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Are You a High-Tech or a Low-Tech Parent?

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Technology is a big dilemma we all face when it comes to parenting: how much is too much? What kind of parental controls are best? What skills will they need in the future – and how many of those can technology help you learn? It’s especially tricky because there are no examples to compare against – we can’t even refer to our own experiences, because technology was nowhere near as big a part of daily life during our childhoods. So, do you stock the latest in travel gear and learning tech, or do you keep them entertained with simple activities like card tricks for kids?

How Do They Play?

First up, which kinds of toys do you encourage your child to play with: sophisticated robotic pets that also become friends or the simple classics like cards, which teach sleight of hand?

High-Tech option: Robotic pets, from swimming goldfish to robotic dinosaurs that “eat”, roar and take naps. Some are essentially fluffy robotic pet substitutes, sometimes with an impressive level of artificial intelligence, that can help kids learn through interactive games, as well as adapting to their likes and dislikes. However, because you can always turn them off on demand, they don’t help your child build empathy and connection the same way a live pet would.

Low-Tech option: Learning card tricks for kids. These can help develop numeracy skills, speed and dexterity. Playing with friends can also develop social skills such as leadership and communication. If you have a budding magician in the house, get them started with some simple card tricks for kids from here.

How Do They Learn?

With technology increasingly part of the curriculum in schools, when is it too soon to introduce your child to technology, and will it help them understand the increasingly complex world around them any better than simple, age-old learning tools?

High-Tech: Programming toys. Investing in robotic devices that explore simple programming skills, like giving instructions and basic coding, can give your child an edge when it comes to computing. These toys are designed to give them a deeper understanding of technology than just the attractive screen we usually see.

Low-Tech: Blocks. Colourful building blocks can actually help younger kids improve much more than just spatial awareness: studies have shown that they can help little ones solve computation problems and use a number line, developing logical skills and numeracy.

How Do They Travel?

Many people see themselves as a mix of both high-tech and low-tech parent, and nowhere is this more apparent than travel, where high-tech solutions are often embraced alongside lower-tech ones.

High-Tech: Convertible buggies, like the OmniO rider, which can fold from rucksack to buggy and back in seconds. It’s designed to save on hassle and time.

Low-Tech: Slings. These are especially good when they’re very young, and like to be kept close to mummy or daddy. It’ll also keep them at just the right temperature.

Whether you adopt a high or low-tech parenting style really comes down to personal choice, and ultimately I believe most parents have to work on a trial and error basis when searching for the best balance for their little ones.

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May 14, 2015