Tech Away

Tech Away

My 8-month-old child was trying to grab my mobile phone which was placed on our rug. He has recently discovered he could use his arms and some parts of his legs to crawl around the house. So he tries to grab anything that catches his attention especially the small shiny, glowing things that the adults are always checking. In the beginning, I would simply take the mobile phone away from him or hide it so he would not see it. I felt uncomfortable with this approach and always have but took the easy route of hiding it. Our 5-year-old has always known that there are different rules for different ages. Why would it be any different for our son? So I began to use my disappointed voice to deter him from picking up the mobile phone. He would insist and try again and I simply instructed him not to do it. After some time he knew it was something he was not allowed to touch or use, although it is in his sight.

In a similar fashion, I think sometimes we can spend too much time keeping technology away from kids and hiding the inevitable. In my opinion Isn’t it better to teach the kids on how to use technology effectively and become a generation of producers as opposed to consumers. Let’s use the technology for its intended purpose, which is to make our life easier.

Engaging with technology correctly becomes even more important at an early age. Depending on how the technology is used by the adult to engage the early learners can have a lasting impact. For example if an iPad is used as a baby sitter than the outcome would that the child would begin to see the iPad as tool to turn to when they want interaction, excitement, something to do and simply become consumer of content produced by others as opposed to the parents having clear iPad rules such as screen time and carefully vetting Apps and engaging with the technology with their child. The outcome of that would that the child would learn it see it as a tool which is used when a certain outcome is required such as Science or Maths Apps or using the camera to record the science experiment they have just learned about at school.

Marc Prensky who argued that anyone born after 1980 is born as a Digital Native due to the constant interaction with new technologies, whereas anyone born prior to 1980 is a Digital Immigrant. Although a simplistic view but the emphasis still lies on both the Digital Immigrant and the Digital Native to ensure that they are all using the technology for its intended purpose and this is a culture shift that should start from the beginning.

Image: Marcus Kwan @

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