Parents and their children using digital tablet in living room at home
In modern conversations about technology, our minds immediately jump to digital tech: iPads, laptops, smartphones, and whatever will be released next week. In its broadest definition, though, technology addresses any kind of machinery or equipment that has been developed based on scientific experimentation and research. Bicycles, faucets, and even pop-up books are examples of the ways humans have engineered new and better ways to engage with the world. Dr. Montessori herself argued that young people should learn the most current technology of their age to become citizens of the world. This learning, however, must happen at a developmentally appropriate time–just like all the other lessons in the Montessori curriculum.
By “denying” children the opportunity to use technology without limits at an early age, we do not make them immigrants in an otherwise digitally native world. Instead, children who are shown how to use technology as a tool, rather than as an end in itself, learn to measure and attach purpose to their usage. Our goal for every child is to show them the value of purposeful work–we help them see how they can use technology to improve upon the world around them or research a topic of interest.
A recent study at the University of Stirling explored the relationship between family and technology, and they found that the family’s attitude toward technology had great effect on the children’s relationship with the technology around them. Indeed, more important than following strict timelines on your child’s screen use is changing the way you treat technology yourself. In short: show your child that they are more valuable than the phone in your hand or the Smartwatch on your wrist, and you’ll be creating a family culture centered on human connection.
In these excerpts from the CMS Observer, we’re taking a closer look at the role of digital technology in the lives of our children, keeping purposeful work and human connection ever at heart for the benefit of future generations. We hope to provide helpful ideas for children of all ages so that your family can develop a strategy that’s best for you.