The Digital Pond
When most of us parents were growing up, things sure were different. Video games were just starting to make their way into our homes, but they were not necessarily interactive. Nowadays, kids have an inexhaustible list of options for educational, interactive activities and games. The digital world is their oyster. But when exactly should they begin dipping their toe in that digital pond?
Many argue that children should be exposed to educational interactive activities that are geared toward their age as a way of stimulating their development. Yet others argue that children should not be exposed to the very vehicles that offer this particular level of interactivity — desktop or laptop computers, tablets and smart phones.
As parents, we must constantly face choices that will impact our children’s future. Before we automatically hand over a technological gadget that’s intended to simplify our life, it is worth weighing other options that can provide our children with a similar level of engagement in a more natural manner. For example, an abacus for developing basic math skills or even an old-fashioned board game for improving eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity as well as enhancing letter recognition and reading.
Equally important are the social skills that are developed through these traditional interactions. Often times, children engaging in “interactive” games are only interacting with themselves and not with others. More importantly, traditional games provide children with a way to interact with their family and friends. And isn’t that the true purpose for playing games – to experience the rollercoaster of emotions associated with winning and losing together with your opponents?
While it is important that our children be exposed to the technological advances of today’s world, they have their whole life in front of them to accomplish this. Let’s help them find the right balance from a young age so that they are not sucked into the digital pond so early and end up missing out on some good old-fashioned fun!