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Monday, September 16, 2013

The Importance of Exposing Kids to Technology

Your children won't be kids forever. When they decide on careers, they'll have to compete in an arena with other young adults who are tech savvy. How many typists do you see in the workplace these days, or typewriter repairmen, or switchboard operators for that matter? Understanding how to use emerging technologies is a key advantage in the workplace. That won't be changing any time soon. The more comfortable your kids are with technology today, the better equipped they'll be to function in the world of tomorrow.

Think about the ways technology has changed the world in the last five years. Consider the pace of those changes. It's staggering. Now imagine how new technologies will transform the way your children live in 10, 15 or 20 years. One of the tasks educators are faced with is preparing children for the technological advancements they may encounter not just today but in the future, too. The downside is that finding the right mix of methods and just keeping up can be a big challenge. The upside is that the very technology educators are trying to keep pace with is creating new ways to make teaching more immediate, interesting and varied. Is the U.S. educational system experiencing growing pains because of new advancements in technology? It is, but so is almost every other sector of society.

Preparing for the future isn't the only consideration. Your kids are part of the new information age this very minute. They keep in touch with friends and family using social networking. They make videos on the fly and expect instant access to information. According to a Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism survey, 65 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds rely on the Internet as their main source of news. It's also estimated that 75 percent of kids 12 to 17 have their own cell phones. Here's another point to ponder: According to a Kaiser Family Foundation Study, children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend over seven and a half hours every day using electronic media devices like computers, TVs and cell phones.

The world is changing, and technology is driving much of that change. To be prepared, children need to have a working understanding of current technologies and a high level of confidence in their ability to master newer and more complex tools. That way, they'll be in a better position to tackle practical challenges, and recognize the amazing opportunities, they'll be faced with in the years ahead.

By Sara Elliott

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