Tablet, smartphone: how to help your child use technology as an ally

Tablet, smartphone

Specialist says limits need to be set and other activities encouraged

Tablets, smartphones, cable TV, computer, internet, games of last generation. The “menu” of children’s toys is great and causes concern in some parents and specialists. In Brazil, 59% of children aged five to nine years have used a cell phone. The nine-year-old group already begins to have its own: 24%, followed by 16% at six and 7% at five, according to data from the ICT Kids 2010 survey, conducted by But in practice, what does this mean?

According to Marcia Stein, pedagogical coordinator of Eliezer Max High School, this scenario presents a new challenge for parents, educators and therapists: the need to re-establish ways and limits for children and adolescents to develop healthily in a social context in which technology invites uninterrupted interaction with the community. “Self-knowledge is a process that feeds on time, silence, solitude, introspection. Life online proposes hyper-sharing, hyperstimulation, hypervelocity, collective interactions and voices. You have to find a balance, “ he says.

To what extent is all this technology healthy and can be used to boost the development of the small? How to control and stimulate more conscious use?Marcia Stein insists that it is important for young people to follow the new technologies, but with the help of their parents they need to learn the limits of how to use them with awareness. “As a mother and educator, I do not consider electronics, internet or social networks as the villains of our time,” she says.

Here are some tips to help your child use technology with balance:

  • Dialogue and clear parameters are key. Explain to your child the importance of balancing the time between activities with electronics and others;
  • Combine with it a time limit for games, tablets or, depending on the age, use of the internet, and ensure that the combination is fulfilled;
  • Ensure that applications installed on gadgets are age-appropriate for children. There are quality educational apps that, in addition to having fun, can help your child’s development;
  • Technology can also be used to learn and develop: be with the little ones during school surveys and when it comes time to ask questions during homework. Educating by example is very efficient;
  • Technology should not replace play with friends and interaction. Set aside time for playtime, board games and family meals.


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