Welcome to Cyberwellness Guides! In this page, we'll be looking at four broad areas technology, social networks, media, and games. For each post, I'll look at a breaking fad that our children and/or students might be into, and why you should be interested in some small way, I hope to help us bridge the digital divide and help us dinosaurs understand the natives better. Do comment on any questions you may have or what you'd like to see covered.
Improvement over Achievement.
As you read this, we are midway through the PSLE, and the SA2 will soon be upon us. A common refrain from parents at this time is how they reduce their children’s screen time, or even confiscate the devices in the interim. Whether they are returned would then depend on the grades the child produces.
This actually can be a good time to examine how family life can be like without the perpetual spectre of one-i-ed monster - the iPad - overshadowing all other constructive hobbies. Life can actually be more fulfilling and well-rounded if other activities play a bigger part.
Another thing to consider is the unintended link of the child’s self-worth to his results. Many parents set unrealistic goals for their children. A fairer reward system would be linked to improvement. For example, a child could be assessed on how much the child has improved from his previous test. To account for differing test difficulty, the school could publish the mean of the level on the two tests, so parents could meaningfully see if their children are improving.
As you can see, this change of mindset is required both by the school, to be more transparent with data, and the parents, to move away from over-simplistic metrics and over-ambitious targets. If we can all do this, the child could work towards unlocking rewards in the form of activities not involving devices. Then everybody wins.
Thank you for reading. Do comment below on questions you may have, or what you’d like to see covered. I look forward to hearing from you. Stay tuned for the next post!
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Too Much, Too Soon?
At the recent visit by Deputy Director-General of Education to our school, she opined off-handedly that children should own phones only from secondary school onwards. I tend to agree with her. How ironic that these devices purport to strengthen their child academically, but come at the expense of social skills and self-management.
These days, it is not uncommon to see toddlers in strollers staring into devices instead of observing the world around them. At mealtimes, their food is supplemented by a digital diet of an iPad endlessly entertaining them, while they chew on. Instead, parents should eschew these distractions and teach their children to be mindful of the here and now, whether it's the wonders of nature or the conversation at the table.
These has real ramifications for educators. While there is no concrete link, children addicted to incessant stimulation might find school learning experience a comparative drag. A vicious circle is enacted, where school is always playing catch up with the breakneck digital pace outside.
But this gap need not be such a chasm, provided parents have the discipline to ensure age-appropriate entertainment for their children, for reasonable durations. if we do this, everybody wins.
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