Healthy Living Magazine

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There’s no doubt that the digital age is here to stay. Not only are we enamored with the ability to send and receive information in a digital format, but our children are equally smitten. Sometimes, too much so, as I hear more and more parents bemoaning the fact that they’re not able to retrieve their iPad or laptop from their young child who is busy surfing the web, watching videos or playing games on the device.

Sure, we love what the modern age of technology has provided to us, but like everything, there are always two sides to the coin. Good or bad, it’s here to stay, and stay in the lives of our children as well.
Following are the top 7 ways that digital technology has affected our children – the good and the bad:

1. Attention Span
Click and go. If we need to wait more than a millisecond, we’re angry — and we click away. So is the state of affairs for not only adults, but kids as well. More and more children are going online at younger ages, and simultaneously, their tolerance for page-loading is decreasing. Apparently patience is a virtue, and in the new world order of digital technology, it’s one that is increasingly being lost.

2.  Exposure to Adult Content
We all know what’s out there. Unfortunately, so do the kids, in many cases. Images and video that should never be viewed by the under-18 set are routinely seen by young kids who happen to click on the wrong link. Pandora’s Box has been opened and it won’t be closing anytime soon.

3. Spelling and Grammar
Texting, chatting and online shortcuts have undoubtedly contributed to the general decline in kids’ ability to spell and use grammar correctly. With the decline in cursive writing as well as a greater reliance on digital communication, parents and educators have to make more time and effort in making sure that their kids have these essential tools (see #5).

4. A World of Opportunity
The Digital Age has truly made the world a child’s oyster. At the touch of one’s fingertips (via mobile phone, tablet, laptop or otherwise), a kid can be transported to the farthest reaches of the planet, or beyond. “World travel” has taken on a whole new meaning for images, video, language support and more are found easily and quickly – making adventure as accessible as the nearest portable device.

5. Support For Learning
Does your child need help with math, spelling, languages or otherwise? A major benefit to digital technology is the ability for one to search and find help in the most common or most obscure of areas. In some instances, old-fashioned tutoring has been eliminated or drastically reduced by parents looking for educational assistance for their children – online. The prevalence of information that can be found digitally has made learning – and teaching – a lot easier for both parents and their children.

6. Interactivity and Communication
No one can dispute that the development of the Internet spawned a whole new level of communication and interactivity amongst the younger set. Starting with simple online games that are tailored to every age group, up to and including multi-platformed gaming, video and real-time involvement on numerous levels, there are more options than ever for children of the digital age.

7. A Voice
Everyone can be heard online. In the new digital world order, everyone has a voice, if they want one. Children today are much more assuming of the fact that they can, indeed, make a change in their world because of their access to information and ability to chime in (where age-appropriate). And while the younger kids may not be able to physically access the Internet, the changes that can result due to online participation is likely assumed due to the digital prevalence of their day-to-day existence. After all, it’s likely that their parents and loved ones are logged in, online and making their digital mark on the world.

Samantha Kemp-Jackson is a freelance writer, public relations consultant and parenting blogger based in Toronto. You can visit her website by going to www.multiplemayhemmamma.com.

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