Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Parent to Parent: Hi-Tech Kids
Seems everywhere you look these days kids are plugging in, powering up and going online, leaving many parents wondering just how much exposure their kids should have to these gizmos and gadgets. Seven's Lynn Martinez breaks it down in tonight's Parent to Parent.
WSVN -- In our day, we actually played on a court with a real net, but for kids now hanging out, having fun means exploring the wonders of technology.
Zach Gettis: "This is a map of the world, and all these little white dots are of places. You can connect to people online and play with them all the way in Australia or in Europe."
And make no mistake, these boys know how to navigate. Patrick got his first computer at the ripe old age of 2, and his mom encourages him to learn all he can.
Cathy Moghari: "He's 10, and he's been taking technology classes since he was in first grade, and I think it's given him a heads up on things. I think it's given him an advantage."
The Gettis boys became tech savvy at 5, but their mom worries they spend too much time connected.
Peaches Gettis: "I think you have to be very careful. I think their time has to be carefully monitored while they're on computers, the gadgets, and I think there has to be a balance."
Dr. Val says that's a tough balance for a lot of parents. Kids need to be technologically connected but also need to disconnect long enough to maintain a strong family connection.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "The whole focus is on your communication with your child, your relationship with your child. Technology will not get in the way of that unless you allow it to and unless you allow the computer to be a babysitter just like the TV."
Dr. Val says let your younger children explore until they have the basic skills down, but then you have to set time limits for fun, games and texting too. Also, monitor what they're doing, especially if they're on the Internet. Make sure sites and games are age appropriate.
Cathy Moghari: "As they get older and more curious, it's all there for them to explore, and I'm learning now that I've got to implement some fire walls."
Dr. Val says parents should also share computer time. It's a great opportunity to connect with your child and to learn together, and the kids will tell you, knowing their way around power cords and keyboards gives them a leg up in school.
Jeremy Gettis: "It helped me when I got to school cause I knew how to shut off the computer. I knew how to go on the Internet and I just wasn't confused."
Lynn Martinez: "Experts say hi-tech kids get an added benefit from playing with all their gadgets, better eye and hand coordination."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Valerie Goode