15th Sep 2016
Back in the 1990’s, Cartoon Network, Mario, Road Rash and Nintendo Game Boy was the rage and parents back then blamed our revered cartoons and games for poor academic performance. As children, we were all chained to the “holy parental timetable” that dictated our school life. Most of us had to finish our homework in order to watch the stipulated one hour of TV or computer games. This is nostalgia.
I envy the kids of this millennium, I really do! If I wanted a new computer game, I was asked to top the class, both of which never happened. These days, all a kid needs to do is annoy their parents, and behold a brand new iPad!! If I’d ask my parents for an iPad, I would end up with an eye-patch!
Humor aside, it is time to reconsider what children watch and play. The child’s cognitive development and social skills largely depend on what they watch and listen. Reports and numerous studies have pointed out that games with violent content can affect behaviour, addiction to games can lead to obesity etc. However, recent studies have also shown how gaming can help build a child’s problem solving and analytical skills. This is where parental guidance plays a crucial role. The time spent and the quality of content viewed by the child is what the parents and teachers must focus on.
"While time is important, it shouldn't be the chief metric," says Chip Donohue, Ph.D., of Erikson Institute in Chicago. Dr. Donohue recommends five things every parent, caregiver and educator should consider when thinking about "screen time" in the digital age:
1. All screens are not created equal. Look for media experiences that are interactive, include positive interactions with others and give children control.
2. Shift from "how much" children watch to "what they watch". Consider the quality of the content, level of engagement and opportunity for interactions.
3. Manage your own screen use thoughtfully. Children learn habits by watching adults around them, so model healthy media habits early and often.
4. Watch together. Joint engagement with media promotes learning.
5. Plan for unplugged time. Ask, "What can we do together when we turn off the screen?" Encourage playtime, including outdoor time.
"Most screen time limits are based on one child passively watching one TV," Dr. Donohue says. "Technology and our understanding of it have come a long way."
Don't have time to research the best shows and apps? Start with a few minutes of active engagement--watching or playing on a device with your child--and ask your child questions about what he or she is watching, Dr. Donohue says.
Dr. Donohue, who directs Erikson's Technology in Early Childhood Center, is a senior fellow at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media and speaks throughout the world on technology in early childhood.
Pamper your children with gadgets, but that’s not enough. Parents must be responsible in choosing what they wish to gift their child, especially the games that they play.
Be a child yourself and help your child grow, never blame the innocent child or the games.
Gaming Helps Cognitive Development In Kids
Children today have easy access to view any multimedia content at their convenience, but it’s important that the “screen time” and “quality of content” be monitored as well.
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