Daniel Donahoo (digital learning adviser): Using technology with your child gives you an opportunity to role model positive technology use, but it’s also a really great space to learn about how your child is using technology. You can see what they find enjoyable. You can see the things that make them frustrated or they get really intense about, and that gives you some learnings that you can then apply to parenting.
And so here are some ways that you and your child can use technology together. So first it’s a really good idea to share some things, and that could be anything; it could be a YouTube video, it could be an interesting animation, it could be a game that you’ve heard about that you’ve checked out that you think would be great for your child to play.
Another thing is you can play games with your child. So, for a 4-year-old, that might be downloading an app that you can sit together and play and learn a new game. It might be finding some good family-friendly games on your console for older children and sitting down with them and spending some time playing games together.
One thing I really love about being able to use technology with your child is that you can learn from them or you can learn together. Like, if they’ve started playing Minecraft or if they’re using a music app or if they’ve got some other YouTube channel that they’re interested in, ask them to show you it and ask them questions about it and learn together.
The concept of co-viewing is a really good one, and that means sitting down and watching and spending time on a screen with your child. It might be watching a television show and muting the adverts when they come on. It might be if there’s a dramatic moment in the show, asking them a question that helps them to understand or make sense of that moment on the television show.
A great benefit of using technology with your child is that you can allow them to lead, allow them to show you things that they’re interested in, and that really shows that you care about them, because they’re saying, ‘I would like you to watch this video,’ or, ‘Here’s a television show that I like.’ It also means that you develop a shared knowledge and, beyond the technology, you can have conversations in the car or at the dinner table about the things that you’ve both seen together or things that they’ve been watching while they’ve been using technology alone.