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Digital media have many positives for kids | MercatorNet | July 19, 2017 | MercatorNet |

Digital media have many positives for kids

| MercatorNet | July 19, 2017 | MercatorNet |

Digital media have many positives for kids

We need to help them use it in a critical and balanced way.
Fabrizio Piciarelli | Jul 19 2017 | comment 

Daily life is now unthinkable without the latest technologies. Smartphones, tablets, PCs have become as indispensable and necessary as a wallet or housekeys. Who, if they forget their cell phone in the morning, doesn’t go home to fetch it?
This close relationship with technology involves everyone: adults, adolescents and even young children. Indeed, everyone usually associates young people first with new technologies, because youth has always been synonymous with novelty and modernity. And common sense isn’t wrong. Young people indeed are often the main users of digital media.
Teens really do spend most of their free time with the new technologies: they play and have fun with video games, search for information they need on the internet, develop and maintain social relationships on social networks, and communicate with their friends and relatives via cell phones. Traditional media such as television, radio and newspapers, often become confined to a dark corner of their free time.
But there is not only the playful and social aspect. New technologies also offer young people plenty of opportunities for development and learning. Just think of the high school or university student who uses the internet to search for information, write papers or do research, or learn new concepts and notions, often integrating what they find in books.
Children and new technologies: stimulating their learning
This doesn’t just apply to teenagers, but also children, whom experts now call digital natives because they are born with a feeding bottle in one hand and a tablet in the other.
The new technology can assist their development. Specific apps and websites can help toddlers develop their creativity and intuition. There is a large variety of online games for young children, often also free, that facilitate learning.
Technology can create great moments of fun, growth, interaction and even create bonds between parents and their children To better understand, maybe you will be useful to reread our articles the 10 best kids apps on iPad and iPhone and Children and tablet mania.
In general, children perceive technology as something positive, essentially because it is related to fun. It makes them smile. A child with a tablet in his hands is a playful and smiling baby.
Of course, we must encourage the child's self-control in the use of technology as much as possible. Educating your children to self-mastery at this age is crucial to their development and growth process.
Teens and New Technologies: encouraging a critical sense
Let's return to teenagers, and do away with a stereotype produced by some rigid and uncompromising parents and educators: yes, technology can be useful to teens. It should never be denied or demonized. What is essential is knowing how to use it in a balanced way, without encouraging dependencies and excesses. 
In our daily relationship with digital media it is not so important to know about them and how to use them perfectly from a technical and operational point of view. Rather, we need to develop a responsible attitude, analysis and criticism. We must not be merely passive users, but active, attentive and aware. Here are five useful tips for all kids (but also for adults) to improve our relationship with new technologies.
 Always use credible sources of information: Opening and reading a webpage does not always mean finding reliable and true information. The Internet is not an idyllic world where truth is king. You need to know how to select the sites you want to draw from and to see if they offer partial, independent and truly reliable information.
 Analyze topics: Navigating on the Net should never prevail prejudices and emotions on analysis and reason. You have to understand the arguments in depth. Often it is also useful to make comparisons between the various contents found, and then do an analysis. You must avoid the purely ideological and phased arguments and those without valid analysis and reasoning.
Ask yourself questions and get answers: in front of any online content, whether it's an article or a post on a social network, it is always worth asking yourself why it was written. What is the underlying idea? Is it a fair statement, or a good example to follow? What is good and what is bad? Let's not stop asking questions, but let's get answers too. It is a good habit to develop a sense of analysis and reasoning.
Keep an open mind: we all have our ideas and our prejudices, it is true. But on the internet it is important to get used to reading and to considering opinions and ideas other than ours -- if they are valid and reasonable -- to improve and stimulate our own minds. An example: read foreign language sites. It's an effective way to improve your language skills, also to learn about the culture, politics, society and traditions of other countries.
Always seek alternatives to technology: the internet and all digital media must not be our sole source of information and distraction. On the internet, for example, we can easily find so many sites where we can see free streaming of good movies. However, nothing can ever replace the emotion, warmth, sensory and social experience of going to see a good movie with a good friend.
Fabrizio Piciarelli is the online editor of Family and Media. This article is a slightly edited version of the original and is republished with permission.


July 19, 2017

Most of us are pretty good at seeing what other people are getting wrong, but not very good at seeing what we ourselves are not getting right. Just keeping our principles intact is not really enough. Just correcting other people’s ideas is not enough either. If it were, Christians would not be losing the marriage debate because, goodness knows, we have said enough about this subject.
In an interview conducted by Peter Jon Mitchell for our friends at the Canadian think tank Cardus Family, British psychologist Glynn Harrison says Christians have to tell “a better story about God, sex and human flourishing” (the title of his new book). But having a better story to tell would not get us very far unless we were living it, he suggests.
Living the Christian story about marriage and family: there’s a challenge for all of us.
Moving from the sublime to the weird – the article below about zombie film-maker George A. Romero, who died this week, is by special request of Michael Cook, who is a fan of the genre. I am sure this is not for any trivial reason, but it is something he will have to explain himself sometime.

Carolyn Moynihan 
Deputy Editor, 

Responding to the sexual revolution
By Peter Jon Mitchell
Finding a Christian counter-narrative.
Read the full article
The radicalism of reading
By Eileen L. Wittig
From Socrates to the smartphone, the story just keeps getting better.
Read the full article
How George A. Romero made humans of violent brain-devouring zombies
By Xavier Aldana Reyes
His dead will walk among us for many years to come.
Read the full article
Digital media have many positives for kids
By Fabrizio Piciarelli
We need to help them use it in a critical and balanced way.
Read the full article
Grandfather and goose face-off
By Jon Dykstra
An entertaining classic
Read the full article
Why the Chinese Communist Party ‘murdered’ Liu Xiaobo
By Steven W. Mosher
China's most famous dissident questioned the Party-State's 'bellicose nationalism'.
Read the full article
Jane Austen 200 years on
By Lizzie Rogers
Why we still love her heroes, heroines and houses.
Read the full article
The decline of Europe
By Shannon Roberts
Can you maintain political power without people?
Read the full article

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