Ex­plore with your kids

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - News -

CON­STANT smart phone, tablet and com­puter use by chil­dren may have a bad rap, but Mac­quarie Univer­stity aca­demic Kate High­field said the right use of tech­nol­ogy would open doors for ed­u­ca­tion.

Through­out her re­search as an aca­demic at the univer­sity’s In­sti­tute of Early Child­hood, Dr High­field said she had come across a num­ber of par­ents who were hes­i­tant about the dam­ag­ing ef­fects of screen time.

“The re­al­ity is that the tech­nol­ogy ge­nie is out of the bot­tle, so rather than ig­nor­ing the tech­nol­ogy and hop­ing it will dis­ap­pear, we’re bet­ter off fo­cus­ing on how to use it,” she said.

“My job is to say, yes there are con­cerns about tech­nol­ogy but let’s find a bal­ance and use it well, it can open up incredible op­por­tu­ni­ties for chil­dren.”

Re­search sug­gested the trick to en­sur­ing pos­i­tive ef­fects from tech­nol­ogy was to use it in a way that en­cour­aged cog­ni­tive thought.

“The bal­ance oc­curs when we don’t use the de­vice as a babysit­ter.”

Par­ents should not ex­pect their chil­dren to use tech­nol­ogy in the right way if they haven’t ex­plored it to­gether first, Dr High­field said.

“It takes away some of the angst of us­ing tech­nol­ogy if we just con­sider it an­other play space.”

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