Look around anywhere in Singapore today and you’ll see a child using a smartphone or a tablet. Given how prevalent technology is today, It’s inevitable our children will learn to use it from an increasingly young age.
As a parent, you know it’s important for your kids to develop good digital literacy skills and habits. Personal learning devices are already in use in most classrooms in Singapore, and e-learning or enrichment classes are a fact of life. We know digital skills will be vital for our kids in future… and yet we still have so many questions.
When should our kids start to use technology? How much time should they spend on their screens? What apps should they be using? Is technology killing their imaginations? How do we control their screen time?
Dr Lisa Kervin is Research Director at University of Wollongong’s Early Start centre, which studies childhood education and development. One of their key projects is the new ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child. This centre pools research from six Australian universities, plus 33 academic and industry partner organisations from Asia, Australia, Europe, and America. Together, they’re doing vital research into how technology affects children’s education, health, and well-being.
Dr Kervin is a mother of three kids herself, and she’s also an expert in childhood education. When it comes to children and technology she admits, “There are no simple answers to these questions. It’s important to acknowledge the enormous variance in the types of experiences available and the different ways screens can be used. Not all screens are equal! Not all digital activities are equal. Digital experiences that offer meaningful interactive experiences are more beneficial for children than passive time spent gazing at the screen.”