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Should We Give Our Children Smartphones and Tablets for Christmas?

Is Digital technology a Good Thing for Children?
Chocolate, food, trips to see granny move aside. The number one present for Christmas or New Year for children is a smartphone or tablet these days, and has been for a long time.

Is this good or bad? Are we parents simply making use of high tech to keep our children quiet, or are we providing them with educational tools? Joining me to talk about this is Warren Buckleitner, Ph.D. Editor of Children's Technology Review.

Dr Buckleitner argues that the new technology is not really as bad as we often make it out to be, it is the software – or how we use it – that we have to be careful about. He maintains that he is glad that his children have gotten to use gadgets at a young age, so that they can get used to them. But it is up to parents to control how much they use them.

This is where the argument breaks down, because once hooked up to these gadgets it is in fact very difficult to ‘unhook’ oneself. Dr Buckleitner counter agues that many software programmes do actually encourage, not hamper cognitive thinking. The other main drawback is that new communication devices tend to prevent face-to-face communication. Dr Buckleitner’s answer to this is that we are the first generation to see our children grow up with this kind of technology. We are biased against it, like people usually are against new trends. However, people will still talk to each other and perhaps the new gadgets will actually encourage this, in time.

We shall see. In the meantime, you as parents, have to decide. Good luck, and Happy Christmas!

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