Kids and Technology; how much is too much?

Posted 15/11/2019 by Keeleigh Harrild
Proud Mum Alert Blog #sorrynotsorry
This is not your normal post about children and screen or gadget time. As a mum to a 10 year old the same conversations happen daily, pretty much as soon as he comes out of school.  Can I go on the PS4? Can I have your phone? Can I have the iPad? It drives me bonkers. He would sit there for hours watching YouTube videos of people playing video games (why?!?!) if I let him.
Last week he came out of school and asked to use my laptop… first thoughts “Oh please no, not another thing to ask me about every afternoon!” Then he explained that he was going to work on a PowerPoint presentation for a school project. For starters, I wasn’t aware he knew what PowerPoint was and I was taken aback when he was quite quick to refuse my help when I offered. Over the weekend he had picked up the laptop a few times, with deep concentration each time and asked me not to look until it was finished. I did as I was asked even though I desperate to have a peek, to help him or give it a tweak if needed.
Sunday evening came and it was showtime! I closed my eyes and waited for him to set up and then he blew me away. His presentation was amazing, it had music, each page had detailed text and pictures that followed his theme, he had created unique page turning formats and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing from my 10 year old. The last slide said “Thank you for watching my presentation, I hope you enjoyed it” and played out to the sound of a clapping audience?!? Just wow.
How had he learnt how to use PowerPoint after watching a 2 minute video on YouTube? It does have a plus point here!
Alfie loves technology, but not just the screen and YouTube platforms. At the age of 4 he was taking apart a computer with his Dad, he has a mathematical brain and has created software code.  Like me he enjoys knowing the ins and outs of everything he is doing, we are not satisfied until we have asked loads of questions and completely understand the mechanisms and processes.
He wants to be a gamer; “right o” was my response. Then he went on “but let me finish mum, I want to be a gamer but before that I want to build the game, I want to learn how the game is put together and then I want to build a bigger and better game than ever before!”
So this brings me to question how much technology is too much technology for children? Are they really learning the basics and picking skills and knowledge up from YouTube? It seems so in Alfie’s case. I never did anything IT based at school until secondary school and it wasn’t much, the possibility of a technology career wasn’t made aware to me. Is technology now creeping up the ladder as career choice with our younger children?  I hope so, for Alfie’s sake.
I would love to hear your thoughts! Also tips on where to start with introducing Alfie to other technologies!


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