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When Technology becomes a family friend. Can it be good?

Technology has made the world “smaller”, making it easy to know what is happening continents away. We now have access to more information than at any other time in history. This includes information about other people, places, new scientific discoveries and ideas different from our own. But how can it be made to good use only?

Give your kids opportunities to explore and learn about the world beyond their backyard. Encourage your teen to get involved in good causes online and through social media; tell them that they are free to get on social media but the criteria is that you MUST have their passwords. You could even share yours so they see that you are open enough (be sure you are clean though)......this goes a long way! Remind your kids that there are also wonderful ways to get involved in communities and causes locally.

Teachers have a role to play in this (especially in schools that have access to some technology). They could expose their students to the use of technology by using it in classrooms and opening forums where they can share assignments, group work and course discussions. This helps to open up a world of the good use of technology to children especially teenagers. I feel that exposing children to all of the technology that we have to offer to them is a good thing--as long as the children understand HOW that technology works and HOW that technology is improving their lives.

For example, a student must first learn what 2 + 2 is and how to compute 2 + 2, manually, before they should be allowed to use the calculator to do the arithmetic for them. ( I am NOT saying a student should or even needs to use the calculator to compute 2 + 2, I just used 2 + 2 as an example). As long as the student can understand and know what the calculator is doing for them, then using the calculator is a beneficial tool but must be used sparingly and only when needed. The calculator allows the student to focus on the bigger picture at hand, such as solving an equation, and does not have them tired down on the arithmetic.

It's here to stay, it's part of their generation. Parents have a huge role to play in guiding and educating their children about the pitfalls of the Internet. It's necessary to start children's education in this area.

Parents should control access to computers and phones etc. of their children. Parents also have the responsibility to learn about these new technologies and social network sites in particular, otherwise they will be extremely baffled by how technology and social network sites work and what they offer - especially in terms of security. Without this knowledge the parents cannot possibly control and help their children.

Parents need to set conditions of use and rules for these devices and one I condition in particular should be this-  that at any time, I (the parent) must have total access to the phone or computer. If not, the device WILL be confiscated. This is to offer protection from materials that may have been sent by third parties, which children have no control over. One study shows that the highest percentage of how students learn to use technology is by  them learning its use by themselves. Nobody needs to teach them, they will use it whether we like it or not! So, I suggest you get on the train and use it alongside them.