Liz Pearce, Director of Parent Engagement
Children’s Museum of Richmond
When children start asking questions about how airplanes fly, or how telescopes work, sometimes we can start to feel intimidated, and that we should have all the answers. If you find yourself reaching for your smartphone, check this out: The pros over at the U.S. Department of Education said it best,
“What’s far more important than being able to give a technical explanation of how a telescope works is your willingness to nurture your child’s natural curiosity by taking the time to observe and learn together.” That builds critical thinking skills!
Technology has changed our world in untold ways, but when it comes to building the architecture of our children’s brains, we’ll be better served if we stop checking our email every 10 minutes and start checking on our kids. A recent article, titled “The Perils of Texting While Parenting” in the Wall Street Journal states, “Nonfatal injuries to children under age five rose 12% between 2007 and 2010, after falling for much of the prior decade, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on emergency-room records.”
Our smartphones and devices may be at fault. Sociologist Clifford Nass of Stanford University has found that people who stare at a device take a while to refocus. He says that doing so while supervising a child, even if a parent regularly looks up, would make the parent more likely to miss the kind of warning signs that frequently precede a mishap. Playground accidents, for example, often are the result of a sequence of events, such as climbing too high on a jungle gym. "What mobile technologies do is essentially remove you from the situation," he says. "The ability to anticipate problems is much more reduced." Consider the latest new of injuries to distracted walkers, which have more than quadrupled in the past seven years**
What Should Parents Do?
“The Perils of Texting While Parenting” http://on.wsj.com/SMwAUh
** “Distracted pedestrians stumble into danger” http://www.kob.com/article/stories/S2708641.shtml