Technology presents numerous challenges for parents with young children. From frequent tablet and smartphone product updates to new video games and cartoons, technology plays a prominent role in kids’ lives.
Kids today consume more media and technology than ever before. In fact, those ages 8 – 12 spend an average of eight hours per day playing video games, watching TV or movies, checking social media, etc. The various devices, programs, and platforms keep kids quiet and entertained, but the educational value of what the kids watch – typically on multiple screens at once – is disturbingly low.
As technology takes on a bigger role in our everyday lives, the instinct to put a tablet or smartphone in kids’ hands to keep the peace shouldn’t be the norm. Instead, for the 60 percent of parents who admit to using tablets and smartphones to distract their kids, advancements in technology have actually presented the opportunity to introduce technology as a fun learning tool, not a distraction.
Learning skills in technology can turn the next generation into creators, not just consumers. The innovation within technology education has been immensely valuable in sparking this shift inside the classroom, but parents also need to help kids create and ask questions outside of the classroom – both valuable assets in shaping the minds of tomorrow.
Online technology courses empower kids to create their own games and apps, which can turn into profitable businesses. Technology offers endless opportunities for creation, so imagine what kids can create in the future if they’re learning now. As they build necessary skills in technology, kids can learn what their passions are and better prepare themselves for the next phase of their life or even their future professional careers.
Some parents believe that teaching kids with their gadgets is a way of “tricking” them into learning. But, 9 out of 10 parents want their kids to learn basic skills in technology. So, why not provide children with the opportunity to learn necessary skills for the digital age via mediums that they already enjoy?
There are three main areas where technology education provides numerous advances for kids, planting the seeds for passion and professional success and even the beginnings of an entrepreneurial mindset:
- Literacy for the digital age:Technology is an integral part of almost all industries, from healthcare to transportation. Accordingly, proficient technology skills and knowledge are critical assets for students’ future economic opportunity and social mobility.
- Job readiness:In 2015, there were more than 600,000 high-paying technology jobs unfilled, and by 2018, 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields, according to the White House. Today’s students are tomorrow’s engineers, programmers, and entrepreneurs, and they will need a solid technology foundation in order to be successful, regardless of the industry they choose.
- Real-life skills:Technology education offers great benefits to students that translate to real life, regardless of career path. From problem solving to critical thinking, using and learning to create with technology helps kids acquire skills that will aid them in their educational, professional, and personal pursuits.
Teaching tech at a young age gives kids a competitive advantage in the growing digital era. In fact, a study conducted by Google found that early exposure is essential to creating interest in the growing computer science field. These skills need to be fostered not only at home, but also in the classroom.
Parents who encourage their kids to create and ask questions outside of the classroom fosters an atmosphere of learning and creativity. Technology doesn’t need to be mechanism for distraction. Embrace it as a method to draw out interests and hobbies that otherwise remain buried when kids simply consume technology instead of using it to create.