Teacher Talks: Three Terrific Tips for Healthy Tech Time
In the latest edition of our Teacher Talks series, YCIS Beijing primary school ICT teacher, Alana Elias, discusses how parents can help their children develop responsible computer usage habits and promote cyber safety.
Developing Problem Solving Skills
I think independence is a vital trait to instill in children. We often find that there are many children who cannot or have not developed problem solving skills because there is always someone on hand who can come can fix the issue for them. With ICT class, it is one of them main skills we try to develop so that when a student encounters a problem they are able to find a solution on their own. I encourage parents to encourage and guide their children to solve a problem on their own instead of immediately taking over and fixing the issue for them.
Encouraging Cyber Safety
I noticed that when my students began their ICT studies, many of them were unfamiliar with the concept of cyber safety. I use the metaphor that the internet is like a huge park that you are exploring on your own. While there are many good things online, there are also many dangers. We spend a lot of time during the first 5 to 6 weeks of ICT class educating students that they should never interact with strangers who approach them on the internet. Parents need to be aware of what their child are doing online and should try to become involved in their computing activities. Sometimes children inadvertently engage in activities that can lead to trouble and affect them deeply on an emotional level; usually, it is exposure to cyberbullying. Telltale signs are that the child is unusually upset or there is some difference in their behavior. Cyberbullying has just as much an effect on a child mentally as real world bullying. Parents must be vigilant when their child is on the internet and communicate with them about what they are doing on their computer.
Taking a Break from Screens
While the internet and computers offer a wealth of information, it has been proven that too much screen time has adverse effects on a child’s physical health, including a child’s posture, eyesight, mental state, etc. These effect build up over time and can have serious long term consequences. If the child really wants to use their electronic devices for extended periods, make sure there are breaks. Every 20 – 30 minutes, encourage the child to walk away from the screen, giving them a chance to stretch and rest their eyes. If possible, take the time do an activity together. Go for a walk to the local shop, ask for help preparing food, or do some simple exercises. These activities will not only help strengthen your relationship, but also give your child’s body a chance to relax and move around away from an electronic device.
It is important to encourage these healthy habits for our children to make sure that they are safe, independent, happy, and healthy!
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