Princess and The Rock

Parenting | Homeschooling | Food | Fashion

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Is it APPropriate for children to use online learning tools?

At a restaurant

Toddler : (Turning her head from side to side and clamping her mouth tightly) 
 Parent  : C'mon, open your mouth, mum mum
Toddler : (Pushes the spoon away and kicks up a fuss)
        Parent   : Ok ok, look here. (Opens her ipad) Wow! Dora the Explorer!
Toddler : (Stares at the ipad and opens her mouth)
The Toddler finished up the rest of the meal uneventfully.

Does the above scenario look familiar to you? I've seen that far too many times; I've seen it happening at the restaurants, shopping centre food courts, hawker centres and even my house! 

One cannot ignore the power and influence of technology. It is common to see a one and a half year old use the iphone effortlessly, whether he is browsing through photos of his own or  watching his favourite "Rio" cartoon on Youtube. We have all heard the term "gone viral", so yes, technology has gone viral!

With technology advancement bombarding at us, what is a 21st century mother to do? I wonder a lot if it is appropriate or helpful for my children to use online learning tools or games for their education although my iphone already has a dedicated folder for the Princess' free Apps. I have also just "shared" a few learning games on my Facebook page and Twitter account. Have I then decided that online learning Apps and tools are great for my children and I? 

Yes but with restrictions. I cannot deny that there are a number of excellent online educational tools and games out there. I also think the more I obsess over this issue the more my children want it, much like the "forbidden fruit syndrome". However, I believe that the amount and type of exposure needs to be strictly monitored. There are many instructions on the Internet on how to childproof your devices so I won't delve into it here. One example can be found here

Although there is value in incorporating technology into education, I do not recommend substituting real time experiential learning with excessive computer usage. Balance is the key here although I lean on the side of less is better, for my family at least. We prefer the good old ways of reading out loud in animated voices, getting all soiled and dirty with paint and grime and tiring ourselves out with a frisbee game or getting all culture-vulture-y at the museums or galleries.

The Rock getting "au natural" with his art

Despite saying that, I do have a few videos and online educational tools which I use and highly recommend, so keep a lookout for the list in my next post!

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