In a June 2019 blog post published on Thrive Global, Nicole Dreiske, an Educational Innovator & Children’s Media Expert at International Children’s Media Center” explains what it means to be “Screen Smart” and shows how technology can be a force for good.
Dreiske starts off by acknowledging the concerns of parents over the “impact of technology on their children,” like in the case of the World Health Organization’s newly determined “gaming disease.” In efforts to stop these kinds of developments, parents follow the same, what Dreiske appropriately calls, “drill” of limiting and monitoring screen time.
However, demonizing technology may not be the right solution: it’s not just a simple question of if kids should use technology, but how kids should use technology.
With three simple points, Dreiske explains how parents can change their kids’ relationships with technology for the better, especially during the summer months when kids have more free time:
- Make technology an interactive, not independent, experience. Dreiske claims that equating “tech time” to “alone time” may lead to isolation for kids down the road.
- Talk to your kids about what they see. Take the time to let your kids share their experiences and discuss what they’ve seen online. Dreiske points out that giving kids the opportunity to verbally process what they watch or read online “promotes the development of neural networks and gets kids to use [their] ‘big brain.’”
- Encourage your kids to be mindful of what they’re seeing online. By building up your kid’s critical thinking skills about what they’re seeing online and how that makes them feel, kids become their own “media filters.”
In summary, there is a difference between mindless technology use and smart technology use. By making screen time an interactive and stimulating experience, parents and kids can use technology as a way to build connections and bond with each other. Next time, instead of your child just playing games or using Facetime on your phone, try reading or drawing over Caribu and having a conversation about what they’re reading, thinking, and feeling.