Screen time. Those two small words may send shivers down your spine. You likely have battle scars from trying to pry your kids away from online gaming or tearing them away from social media. We all wrestle with finding balance when it comes to screen time. We worry that our kids are spending too much time on their devices, wasting hours on games and videos, or mindlessly clicking like on Instagram.
Screens Are Not the Enemy!
We probably all agree that literacy skills such as reading and numeracy are foundational to a child’s development. And they are. But learning digital skills is just as important as learning the ABCs.
Digital skills are the tools your children need to navigate an increasingly technological world. And building a base for lifelong digital learning early on is crucial. It’s true, this means they’ll be looking at their screens — but for learning opportunities, not as distractions.
The Fallacy of Digital Natives
We often assume that young people are digital natives — that they already have a complete set of digital skills, simply because they’ve grown up surrounded by technology. But it’s a mistake to think that their use of tech means they’re tech savvy. Sure, they may be a whiz at social media and navigate the internet like a pro. They may even mock us as we struggle to understand the hot new apps and games. But their immersion is not enough to serve them in the future. Their capacity to navigate the digital world doesn’t mean they have the skills to thrive in it.
Digital literacy means understanding the tech itself and building the skills needed to use it effectively. It means:
- engaging in technology and navigating social networks responsibly and safely.
- understanding how programs work — not just knowing which controls to use in a game but how the game was developed, programmed, and delivered.
- having the confidence to troubleshoot and problem-solve when something isn’t working the way it should.
- creating and evaluating digital technology in meaningful and constructive ways.
- understanding how technology can enhance our lives — at home, at school, and eventually on the job.
Boost your child’s digital skills now and empower them with the tools they need tomorrow!
The world will look different by the time your kids enter the workforce. Nearly 85 percent of the jobs of the future don’t even exist yet! New and emerging technology will continue to change the way we work, communicate, connect, and learn.
Offering opportunities for children to start building their digital skills at a young age is vital. Early integration will make them more resilient and less likely to be overwhelmed by their rapidly changing world. It will also help them to keep pace as technology continues to evolve.
As parents, it’s time for many of us to change our narrative on screen time and our perspectives on technology. By reframing our views, we can stop fearing the screen and start understanding the importance of building digital skills in our children.
So the next time screen time comes up, don’t shy away! Use this time with your children to consider all aspects of the screen — what you see in front of you AND the skills that were needed to bring that game or program to life!
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