Education is not what it used to be, even ten years ago. Think about how changing technology has opened up access to a lot more options for education, both at home and at school.
Where do you draw the line, though? With all the options, how do you choose which educational devices your children should have access to? And how do you know they are safe?
What is an educational device?
An educational device can be anything you can hold that can be used to teach. On a very literal basis, this could mean anything from a book to the most advanced computer.
On a more realistic basis, an educational device is a piece of electronic equipment that is designed to help in learning.
There are devices that are designed only to educate, mainly through entertainment. Just about any electronic device, though, can be used in education.
What are safe educational devices for children and teens?
For babies and young children, the educational devices that are safe will be those that literally won’t hurt them. A 2-year-old, for example, could drop a tablet and possibly hurt themselves.
Toys for babies are those that can keep their attention. They certainly shouldn’t be able to touch them. You could position a digital photo frame close to their crib or bed, so they will be able to watch images or shapes. This is similar to the way they may watch a mobile above their bed.
A great educational device for preschoolers is an electronic puzzle machine. This type of toy uses electronics to help your preschooler solve over 500 puzzles. There is an option to set the toy to teaching mode. This increases the benefit for the kids.
Older Children and Teens
Older children and teens will undoubtedly need to access a wide range of information via their devices, which means accessing the internet. Then, safety is no longer about the devices themselves, but about what they may bring.
To keep your children safe, you’ll need to be aware of things like cyberbullying, inappropriate contacts or behavior, undesirable attention and unsuitable content. To keep them safe, you could monitor the devices for a while and teach your children how to use educational devices safely.
Moreover, there's an additional aspect of safety and comfort related to the use of electronic devices. Extended periods of engagement, whether through gaming, typing, or other intense activities, can amplify hand discomfort. Additionally, certain applications or games can evoke stress or anxiety, which might lead to sweaty hands. Therefore, user interaction can significantly influence hand comfort. It's essential to keep these factors in mind when selecting devices for older children and teens.
A few safe educational devices
Online learning platforms
A great educational device for learners is not a physical thing, but is an online learning platform. It is here that children of all ages can learn creative things, and also learn how to work with different technologies.
Children can find puzzles to build, while teens can access information and even projects from which they will learn.
Tablets can be a wonderful educational device for children of any age. However, you’ll need to make sure they are only loaded with what is appropriate.
The beauty of a tablet is that it can be used as a device to play games or watch movies on, or as an eReader. These can all be downloaded, then the tablet can be blocked from the internet or any cloud contact. This is useful and even important for younger kids.
Parents don’t seem to agree on the best age to let your child use a tablet: somewhere between 2 years old and 4 years old seems to be the basic idea.
It depends on you and your child, of course. And on how the child will use the tablet.
For younger children, you can load a few games and books on the tablet, which they can look at with a caregiver. As your child grows and learns to read, you can add appropriate books for them to read themselves, and games for them to play.
You’ll need to make the call about at what age you allow your child to access the internet via their tablet. You can choose games, books and sites to visit that will help to educate them.
For teenagers, a tablet can become a very useful device for educational purposes. They are definitely handy when it comes to sourcing information for school work and assignments.
A laptop is surely the natural step up from a tablet for older children, but perhaps even only for teenagers.
Teens are forever having to source information, find books for schoolwork, and type up notes and projects. This makes a laptop not only useful, but almost an essential device for them.
You can monitor the internet search history on their laptops, to know they are keeping safe online.
If you want your child to have access to a multitude of books (fiction, non-fiction and educational), then an eReader is almost an essential device. It’s also definitely safe, because all the books will have to go through your account, so you can monitor what they are reading.