On April 8, the Waterloo Region District School Board's Parent Involvement Committee in conjunction with WRAPSC volunteers organized a free community conference based on the theme of empowering students with parent engagement. For the first time ever, I presented with my mom, Susan. We had an awesome time sharing with a community audience that attended our two 90 minute sessions called, Nurturing Children's Interests. I know how important it is to have my mom's ongoing support for everything that I've been interested in. Having the chance to talk about what I've been able to do with my passion for ocean conservation and endangered marine animals since I started down this path at age 6 has been really something super fun and rewarding.
During our sessions, I noticed a reoccurring theme -- parents commented that their children might be spending too much time with technology - iPads, tablets, smartphones, video games. "They should be doing something else." and "What can we do to help them get away from technology?"
There is a fine line between spending to much time doing any one activity. We invited attendees to watch or join in with their child to see and experience what held their interest so much. We also asked parents to talk to their children in age appropriate ways to learn about time management and prioritization. There can be time for video games and other leisure activities once the daily tasks and homework are complete. These messages support the development of important life skills.
While some parents might struggle with how much their kids are using technology, there are many great ways to use it for learning opportunities. There are helpful websites such as FunBrain.com that provide online educational games. There are many YouTube video such as KhanAcademy.org to help you learn anything!
I know that my research on the website kids.nationalgeographic.com has been instrumental in fostering what I know about marine and ocean conservation.
Technology is here to stay. There are good aspects to it as well as some that can prove quite harmful. It is all about understanding and finding the balance that works for your child and for your family.
Expressing your concerns to your child in age appropriate ways can start an important conversation that prevents kids from shutting down or feeling rejected. Who knows, you may find some of these websites of interest too!
Keep the conversation going and be aware of judging statements and presenting your agenda instead of listening and asking questions. You never know where a child's interest may lead them. Anything is possible. Keep believing because children are not only our future, but they are our present.
"We never know the worth of water till the well is dry." ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732