What our digital natives play on the mobile

This image is becoming more frequent: children sitting in a park playing each one with their cell phone, instead of running, talking, jumping or on the swings. And we can not avoid it, we are shocked by the way in which minors relate to computers and smartphones, and we ask ourselves:what our digital natives play on the mobile?

Adults, especially, we are surprised by the simple way they have to learn to master the different technological devices with a wide variety of applications. It is also true that an essential feature for the sale of computers and mobile phones is its simple, attractive and fun handling. However, despite this evidence, it does not stop surprising us. The truth is that they were born in the technological age and is part of their day to day both, in the school environment, as in the social and, of course, in the field of leisure and free time.

Many parents ask themselves innumerable questions that cause them uncertainty and concern about how the impact of ICT can be on their children: at what age is it advisable to expose a child to ICT? What can minors use computers or mobile phones for? How much time is your exposure recommended? Can children be prevented from accessing technological devices? Why is there an interest on the part of minors towards new technologies? How can the use of a technological device by a minor be controlled?

What interests children and adolescents on the mobile

First of all, it must be said that it is practically impossible to prevent a minor from accessing a mobile phone or a computer. It is also true that, although adolescents and children are inevitably attracted to some technological devices, the reason for which they are used is different.

1. Teenagers they feel comfortable sharing videos and photos of their plans on social networks, where friends make endless comments and click "likes" without limits.

2. Children between 3 and 8 years old they prefer apps to play and watch videos.

For some, it is impossible to prohibit them from using new technologies, but proper use and control by parents is the key to diminishing innumerable risks that may result from their inappropriate use: abuse, exposure to violent and / or sexual content, isolation, virtual bullying behavior, etc.

The pedagogy of new technologies

Many experts agree that new technologies, apart from their entertainment function, have an important pedagogical task: both children and adolescents can learn and develop their cognitive abilities through playful applications.

In fact, educational games through new technologies are triumphing because they are attractive, visual and intuitive, as they manage to arouse the interest of children and capture their attention with ease. They also use tablets or mobile phones that dominate perfectly.

Therefore, it is important that both parents and teachers know the advantages and disadvantages of new technologies depending on their use. On many occasions, parents leave their children in front of a computer or cell phone to have a "respite". In this way, you have to control what type of application you are using, its content and of course its duration. Of course, the objectives must be established by the parents and we must be the ones who evaluate the child's behavior and reaction. For this reason, limits must be set in relation to: "what", "why", "how much" and "how".

Types of digital content recommended by ages

It is interesting to know in general what kind of content is recommended for the child according to their age:

From 2 to 4 years old:

Minors who are between 2 and 4 years old have a relationship with ICT conditioned by their parents. Since they are the ones who teach themcartoon videos and photos. In this way, they can play with simple games, rich in colors and characters that transmit appropriate values. In this stage, parents have the maximum control over the use of new technologies by their children

5 to 7 years

In this stage parents begin to have feelings of anxiety and uncertainty as ICTs begin to play havoc in the daily lives of these children, who interact spontaneously with different home entertainment devices such as television, mobile phones, or video games.

As for the activities they usually do, they are usually cyclical and repetitive, since they always put the same television program, or the same game on the phone without any curiosity to explore more possibilities offered by the technological world.The supervision of parents at this stage is fundamental, whose objective should be to filter the content and learning of the child.

From 9 to 11 years old

In this stage, Minors are familiar with practically any device technological and dominate it bordering on perfection. Relationships with peers through ICT begin to awaken in a mild way, although nothing to do with how they will awaken in adolescence. Communication and negotiation are key to generating an environment of trust and raising situations in which minors can resolve their doubts and confusions.

As we see depending on the stage in which the child is, the parents must act in a concrete way. However, playing parents and children together is a good opportunity for all lets learn together. In this way, each one will contribute to the other their strengths: the children the illusion, the curiosity, the management of the technological means and the parents the judgment, the critical point, the logic of statements, the control of times, their duration and frequency . In this way, we will not only develop technological learning, but we will also feed the bond between parents and children.

Ángel Bernal Caravaca. Psychologist and Mediator Co-founder of Lomber Soluciones Cyberbullying.

Video: The Challenges of Raising a Digital Native | Devorah Heitner, Ph.D. | TEDxNaperville

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