Everything Parents Need to Know About Children and Technology

Tech­nol­o­gy plays a role in our children’s lives now more than ever. While there’s not a lot known about the long-term effects of tech­nol­o­gy on young chil­dren, par­ent­ing advo­cates and researchers are start­ing to notice some changes in the way chil­dren think, feel, and inter­act with oth­ers in the tech age.

It’s unset­tling to think of tech­nol­o­gy fun­da­men­tal­ly trans­form­ing our chil­dren. That said, not all of the changes are bad, and there’s a lot par­ents can do to lim­it the impact tech­nol­o­gy has on their fam­i­lies. To help you nav­i­gate the com­plex­i­ties of par­ent­ing with smart­phones, tablets and oth­er devices, we dive into the key things par­ents should know about tech­nol­o­gy and their children.

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Screen Time Can Boost or Hurt Your Child's Self-Esteem

The qual­i­ty of your child’s screen time can impact their self-esteem. App con­tent that pro­vides oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn and try new things can help improve your child’s con­fi­dence and self-worth. This ben­e­fi­cial app con­tent often demon­strates healthy inter­ac­tions with the world and safe, sup­port­ive rela­tion­ships. We know how impor­tant it is to make the most of your child’s screen time. That’s why we go to great lengths to make sure the Jel­lies app is full of high-qual­i­ty, edu­ca­tion­al videos.

On the flip side, con­tent that focus­es on child celebri­ty sta­tus, toy play and unbox­ing videos, and inap­pro­pri­ate social behav­iors can have a detri­men­tal effect on your child’s self-esteem. Check out What Does Tech­nol­o­gy Mean for Your Child’s Self-Esteem? to learn more.

Technology is Teaching Children to Think in New Ways

With tech­nol­o­gy, chil­dren have access to almost every­thing they want to know with a few taps or clicks. Because of this, research skills are becom­ing far more impor­tant to chil­dren than mem­o­riza­tion. Instead of refin­ing their abil­i­ty to recall large amounts of info, tech is encour­ag­ing chil­dren to learn how to sort through dis­trac­tion and an abun­dance of infor­ma­tion to find valu­able data. 

This new pri­or­i­ti­za­tion in cog­ni­tive skills might lead the way to bet­ter crit­i­cal think­ing skills and stronger prob­lem-solv­ing abil­i­ties in chil­dren. Learn more in How Tech­nol­o­gy Changes the Way Chil­dren Pay Atten­tion and Think.

How Your Child Uses Technology Impacts Their Emotional Development

Is your child a Grumpy Gus? His (or her) tech­nol­o­gy habits may be to blame. Fam­i­lies who use smart­phones, tablets, or oth­er types of tech­nol­o­gy to soothe dis­rup­tive, bored, or upset chil­dren may find their chil­dren devel­op­ing unhealthy attach­ments to that tech. By divert­ing your child’s atten­tion to a device, you’re not giv­ing your child an oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn self-reg­u­la­tion or process dif­fi­cult emotions. 

We go into more of the ben­e­fits and down­sides of tech­nol­o­gy on children’s emo­tion­al devel­op­ment in Tech­nol­o­gy and Your Child’s Emo­tions.

Too Much Tech Can Be Bad for Your Child's Physical Health (But Not Always)

Will too much tech­nol­o­gy make my child obese? Like a lot of these con­cerns, that depends on the type of con­tent your child is inter­act­ing with dur­ing their screen time. Some con­tent, like the active videos in Jel­lies, encour­ages chil­dren to get up and move, try new activ­i­ties, and even get involved in sports. 

Most tech time, how­ev­er, is spent on the couch, in bed, or in an oth­er­wise seden­tary posi­tion. It’s up to par­ents to make sure chil­dren are inter­act­ing with top qual­i­ty tech con­tent and strik­ing a healthy bal­ance between tech time and active play­time. Get more info on tech­nol­o­gy and your child’s phys­i­cal devel­op­ment in Will Tech­nol­o­gy Make My Child Obese? (And Oth­er Phys­i­cal Devel­op­ment Con­cerns).

Want to Learn More?

Every week we pub­lish a new resource for par­ents on the Jel­lies blog. From mas­ter­ing your child’s screen time to know­ing what and when to post about your fam­i­ly on social media, there’s plen­ty of infor­ma­tion for the tech-mind­ed par­ent. Please reach out to us on Twit­ter or Face­book or send us a mes­sage if there’s any tech-relat­ed con­cerns or ques­tions you’d like us to research and answer.