of positives to using it, and responsible technology use might offer families from the 4 corners of the world a myriad of benefits. In this sense, UNICEF (2020) points out that COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the amazing significance of digital technology in multiple ways important to the lives of children, it means that kids were supported in several spheres of their lives (education, social interaction, entertainment, etc.)
For this reason, it is essential for us (mums and dads) to ensure that our kids use the internet safely and that they don’t end up getting negatively impacted. Also, we have to bear in mind that for children to succeed today, they must be able to make the most of the online opportunities. Thus, here are some suggestions pointed out by specialists for helping your child learn to do so properly and effectively. Here are 4 of my favourites.
Spend time online with your child.
It is beneficial for both, it is also a great opportunity to to strengthen parent-child relationships, we should take at least 30 minutes and appreciate this moment to explore things together. For example, try to find sites that are interesting to your child. It will help them to achieve a positive attitude to internet exploration and share their positive or negative experience with the internet in future. Also, make the most of each minute, you have a digital native at home, thus if your child knows about digital technology, let them teach you. This will help them build self-confidence and make you feel very proud of their skills at such a young age.
Help them to develop digital literacy and how to stay aware of the risks
It may sound cliché, but the truth is that the internet can be a "dangerous neighbourhood" for everyone; thus there are lots of baddies often stalk children on the world wide web, taking advantage of their innocence, lack of adult supervision and abusing their trust. For this reason, it is really important to teach our kids some common issues and risks that arise due to careless use of the internet. Make, sure they know that they should never give out any personal details, including their home address, their names, or the names of family members, home, phone number, age, or school name, it sounds obvious but the "likes", comments and posts we share on social network platforms or webpages can often seem inconsequential, but they matter; we have to bear in mind that social media posts are, in some sense, conversations, so the online predators can use it to start an online dialogue with your child. Have a look at this post "An ONLINE PREDATOR can groom a CHILD in less than 20 minutes".
Create online study groups Learning from home can be as fun as it is educational for your child; also, collaborative online learning can be really effective. In this sense, the Internet can provide us with online tools, systems and platforms in multiple ways important to children's lives; thus let's make the most of them! Why not take the initiative and try to find interesting and relevant topics for your children and their friends (or classmates)? Creating an online study group is not an easy task, hence, you must be prepared for looking for help, but I am sure some teachers may be able to offer valuable advice on topics, subjects among others, and also try to find supportive parents to help you in terms of organizing a sustainable, reoccurring online study group. But please do not forget to schedule breaks into their study plan. Making some small snacks for the study session or break time may help to promote fun and productive online session for your kids.
Use the internet to look for interesting things to do outdoors or offline activities
undeniably we know that due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we and our kids are spending more time at home and consequently it means that we also spend more time online. And it is easy to say that we have been able to pass our days engaged and entertained by watching and accessing online content, etc. But, have you and your kids ever been challenged to take a digital technology timeout? How about one day each weekend without internet? Also, why not to use the web to find things to do without technology? The internet is an amazing place to get some inspirations and be creative. Origami it is interesting and easy thing, have a look at this post.
The key things are try to make the most of the internet, and use this to maximize your family quality time. Spending time with your kids is easy because they so often want to be as much a part of our lives as possible! There's no limit in trying something new with your kids, DIY, craft, watching birds, cooking, among others. For example, last week, my son and I tried to bake a "red velvet" cake and I have to say that the result was something purple and soft (but it wasn't edible at all) but we laughed a lot and that was really entertaining. Failure isn't something to be embarrassed about; it's just proof that we're pushing our limits, trying new things, daring to innovate. It is important our kids learn this kind of lesson with us (parents).
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Photo Credits: Clipdealer A:275105 ... Happy fingers hug on white background - Order number 20591254 - the photo was edited by the blogger (Junior Oliveira).