Students are spending more time in front of screens than ever before. Whether it is a computer, tablet, smartphone, or television, technology presents powerful opportunities for connection. While limiting screen time is still important for growing minds and bodies, today’s students are digital natives — born with aptitude and drive to master the tools of their generation. Since technology is an integral part of life and learning, children must learn to use it responsibly at an early age.
Consider these five ways to help students embrace technology in a healthy way:
Use Technology For Both Creative & Practical Needs
Technology meets some of the world’s greatest needs. After all, is there any question that can’t be answered via Google? Practical matters — like searching and finding information — have been made worlds easier by the technology, but have you considered how these tools can be used to help boost creativity? Encourage your children to film short family videos, create flyers for church events, and integrate technology into school projects, leveraging their creative skills in all areas of life.
Put Measures in Place to Minimize Distractions
Many parents worry that as students engage multiple screens using various apps and programs, they lose their ability to truly concentrate on one thing. This is a valid concern, as a compromised attention span can certainly hinder academic achievement. If your student is working on a project on their computer, ensure smartphones, tablets, or other devices are out of reach. Hide tempting programs and apps, leaving open only the tools needed to complete the project at hand. When finished, take a technology time-out to give the eyes and mind a break.
Connect Digital Skills With Real-World Learning
Students use computers, tablets, and other machines to do schoolwork all the time, but when they see how their tech-savvy skills can have an impact in the real world, they are motivated to thrive in the 21st century. Parents should talk to their kids about how they use technology in the workplace. Have your child utilize their skills within the context of specific interests or activities. For example, if hosting a neighborhood yard sale, your student could develop a database of items and prices, design postcards, and promote the event online.
Emphasize the Value of Face-to-Face Communication
With the prevalence of email, instant messaging, and social media, students have the unique challenge of developing both online and face-to-face communication skills. Eye contact, speaking abilities, and other etiquette forms are still critical to success in school, the job market, and beyond. If you feel your student’s face-to-face communication skills are suffering, talk to them about the benefits of growing in this area and create more opportunities to practice.
Make Online Safety a Top Priority
Last but not least, students need to be educated on the threats of the internet. While they have many incredible opportunities that other generations did not, today’s children are at risk of a loss of privacy and the numerous issues associated with irresponsible technology use. Schools and parents can utilize tools and put measures in place to protect students as they engage various devices, but nothing replaces continual conversation and education around this topic.
Discover More About NCA
At Northside Christian Academy, we help students leverage the benefits of technology while teaching them to use it in a mature and responsible way. These healthy habits contribute to long-term success in school and life. If you’d like to learn more about our academic program, download our free infographic today.