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Guest blog by Cath Jenkin
In an era where our lives are driven by technology, this mobile madness is bound to have a direct effect on our children.
As my daughter has grown up, my mobile phone has played more and more of a part in her daily life. She has grown up as the technology we use daily has evolved, and she cannot wait to have a mobile handset of her very own.
I don’t believe it’s necessary or sane for my seven year old to own a cellphone yet but that doesn’t preclude her from using one at all. With the advent of smartphones, and a plethora of educational apps appearing in the marketplace, I firmly believe that her mobile phone usage has a directly beneficial effect on both her development and education.
Educational apps are one of the reasons why I love my mobile handset. I’m not the greatest teacher, nor the greatest student, and I still battle with explaining concepts to my daughter (yes, even Grade 1 mathematical concepts! I was not very good at mathematics at school!). Educational apps allow her to learn concepts in her own way, at her own pace, with me eagerly assisting along the way.
And it’s not just apps that have helped her development, but also the easy always-on access to search engines like Google. Every parent knows what children are most famous for – the almost infinite line of questions they conjure up, especially when out and about. During our journeys to school or out and about, I’m always bombarded with a pile of questions and, I’m not a walking encyclopedia. Easy access to search engines via my mobile phone makes it easy to answer those questions, sensibly, and actively explore new concepts with my kid.
If we’re at the park for a picnic, and she asks me what bird she’s just seen, I can easily punch in a description, or even snap a picture and let a search engine find us the answer. My daughter has a specific interest in nocturnal animals, so we’re almost always “googling” up a storm over owls, hamsters and the like.
As her confidence in literacy has grown, she has started searching on her own, with a little help from mum. She’s quite confident in her searching capabilities and is rather pleased with the results!
As technology becomes more and more ingrained into our lives, including our very education systems and classrooms, a technologically confident child is a must. I look forward to many more years of reaping the educational benefits of having a mobile savvy child!
Cath Jenkin is a freelance media consultant and writer in Durban. She lives with one hand on her mobile phone and the other holding her daughter’s. Cath is a proud advocate for the advancement of mobile technology, and firmly believes that the future can be held in your hand. You can find Cath online at www.cathjenkin.co.za or www.twitter.com/cathjenkin