We worry about it, we limit it, we create rules about it – and we hear a lot of conflicting messages about it. So, how do we approach screen time productively?
You constantly hear about the negative effects of screens and technology just about everywhere.
They’re ruining our eyes, re-wiring our brains, making us lazier, decreasing our concentration and depleting our ability to fall asleep. So it would only come as natural to shield the most vulnerable of our society – the kids – from the screens. But just as about anything, technology in its many forms is not evil, rather, it is neutral. What makes it good or bad is how we decide to use it. Productively or to waste time? Creatively or dully? To learn or to dumb down?
While we fully agree that a young child’s time on an electronic device should be monitored and wisely regulated, worried parents need to realize one thing. As much as they might hate it, technology is simply not going to go away.
The generation of digital natives
Our lives are the way they are because of technology. We live with technology, work thanks to it, we have it in our homes. It’s unreasonable to expect that our children’s lives will be any different. If anything, their generation will rely on technology even more.
So what do we do about this? Rather than demonize everything that flickers, what we need to do is teach children about digital literacy, behaving responsibility online, and about the many good things technology can be used for.
Programming, or coding, is a perfect example. In the future, the demand for programmers, robotics experts and those fluent in code will steadily increase. Some even predict that code will be the language of the future. If that is the case, we better prepare the current generation of young children for a job market that will demand these skills from them.
Robo Wunderkind & screentime
That was precisely the motivator that prompted us to create Robo Wunderkind. And to this day, we’re often faced with questions about screen time. Should we encourage it at such a young age? Isn’t it bad for kids as young as five?
We are aware of the concerns, which is why we recommend starting to play with Robo at 5 years old. And even then, the screen time that children are allowed while playing is purposeful and conscious. They are not given a tablet to just do whatever they want.
Furthermore, with Robo, the screen is there as only an addition, not the main component. The main component is the robotics kit that children use to build things. This physical task improves their motor skills, creativity, and imagination. The screen then offers them a way to bring what they just built to life. And that is the magic of programming.
Right now, they’re building robotics kits, but who says they won’t be building complex machinery or programming automated surgical tools in the future? And for that, they will also need a screen. So, while we understand the concerns of loving parents, the best thing they can do is allow their children to form a healthy and productive relationship with something that will definitely be a part of their future in some shape or form.