Back to School Advice for Parents of Elementary Students

concerns over technology use

Back to school means children will be seeing their friends again and entering the world of learning for another year. For parents, it means a more regimented schedule, homework, lots of news from children, and talk of their day at school.

At this age, children love to talk. They can’t wait to share their day at school with their parents. They will tell you about their high points and their low points. They will tell you about their new friends, and how they like their teacher. Enjoy this time. Listen to them, relish their enthusiasm, show your interest in their lives. After elementary school, children will be less likely to open to you. Do not be too busy for your children. Put away cell phones, and devices. Do not worry about social media. Do not open that email, it can wait. Your children are more important, let them know they have your undivided attention.

No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.                      Hebrews 12:11 (CSB)

Avoid the temptation to give your children, at this age, a cell phone or other electronic devices.

Myth:  It’s the 21st century. This is the way of the future. If children do not have experience with electronics, they will be left behind.

Truth: Electronic devices and cell phones are not toys for children, they are tools for adults, there is a difference. A nail gun is a tool for carpenters, it is not a toy you would give your children. A syringe is a tool for doctors and nurses, it is not a toy you would give your children. Even the creators and designers at Silicon Valley understand this and most do not allow their children to have these devices at a young age. Software and computer programs are created in such a simple fashion to understand it requires almost no training to use.

Myth: Schools are using computers and devices for education. It must be the best way for children to learn.

Truth: Research has found children who use computers for learning typically score lower than children who use books, paper and pencil. Computers are not a “learning tool” they are a distraction from learning. Many of the “educational programs” contain more entertainment than educational material. Learning is a process which requires concentration, it requires thought and effort. Learning is not entertainment.

Schools are often given access to free programs for a period of time as a “trial”. Gifted salesmen present these programs as guaranteed to raise test scores and make learning fun. They tout the ease with which students can learn the programs, and work independently, while the teacher focuses on students having difficulties. The truth is these programs have very little educational value. They have become games where children make guesses and never work through problems, teachers have become reliant on these games and lack the skills to see the struggles of many students.

Myth: If all the other children have cell phones and devices, who am I to question that? After all, this many people cannot be wrong.

Truth: Children with cell phones and devices often have emotional and mental problems later in their teens. Popular apps and social media have led children to rush growing up, to have low self-esteem, and to feel they are not good enough. Children do not have the life experiences to understand much of social media is not real, they measure themselves by what they see online. Let children be children. You and your children may be frowned upon now, but later, as teens, children without access to these devices tend to have fewer emotional and mental problems. They tend to have less depression, are less likely to become sexually active at an early age and are less likely to become addicted to drugs.

Myth: Children using devices and cell phones are safe in their rooms working and talking to friends. “I know where they are what they are doing”.

Truth: Even when children are in their rooms online. Parents rarely know who they are talking to or what they are doing. Pedophiles are lurking on apps for children, posing as children, claiming to be their friends. They are experienced in luring children to reveal their private information and pictures of themselves. Additionally, children are becoming innocent victims of viewing graphic sexual and violent content with the simple click of the wrong link. Once seen, these images cannot be unseen. Innocence cannot be regained, once lost. Protect your children from the predators wanting to control them.

Myth: “My children have asked for cell phones for birthdays and Christmas. They will be disappointed if they don’t get them.”

Truth: They may be disappointed for a short time. You and your time spent together is much more important. When Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple, did not allow his own children to have devices, it should be an example to all of us. He knew they were not safe or beneficial for his children. Why would you put your children in danger, when the creators of these devices understood these were not safe. People who purchase these just because their children want them are playing into the hands of big tech and lining the pockets of these executives. Follow their example and avoid purchasing cell phones and devices for your children as long as possible. You will later be glad you did.

Avoid the temptation to give your children, at this age, a cell phone or other electronic devices.

Myth:  It’s the 21st century. This is the way of the future. If children do not have experience with electronics, they will be left behind.

Truth: Electronic devices and cell phones are not toys for children, they are tools for adults, there is a difference. A nail gun is a tool for carpenters, it is not a toy you would give your children. A syringe is a tool for doctors and nurses, it is not a toy you would give your children. Even the creators and designers at Silicon Valley understand this and most do not allow their children to have these devices at a young age. Software and computer programs are created in such a simple fashion to understand it requires almost no training to use.

Myth: Schools are using computers and devices for education. It must be the best way for children to learn.

Truth: Research has found children who use computers for learning typically score lower than children who use books, paper and pencil. Computers are not a “learning tool” they are a distraction from learning. Many of the “educational programs” contain more entertainment than educational material. Learning is a process which requires concentration, it requires thought and effort. Learning is not entertainment.

Schools are often given access to free programs for a period of time as a “trial”. Gifted salesmen present these programs as guaranteed to raise test scores and make learning fun. They tout the ease with which students can learn the programs, and work independently, while the teacher focuses on students having difficulties. The truth is these programs have very little educational value. They have become games where children make guesses and never work through problems, teachers have become reliant on these games and lack the skills to see the struggles of many students.

Myth: If all the other children have cell phones and devices, who am I to question that? After all, this many people cannot be wrong.

Truth: Children with cell phones and devices often have emotional and mental problems later in their teens. Popular apps and social media have led children to rush growing up, to have low self-esteem, and to feel they are not good enough. Children do not have the life experiences to understand much of social media is not real, they measure themselves by what they see online. Let children be children. You and your children may be frowned upon now, but later, as teens, children without access to these devices tend to have fewer emotional and mental problems. They tend to have less depression, are less likely to become sexually active at an early age and are less likely to become addicted to drugs.

Myth: Children using devices and cell phones are safe in their rooms working and talking to friends. “I know where they are what they are doing”.

Truth: Even when children are in their rooms online. Parents rarely know who they are talking to or what they are doing. Pedophiles are lurking on apps for children, posing as children, claiming to be their friends. They are experienced in luring children to reveal their private information and pictures of themselves. Additionally, children are becoming innocent victims of viewing graphic sexual and violent content with the simple click of the wrong link. Once seen, these images cannot be unseen. Innocence cannot be regained, once lost. Protect your children from the predators wanting to control them.

Myth: “My children have asked for cell phones for birthdays and Christmas. They will be disappointed if they don’t get them.”

Truth: They may be disappointed for a short time. You and your time spent together is much more important. When Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple, did not allow his own children to have devices, it should be an example to all of us. He knew they were not safe or beneficial for his children. Why would you put your children in danger, when the creators of these devices understood these were not safe. People who purchase these just because their children want them are playing into the hands of big tech and lining the pockets of these executives. Follow their example and avoid purchasing cell phones and devices for your children as long as possible. You will later be glad you did.

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