Critical Thinking in the Age of Technology
When dealing with the Internet and technology, it is always important to think critically, especially when children are involved. Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas or events. Technology and the Internet can be used for good, to help develop certain skills, for fun entertainment and even for knowledge, but like all good things, they must not be overused. Thinking critically is important for your child’s safety, and it is an essential skill that parents can also pass down to their children, by leading by example.
When considering new technological purchases or how much time online is too much, parents should consider a wide array of factors. Here are some ways to do so:
- Who can this device harm?
- Who can this online post be harmful to?
- Who can my children communicate with through this device?
- Who benefits from this device?
- What is the best-case scenario (if I buy this smartphone for my child, for example)?
- What is the worst-case scenario (if I buy this game console for my child, for example)?
- What can we do to make a positive change after using technology too much or in a harmful way?
- What are the negative aspects of this digital device?
- Where can I go to learn more about digital detoxes?
- Where can I go to learn more about Internet safety?
- Where can grooming take place?
- Where can online predators find my child in the real world?
- When is the best time to buy a smartphone for my child?
- When should I ask for help regarding the digital and online safety of my children?
- When is my child vulnerable online?
- When should our family device-free times be?
- Why is it a challenge to engage with my child after he has watched a movie?
- Why do we need to try a digital detox?
- Why does my teenager sleep with his smartphone?
- Why is it problematic that my child plays video games all day?
- How is cyberbullying similar to regular bullying?
- How can I successfully talk to my child about sexting and pornography?
- How can we use technology to help others?
- How do I envision technology impacting the future of my family?
This may seem like a lot of questions but not all questions apply to every situation or device. If you find that you are already facing some negative issues, there are things you can do to prevent things from getting worse. In general, open communication is key to preventing and/or improving all Internet and technology-related issues. Even just having conversations about stories that are popular in the media, tech device reviews, etc. can be beneficial to your children.
Along with critical thinking before and after digital purchases, it is important to come up with digital guidelines that work best for your family and to communicate those to your children on a regular basis. It is also important that your children feel comfortable coming to speak to you when/if anything goes wrong, or even if they are just confused about something they have read online or in the media.
Critical thinking is an indispensable tool that your children can apply to many different situations throughout their lives. It is also essential for healthy, happy Internet and technology use.