Should back-to-school lists include mobile phones?
Watch above: What age is right to introduce kids to technology?
SASKATOON – Back-to-school lists used to be simpler; however, now parents have to decide whether or not to buy their children laptops, iPads and smartphones.
As a teacher, Connie Davis has researched social media and technology extensively and says if parents forbid their child’s use of smartphones and other mobile devices, it may curb their child’s learning experience.
“Forcing them to be disconnected and not teaching them how to be connected responsibly is not helping them out,” she explained.
“Teach them there is a time and a place and that the effective use of technology is a 21st century learning skill.”
Davis said there are many resources out there to help parents guide their children.
“It’s important for parents to know that it’s their job as well to monitor what the kids are doing on technology,” she said.
She explained MediaSmarts.ca and NetSmartz.org are two sites parents can visit to learn about how to keep their children safe online.
According to the Media Smarts organization, nearly a quarter of nine and 10-year-olds own a mobile device.
Greg Chatlain with Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division said it’s important for parents to know their child doesn’t need smartphones or other mobile devices to learn about technology.
“The schools try to provide all the technology and supports and tools that students need to learn, so there’s definitely no need for it. But many families like that security, and have it in their backpack. Something for them to use to communicate,” he explained.
Local schools continue to launch pilot programs that teach students about using technology and social media responsibly.
A new app, Halt, allows parents to monitor and filter what their kids see on social media.