Kids and tech…who can separate them these days?
Any modern parents will be well aware that getting the kids to put down their iPad and pick up a book can be close to impossible. Unlike us, they have grown up with them, and they find it difficult to understand what the big deal is with spending hours per day glued to a screen. In all honesty, this will likely get worse, and who knows how their kids will grow up.
However, what if screen time in and of itself isn’t really a problem? Is it possible to use the growing presence of technology in our lives to our advantage? How about to help our kids improve and study harder? It is indeed, and this dad is going to show you three things you can do to help your kids enjoy the screen time they crave in a more constructive way.
Harness the Power of Kindle
Amazon Kindle is an amazing tool. It’s basically an unlimited library at your fingertips. Books are available on every topic imaginable, and there are titles suitable for all ages.
One mom I know told me that she used Kindle to divert her 10-year-old daughter’s attention away from junk YouTube videos and channel into the more virtuous habit of reading.
She struck a deal with her daughter: she could have $5 a month extra on her allowance, but she had to use it to purchase ebooks from Amazon Kindle. She could then score some extra money if she wrote book reviews for her mom explaining what the books were about.
How did it work? Amazingly. She reported that her daughter asked her for more money to buy more books, which she was happy to facilitate. She’s still paying her daughter for book reviews to this day, and she tells me she spends more time reading on Kindle now than anything else she does online.
Boom! That’s what we call a parenting win.
If your kid absolutely won’t read, this could work for movies, too. Have them write a report on it, developing their ability to express themselves through writing.
Hook Them Up With Udemy Courses
I recently asked my son to see the notes he had taken at school, and my mind was blown when he whipped out his iPad and showed me an actual photo of the whiteboard with the teacher’s information on it.
I realized at that moment that I am hopelessly out of touch with how the education system has progressed. I did know that they use iPads at school and for homework, but I still had in mind the idea of jotting down notes from a blackboard like it worked when I was at school.
My son also surprised me by asking me to pay for a computer programming course he was interested in. He told me it would only cost $9, and it would help him decide if he would take IT at university. I jumped at the chance and bought the course right away.
Udemy is a huge virtual library of e-learning courses on just about every topic you can think of. I actually took one myself on trading stocks and shares after browsing through them all. I plan to take several more this year.
My son loved the course and has since hit me up for several others. I’m happy to spend whatever on his education, so it’s all good. There’s something about learning on the computer that just doesn’t feel like school, and your kids will likely enjoy it much more than being shipped off to a stuffy classroom every day. Of course, that part is still essential, but Udemy courses can complement their learning and if you use a Udemy coupon, you can save a ton of money too.
Promise Tech Gifts for Scores
Now, this method isn’t like the other two we’ve already covered. Those were focused on using tech to help your kids learn. This one harnesses the power of a much older phenomenon – straight up bribery.
Ask any parent what their kids want, and it’s almost certainly got something to do with technology. iPads, new phones, watches that speak to you and monitor your pulse, temperature, and just about everything else…all of which cost a small fortune.
You can use these requests to get your kids to dig deep and achieve certain scores in exams and assignments. Promise them that if they improve their grades by X amount, they can have this reward.
This isn’t much different than bribing little kids with candy, but hey, it works. Could your kid achieve an A if they knew a new iPad was in it for them if they pulled it off?
Tech may change the world, but human nature will always remain the same. We respond to incentives, and in this day and age, the latest cool gadget is one of the strongest incentives there is.
Conclusion – Tech Is Not the Enemy
Stop stressing about about screen time and obsessing over how much is too much. Yes, your kids need to get outside like we all do, but screen-time is not the boogeyman people make it out to be. Even if it was, it’s here to stay, and as they grow up to become teenagers, fighting it is a losing battle.
Instead, embrace technology and find ways to use it to enhance your children’s education. Viewed another way – there’s a digital school full of experts on their topics which is accessible 24/7, 365 days a year.
With a little out of the box thinking, your child could get the screen time they crave and could learn a lot in the process. That’s a win-win, or at least turns a less-than-ideal situation into something constructive.
Note: I wrote this for the “family” section of the site. I noticed it was seriously underpopulated, so I thought they might appreciate some content for it.