Using Digital Media Wisely for Children’s Academics
- University of Michigan Medicine | By Yoo-Young Kim
- URL https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/rounds/plugged-parenting-how-parental-smartphone-use-may-affect-kids
- October 12, 2016
Many parents, like myself, have studied in the traditional pencil-and-paper mode at school with didactic teaching. Now, the school is changing. It is becoming not only more child-centered and interactive, but also tech-savvy.
With smartboards, a child can learn about a frog’s life cycle by watching a lively video a teacher prepared, instead of just listening to the teacher explain in words. Moreover, a student can come up to the board to touch the screen and move a block around to get the correct answer. The classroom is already changing and so are our children.
How can parents use digital media for children’s academics?
#1 Raising Kids who Like to Read
The right amount of digital media can actually help children love reading.
A research conducted in South Korea on groups of children on their digital media use and motivation to read found that children who use limited amount of digital media had higher confidence level, motivation and ability to read than those who did not use digital media at all. Dr. Deborah Linbarger also found that children, especially boys, tend to develop fondness of reading when they watch a video with subtitles than those who do not. Taking away digital media altogether may not lead to children liking to read more books. So, parents:
- Do not fear but allow children to watch, especially when watch videos with words on the screen
- Encourage children to read storybooks on digital media
- Remember to moderate the use (Too much of anything is always harmful)
#2 Raising Kids who Know How to Self-control
Patience is virtue, especially when kids need to sit down and study for tests as they enter school. It is possible for digital media help raise children’s patience level and form good habits.
Pick the right contents:
Contents like Sesame Street includes children’s character building. For example, the video of Cookie Monster waiting on the cookies with a song, found children being able to wait longer for gratification than those who did not watch it.(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PnbKL3wuH4&t=83s).It is important to choose contents that contain good stories. I recommend Sesame Street, Veggie Tales, and any videos made by PBS Kids.
Form good digital use habits early on:
It is great if your child is already habituated in limited use of digital media. But if not, there are apps available that help children moderate the use of digital contents on their own, with little bit of control of parents. For example, Odinga helps children finish the smartphone without temper tantrums because of the fun ending game that helps children relieve the stress of stopping something that they like. In addition, Odinga has a Toolkit in which cute stickers and Good Habit Board is included so parents can encourage forming good habits in children easily.
Our children are growing up in a world and learning in classrooms that we ourselves never really have experienced as kids. This means new challenges but also new opportunities. Rather than simply limiting altogether or allowing too much, choose to moderate the use and carefully pick the contents so children benefit the most from the technology available!