According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, daily media use by children and teens is up dramatically. Today, kids from 8 to 18 years old spend an average of seven hours and 38 minutes a day using entertainment media. That's more than 53 hours a week on a smartphone, computer, television or other electronic device. Given that many children multitask -- for example, listening to music while surfing the web -- they actually pack nearly 11 hours of content into those seven and a half hours.
Research shows that immersion in electronics can lead to social isolation, obesity and poor grades -- but that doesn't mean that children shouldn't use electronics for learning. Computers and other interactive electronic media have amazing potential in education and can be the perfect supplement to traditional teaching methods.
When used in a limited manner, electronics can be extremely beneficial to kids. Make sure that your children are eating right, sleeping well, getting plenty of exercise and outdoor time, and spending in-person time with family and friends. Monitor their electronics use and determine how much daily screen time is right for each child.
The best way to keep tabs on what your child is doing online is to keep your computer in a common area in the home, rather than in your child's bedroom. This rule applies to TV and other electronic devices, too. Pay attention to how much time she spends online and what she is doing. Playing on Facebook or other social media sites several hours a day isn't productive; however, watching a documentary, playing certain games and doing learning drills can be.
Technology isn't going to go away, so the best thing to do is to find the right electronics for your children. Electronics can keep your kids entertained while also stimulating their minds. Consider learning laptops for preschoolers and interactive book systems for elementary schoolchildren, as well as electronic learning toys and game consoles for older kids. Many of today's electronic learning products can be used for many years because they offer an array of skill levels.
If your child is struggling with a certain subject or has difficulty grasping a particular concept, electronics can stimulate the brain to help him see the problem in a different manner. Electronics also can be extremely beneficial for research, learning drills and problem solving. Find a workable balance between traditional learning methods and electronic media to better your children's education and help them achieve all their potential.
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