It isn’t surprising that today’s next-gen handles gadgets better than grown-ups. But the need of the hour is parental involvement in helping children make positive choices.
By Bharti Adhikari
Mechanised toys such as remote-controlled cars or ‘speaking’ dolls have always fascinated children of all ages. Technology, today, has become an inseparable part of their lives and it’s not surprising to see a two-year-old unlock mobile phones, operate apps, play games and hit the right links on touch screen gadgets. Every gadget in your hand will fascinate your child, and yes, we understand perfectly how worried you may be as a parent, when you hear about gadget addiction issues in children of a very young age. Also, there are online safety concerns. So, what do you do, as a parent?
It’s a matter of curiosity and proximity, so it all begins from you - if you can’t give up using latest gadgets, then don’t expect your child to not get attracted towards them. But, of course, it is not always possible to stop using electronic gadgets. Neither can you keep your child away from the latest technology as this is where her future lies. So, to ensure she reaps the right benefits out of this, you need to get involved. You should also bear in mind that though technology is definitely a boon for children, parental monitoring and intervention is essential when it comes to content. Choose TV programmes, apps, software, and gadgets only after researching. You can even consult other parents. Look for content that fosters your child’s creativity, and social and academic skills without any exposure to violence and negativity.
Allowing your child to engage in electronic media may throw up some challenges for you. You will often find yourself wondering whether to appreciate its academic benefits or worry over online safety issues. Your anxiety may end up imposing a ban on such media. But, rather than total prohibition or restriction, the best thing to do is make electronic media work for your family, in ways that will help your child in honing her skills, improving her performance in academics and grooming her social behaviour.
The electronic media market for children is no more limited to television, educational DVDs and computer games. What gadget you choose for your child will decide what he derives out of them. Most importantly, sit, watch, play and discuss along with your child to make sure he is safe online. So, if you have an inquisitive five or six-year-old in your home who loves tinkering with electronic media, here are some high-end electronic gadgets for him.
1. VTech Brilliant Creations Advanced Notebook: If your child is one of those who loves pressing keys on your laptop, this might just be the right gadget for her. This toy notebook looks and feels as real as it can get. It features a 4.5 inch LCD colour screen, a QWERTY keypad, a touch pad and a mouse all of which make it work like a real laptop. There are 120 activities spanning across various genre like learning letters and spellings, basic math and counting, rhymes, story-telling, science, questions and answers, fill in the blanks, drawing, vocabulary, languages, social studies, games and many more. All these activities are categorised under three levels of difficulty, which you can adjust according to the age or learning of your child. This laptop is a complete package fitted in one device. It will help you in engaging your child in academics in a fun way.
2. LeapFrog LeapReader Reading and Writing System: This gadget is still not very popular in our country, but it is a boon for those who have difficulty in learning words, or are visually impaired or have special needs. LeapReader is a talking pen which can be used with books that are especially designed for it. You can touch words or pictures with the pen-shaped device to hear words and sounds. It teaches reading, comprehension, phonic skills, vocabulary, writing and letters. It comes with a headphone jack and a writing sheet to trace words with the device. The basic pack comes with one free sample each of book, writing sheet, free to download audio book bundle, music album and trivia challenge pack. The company hosts a library of over 150 interactive books including writing activities, maps, audio books and music. This innovative gadget will make your child read books and stories on her own, and will save you from spending hours teaching her to read.
3. LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra: LeapPad is another modern-day gadget for today’s tech savvy children. It’s a tablet with a 7-inch screen, a stylus, a 2 megapixel camera, an MP3 player and Wi-Fi connectivity. It comes preloaded with 11 apps. It offers a parental control feature that will enable you to filter the content that your child would have access to. You can customise the learning experience based on the age of your child. The company’s online library has over 800 apps, games, eBooks, videos and music. The screen is sensitive enough for a child’s touch and the build is sturdy. This tablet has rechargeable lithium ion batteries, just like real tablets. It also features an art studio which will help in developing your child’s creativity and imagination power.
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