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Should Parents Give Tech Gadgets to Their Kids as Toys?

Should Parents Give Tech Gadgets to Their Kids as Toys?

How techie do you want your children to be?

Should you be giving your child technological gadgets as toys? While there is no major study that argues to either side, many parents still wonder if this is right or wrong in terms of early childhood development. We live in a high-tech world and many want their children to be “tech savvy” from a young age while other parents are afraid that introduction to tech toys can lead to seclusion or a replacement of social interaction with the internet. Steve Jobs, for example, said that he knew the dangers of technology first hand and therefore did not want his children to have similar experiences, stating that he had not given them an iPad. Professor Mark Brown, a director of Massey’s National Center for Teaching and Learning, explained that a child must learn the use of computers and tablets, as it will be essential to develop technological proficiency for future jobs, (Technology Essential To Children’s Success, Professor Says, Massey University archives). Whatever our reasons are, it is fair to suggest that the children can either benefit or be harmed by playing with technology depending on the extent and length of that interaction.

Let’s look at some pros of giving tech gadgets as toys to kids:

Parents can get some needed peace and quiet

Today, there are technological toys and gadgets ranging from learning apps, alphabets and live aquariums, to robotic pets such as Ubooly, to Nabi 2 toddlers can literally chew on, tablets, iPads, you name it, it’s there. Parents of small children can use these tech gadgets when driving in a car in rush hour traffic. The pros are clear in some instances where the adults simply need silence and five minutes of peace. You probably are willing to hear Frozen‘s “Let It Go” for a thousandth time for as long as your children do not scream bloody murder strapped in their car seats.

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Helping Brain development and increasing learning activities

As mentioned earlier there are infinite amounts of useful applications a child can utilize to help his or her brain development, from SudokuKids to Sparky’s Adventures by Fit Brain to Pilo3, an interactive children’s story book in 3D. Open Solutions, for example, calls its Baby First Puzzle Farm a form of education, a “new and innovative” one for babies. There is an ocean of great information out there for a child to not only gain knowledge from but also to help the child become technologically savvy. Let’s face it, the child’s homework in high school and college at least will involve doing research on a computer and using the Internet, so why not start early so a child is ready to switch focus from one tech form into another.

Music, Books and Digital Interaction

Today a child can be exposed to classical music masterpieces and learning compositions with a push of a button on a phone or a tablet. Similarly, a child can use devices and tech toys such as Bluetooth enabled headphones,listening to audio books, and engaging in interactive touch books that are made for smaller children. There is a world of knowledge out there and listening to wide varieties of music can only enhance your child’s memorization. It has been found that children remember things better when they are set to musical beat (Sawyers & Hutson-Brandhagen, 2004). Moreover, exposure to music helps children develop rhythm, proliferate coordination, and helps them create another form of communication through music (Ferguson, 2005).

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 So what are the cons of tech gadgets as toys?

Too much technology can lead to distraction

There is no doubt that parents must supervise their children with the usage of technology. Prolonged exposure (hours and hours a day), and overload of techie fun can lead a child to disorientation, anxiety and emotional “numbness,” explained Mali Mann, Adjunct Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine. Furthermore, Mann says that technology relied on too much with children can lead them to technological addiction.

Cyber bullying and predators

A child is an easy target for sexual predators and on-line bullying. With cases well known about the dangers of the Internet world, parents must be careful, and be aware of their children’s on-line activities. Some parents are not even aware of this but did you know that almost 43 percent of children were bullied on line, 1 in 4 experienced it more than once according with DoSomething.org organization this year alone? If this does not scare you, just read the countless stories of parents losing their teenage children to suicide due to cyber bulling. Do you know if and where your child chats online? Could they fall into a trap of a sexual predator? Unfortunately yes, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations warned that it is through cyber chats that children are most likely to become the target of a predator. The FBI stated that children who spend large amounts of time in on-line chat rooms are at most risk, especially during the evening hours. The Bureau also warned that while parental controls are the tools parents should utilize, they should not rely on them alone, and should monitor a child’s chat room closely, i.e. it must be “heavily monitored” (FBI.org).

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Substituting people with “toys”, or social withdrawal

If a child spends significant amounts of time on video games for example, this robs from his or her play time and social time outside or even time with parents. There is no doubt that technology, while beneficial to children in terms of learning and social development, can also lead to negative social withdrawals if the times spent on the devices are not controlled by the parents. Many experts say that instead of more tech toys kids are in need of attention and actual good old playtime. Peter Gray, a psychologist and research professor at Boston College, noted that lack of playtime, or “play deprivation,” is bad for children as it may foster “suicide, narcissism, and loss of creativity.”

While there are no definitive conclusions reached or studies done on the effect of technological toys on kids being infinitely bad or great, one thing is most certain, that it is up to parents to draw the line in its usage. In the century we live in it is unarguably important to get a good grasp of technology. How early should we introduce it to children and should we as parents give children various technological gadgets as toys is a matter of balance at the end of the day. Technology is great for children provided they have a healthy balance of school, playtime, parents’ time, study time and so forth.

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So what can you do?

Research psychologist Dr. Larry Rosen suggested actively giving children time with you: playing video games with them, talking to them about using technology in healthy ways, encouraging breaks from usage of devices, and family time. The togetherness aspect will increase parental interaction. All these little things will give a parent more control and understanding of where their children’s interests lie in technology and which gadgets should be altered or removed, revisited or revised. The bottom line is, today we cannot afford to ignore the power of technology over our lives, and therefore, we must not overlook its effect on our children.

Featured photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/7QBsAh via flic.kr

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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