A young mind is a fragile and developing mind, thus it is important that parents find the perfect balance not just in terms of their time their children play outside or sit in front of their computer, but also what their children are doing on their computers and devices.
I myself had the privilege of having access to a computer from a very young age and today computers play a big part in my career, ambition and success – although a big part of that had a lot to do with the balance I found between playing games and surfing the web. This was not the only interest I had in computers I wanted to understand the machine, I wanted to build and work on it to create a super computer for myself. My focus did shift online later in life.
While I can tell you many tales about weird, awkward me as a child growing up in Keetmanshoop, but this is not the point of the article. What is important to understand is that I found a perfect balance between playing games and further exploring computers; I struggled to find a balance between computers and the real life, thus leading me to be socially awkward which led into adulthood. I constantly found myself frustrated, angry and thought that the real world was holding me back. Eventually with great mentors that focused on my skills rather than my social awkwardness thus pushing me to greatness and for that I cannot thank them enough.
Even until today I still find myself in awkward social encounters; however with age I’ve managed to embrace the awkwardness and not let it stop me. So yes, in my opinion it’s extremely important that children be encouraged to embrace social encounters rather than hide from them.
As important as it is for you to find a balance for your child between social interactions and computer usage – it is also important that children do not spend all of their time on computers playing games or suringf the web, but rather explore the computer and/or device and find out how the device, software and internet itself works.
So next time instead of tossing aside an old computer or device, give it to your child and let them take it apart and build it back together. Ask them to install a new operating system, encourage them to take the device apart and try to reassemble it. I use to assemble my own computer when I was younger, true I did break my fair share of computers but each time I learned a valuable lesson. Why not get your children to try and break the internet? :-)
If your children are too young to break-apart and reassemble computers and devices you can use devices and computers to help your children improve their problem solving skills. There are several games (on- and off-line) today that teach your children about solar energy, puzzles, lego’s, etc. that will encourage problem solving. Lego’s were the building blocks for me and what encouraged me to even think about opening up a computer to see what is inside and try to figure out if I could build my own super computer. My mother got rather angry with me as I erased her hard drive and fried her motherboard, but so did many other parents, in the end of the day I am happy that I learned a valuable skill and my mom now has FREE technical support for life.
With that said, please as parents just ensure that you inform yourself about some of the dangers that can be found online. You don’t want your children to be socially awkward or addicted to their device like many children and grown-ups already are, or have mental health issues due too over excessive use of social media, as explained in a recent study done in the UK.
Please feel free to contact me or comment below if you would like to continue this discussion in more detail. Also if you liked this article remember what you teach your children – sharing is caring – so please share this article. Thanks :-)