As early as elementary school
By Mashable Brand X
As early as elementary school
By Mashable Brand X
Today, technology receives more than just a casual mention in most parenting handbooks and mommy blogs. Parents of elementary school-age kids are in a particularly befuddling spot as their kids begin dabbling in digital devices both at school and at home. In some cases, parents report that their kids know how to navigate tech better than they can. At the same time, parents aren’t always sure how to introduce their kiddos to technology in a way that’s balanced, educational, and fosters growth and development.
Amazon and Mashable are exploring how technology affects modern parenting. Be sure to check out the article on infants (babies between 0-12 months) and useful parenting tech here, and continue reading the series with this article about how kids in pre-K and kindergarten can start exploring digital technology.
In this third installment of the series, we’re examining how tech factors into the education and development of kids ages 7 through 12, and helps them along the path toward becoming a digitally savvy grown-up.
By age 7 or 8, most kids feel comfortable using devices like smartphones — recent research puts the percentage of American kids between the ages of 10 and 12 who have their own service plans/smartphones at around 45%. Another survey found that 42% of U.S. children aged 8 or younger have their own tablet devices. The age you’ll want to introduce kids to devices like these understandably varies from family to family. Developing a “family media use plan” is one way parents can set appropriate limits for screen time — for every member of the crew (yup, that includes you, Mom and Dad).
Tech devices that are custom-tailored to kids, such as the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition or an Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet, are a perfect introduction to digital devices, and with features like Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a subscription service that provides access to hundreds of hours of fun and educational content, families can enjoy a breadth of exploration together.
Specifically, with Fire Kids Edition tablets you can set reading goals and track progress with FreeTime Unlimited and build up your child’s vocabulary with tools like Word Wise. This can help boost confidence and foster a love of reading. To reduce screen time, you can access more than 1,000 kid-friendly books narrated through Audible on the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition.
The Echo Dot Kids Edition allows children to explore their creativity and strategic thinking through voice control. So kids can ask Alexa to play interactive games, like Nickelodeon’s “No Way That’s True” or National Geographic quizzes. Kids can test their knowledge with the whole family. For parents, co-viewing and co-playing with kids as they explore these features is a unique way to encourage family bonding. And you never know: Mom and Dad may even learn a thing or two.
Exploring the digital world
It’s a brave new world out there on the wide, open internet. Elementary school may be the time to start teaching kids about best practices for browsing the internet, engaging in forums or chat/messaging and using social media — even if you don’t plan to permit them to have a public-facing profile until a certain age. Establishing a healthy relationship with technology early on helps kids have an ingrained sense of appropriate online behaviors as they progress into their teenage years.
Common Sense Media.org offers a list of resources for kids starting to dabble in the world of social media and digital interaction. Careful monitoring of kids’ online activities — and setting parental controls through Amazon Parent Dashboard, which you can access through your Amazon account— allows parents to keep a close eye on kids’ digital behavior. With the Parent Dashboard, you can set daily time limits, review activity, or pause Alexa on the Echo Dot Kids Edition device and an Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet.
Tech and elementary education
In one survey about technology in K-12 classrooms, nearly three-quarters of teachers say that tech helps motivate their students to learn. Educators today are using digital learning tools like interactive whiteboards, tablets, e-readers and e-textbooks, web-based educational games or activities, and online video, images, and articles. Seventy-five percent of teachers in the survey also noted that tech allows them to demonstrate concepts that they wouldn’t be able to accurately explain any other way.
In terms of tech milestones that elementary school-age kids should strive to reach, Rasmussen.edu recommends that kids work on skills related to creativity, collaboration, problem-solving, and coding. For instance, platforms like Tynker and littleBits can help kids get a grasp on the basics of programming, while interactive, online maps can help improve geographical knowledge — and show children parts of the world that are thousands of miles away from their own backyard.
Digital technologies are here to stay, and they’ll surely play a role in your kid’s (sometimes bumpy) journey toward teenage-dom and adulthood. With devices like the Echo Dot Kids Edition, school-age kids can get a kick start learning to use devices that will help them navigate through the world and modern society well into their later years.
Backpack boy with map |
Mashable composite; T. Tatsu/Shutterstock, Wikimedia commons
Mom and daughter on smartphone |
Mashable composite; Janine Schmitz/Photothek via Getty Images
Family baking |
Mashable composite; JOKER / Gudrun Petersen/ullstein bild via Getty Images