What Kids Do on Tablets
Ten years ago, kids were growing up in a world very different than now. In the last decade, tablets and smartphones have gone from luxury devices to essential gadgets of everyday life.
In these digital days is hard not to see people glued to their tablets. The impact of the technology nowadays is changed the way families function. Parents rely on information gathered from the technology devices in every aspect of life. The family gatherings are now replaced by staring at the screens in quiet.
Kids are affected, too. A research has shown that kids spend around 7.5 hours a day on entertainment technology. Playing basketball outside all day, riding a bike or building castles for your dolls are now in the past. Tablets and other smart devices are now on the kids’ wish-lists.
And while many parents worry that time spent on these devices can affect negatively social and communication skills, we all can agree that technology has developed to be also creative, educational and to offer kids wide variety of possibilities to learn things. By choosing the right apps parents can use tablets to prepare their kids for school, practice their academic skills or just keep them entertained.
It comes as no surprise that kids most frequently use their tablets to play games. They are handy and kids can play in the comfort of their beds. Even 50% of tablet users spend their screen time playing games.
This is not as bad as it sometimes looks. Playing games boosts kids’ memory. Also, they improve the eye coordination and are good for the overall cognitive health. Moreover, games relief stress and reduce the rates of depression.
Games can be used as a social outlet as well, enabling kids who are lonely to have some interaction. A great number of them split their time to other methods of entertainment such as watching movies or listening to music.
A quarter of their screen time is mostly used for communication, checking e-mail, chatting on Facebook or Instagramming. Interacting through social media can allow kids to communicate with family members that are away or if they move away they can easily stay in touch with their old friends.
For the youngest, tablets offer communication even before they know how to read or write. Video-calling gives kids an opportunity to establish communication in connection from the youngest age. That is why this tool is amongst most used tablet activities.
Approximately 15% of the time spend on a tablet is used for creating contents such as videos, blogs, game modding, fan fiction writing or remixing and mashups. The process of creating content increases a child’s sense of creativity and personal success. Publishing their work increases their confidence as a way of self-expression.
Not less important, creating and sharing content improves kids’ digital literacy such as using digital software programs, apps, and platforms. Technology will be a great part of kids’ life so it’s important to develop an aptitude for it.
Many types of research have shown that tablets can be great learning tools. For the youngest users of a tablet, learning is happening through games. Many of them incorporate maths, language, science, arts and crafts and music which offer a great balance between, playing and learning.
Kids seem to be most actively engaged in highly visual games. For example, kids that used tablets for few months were more likely to be ranked at “proficient” or “advanced” levels of learning. Moreover, 42% of the kids use tablets also when they want to expand their world view. They pay visits to virtual museums, access information about other countries and cities. They watch educational videos and download craft projects.
Young learners make the most use of the E-readers which, unlike the traditional textbooks, aren’t quickly outdated. They have real-time updates and kids can use them immediately. Not less important, tablets far less expensive than traditional textbooks (a school in Wisconsin replaced 80 biology books and 137 science books with tablets saving $60 per book which resulted in $13000 saved in total).
Around 36% of young students use the program OneNote where they can take notes in their own handwriting using a digital pen which is extremely useful since several types of research have shown that taking notes by hand is better than using a keyboard.
Moreover, the greatest benefit from this is that the notes can’t be lost. They are saved and backed-up automatically. This benefit stands also for the paperless homework. A great number of students have said that they prefer this type of homework. Everything is digital, so they don’t need to worry about inks and papers. They just need their tablet. More than 50% of the young learners have said that using tablets helps them to stay up to date with the ever-changing world, thus making it easier to accurately complete their class assignments and homework.
We can all agree that the overuse of tablets and other technology devices has a negative impact on kids’ development, the moderate and guided use can offer many benefits. Tablets give young learners confidence and creative tools that can’t be found in a traditional classroom. They are great helpers in motivating kids and engaging them in the activities. What is more, tablets are great for incorporating learning with games. Young learners are exposed to maths, languages, arts and much more while playing a seemingly simple game.
Many of the tablet users have said that they can’t imagine their lives without them anymore and that they lessen their everyday activities. We can’t say how much the technology will change in the future or what its impact will be but we are certain that these devices will continue to play an important role in our daily life, both for education and entertainment.