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Smart Media Choices for Learning at Home

In today’s world, the distance learning scenario is not a new concept anymore. The digital world, in which our children are growing up, is new to us and we must slowly learn how to live in it. Surrounded with information, we can easily discover what works for children and what does not. As parents, caregivers, teachers, and school leaders we are now better prepared with the help of technology to support children in their social, emotional, and academic growth during the pandemic.

In this ever-changing digital landscape, it is important to embrace digitization and as parents, we play an important role in incorporating these skills within our children. Also, we should teach them to make safe choices when it comes to the media and technology.

Initiating frequent, comfortable, and open conversations with your child about online behaviour is crucial. Remember never to blame or shame a child about their online choices. Conduct a healthy discussion with your family about the values, and establish your own family rules regarding online use.

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What as a parent you can do to make smart media choices?           

Make your children familiar with various cyber safety issues and simultaneously be involved in a way that makes your kid understand that you respect their privacy and want to ensure they are safe. As a parent, we have the power to find the shows, games and apps that will help them. Good media will surely engage the children mentally and help them grow a new skill. It does not just feed the children with repetitive tasks followed by cheers, confetti and balloons, rather makes them thoughtful. It also helps your child to discover something new daily. Children should not only learn to plan their daily activities, but also learn how to manage their free time.

What are smart devices?

Smart devices use a combination of data and sophisticated software calculations so that they can execute what you want them to do. They can grab advice from a variety of sources, including human voices, sensors that monitor the environment, biometrics like thumbprints and faces, and apps. According to a survey, it has been observed that children, on an average, spend nine hours online which in turn makes them cranky, entitled, left out and jealous. In such situations, they should be exposed to music, fun activities, TED talks and cute puppy videos, besides allowing them time to keep in touch with friends and plan in-real-life gatherings. 

We need to educate ourselves but not scare our children or monitor them 24/7, rather we should focus on healthy socialization, effective self-regulation and safety. We should cultivate social media wellness among our children, regardless of the current trends.

Make informed decision on your choices:

 There are innumerable great resources available online for parents and teachers to utilize in order to help make informed decisions regarding the types of music, books, movies, magazines, apps, software, television, websites, video games, and even toys for their children. These resources provide comprehensive information on the popular media including the information about the appropriate age of use, pricing, rating and a detailed review. There are more than 80,000 apps which are labelled as educational, but a little research demonstrates their actual quality. Check for age appropriate apps to guide yourself and make the best choices for your children.

Now, smart devices specifically need your data to customize as per your needs, hence, at some point, things get out of your control. Thus, parents should make children aware of such facts related to smart devices and facilitate wiser decisions and responsible use of technology.

How social media helps in learning:

Becoming an integral part of our daily life, social media and technology are incorporated to support educational development.  It can be used to further a child’s studies, careers, or even their peer relationships. Students benefit by getting help in writing papers, researching or even receiving a quick brush up on their grammar. The availability of career resources enables students to feel ready to tackle the job hunt after graduation. Social media helps in conducting online classes to train students and provides a smoother, more direct communication between students, teachers and the parents.  The use of social media can be optimized by encouraging children to question themselves regarding the efficient use of the media. Does spending time on social media make them feel energized or drained? Such questions help them to reflect on the values taught and also slow them down on being impulsive.

Media as a learning source:

One cannot deny the fact that we learn more from the media than any other single source of information. It is nearly impossible to comprehend the amount of media that surrounds our children. They are usually the targets of 360 degree marketing. While some messages may be entertaining or harmless, others can be devastatingly harmful. Children need skills to enable them to evaluate what they see, watch and read. Encourage your children to tell you what they learn from the content they consume daily; Question them to discuss the media they view. Through these approaches, you can make media learning smart and productive. 

Conclusion:

Smart media devices, if used moderately and appropriately, can be of great benefits. Research has shown that face-to-face time with family, friends, and teachers plays a pivotal role in promoting children’s learning and healthy development. Moreover, in today’s world, when we are in the midst of a pandemic, learning through these sources is the best way to educate our children. At the same time, though, we must keep our children well-informed and cyber safe.