Grandparents and Technology
Technology is an inescapable part of our modern culture but the number of hours children, both young and old, spend in front of a screen is a growing concern. The use of the television and the Internet in the home is having a dramatic impact on physical activity, rising health concerns and our connection with the natural world. Experts often recommend that there should be no screen time for children under two and limited to one hour for children 2-5 years yet we know that more than 90% of children begin watching TV before the age of two.
Despite this we know that good programming – think Sesame Street – has the ability to teach our grandchildren important values and life lessons as well as helping children share cultural experiences and develop critical thinking skills about society and the world. Hand held devises are everywhere – you can see children using them in restaurants, on long car rides, just about anywhere. It is easy for us to be overwhelmed with the remarkable array of games for our iPhones, iPads, tablets etc. One visit to the Apple Store will demonstrate how many games and programs are available for even the youngest children.
Ground Rules at Nana’s House
When your grandchildren are visiting your home, it will be important to create some ground rules that reflect the preferences of your grandchild’s parents. It is also important to reduce the risks that children may be exposed to when they are online. Many Internet providers offer parent control options to restrict certain adult content and block inappropriate sites. It is vital to speak to your grandchildren about your concerns and insist that they not give out personal information such as their password, name, age, address, telephone number, school etc. or connect to any pop-up ads, buy things online or download software without your approval. Posting of pictures online should also be discussed.
You may want to set up your computer or their devices in an area where you can monitor their activities. With older grandchildren a growing concern is when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images that are hurtful to others. Unlike physical bullying, with Cyberbullying the person can remain virtually anonymous. Your grandchildren should feel comfortable coming to you if they experience something online that raises a red flag or makes them feel uncomfortable. One benefit may also be what your grandchildren can teach you about technology! Seize the opportunity!
This is a guest post by Lynn Wilson. I have not been compensated in any form or fashion. She’s just a talented friend with a new book out who wrote an article for NanaHood.
Lynn Wilson is an accomplished professor and published author, specializing in early childhood development. She is the recipient of a National Teaching Excellence Award from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges and is the author of two early childhood education textbooks: Partnerships: Families and Communities in Early Childhood and Outdoor Playscapes: Breaking New Ground. This, her third book, A Handbook For Grandparents: Over 700 Creative Things To Do And Make With Your Grandchild blends her academic distinctions and numerous career accomplishments with her own personal experiences and practical knowledge, resulting in a professional yet personable guide for any grandparent looking to make more of the time they have with their grandchildren. More information is available at GrandParentsHandbook.com