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Life skills of the future. How does the online world help your child’s development?

For many modern parents, the role of technology in shaping their children's lives is a subject of both fascination and concern. While some hold the belief that smart devices and the internet may distract youngsters from acquiring vital life skills, the reality is far more nuanced.

Children today are often referred to as digital natives, having been surrounded by smart technologies from the moment they take their first breath. This makes some parents, who had a distinctly different experience, worry. Is it possible that the internet is distracting children from getting their education or building genuine relationships in the offline world? On the contrary, a closer look at this issue shows us that children can learn skills in the online world that can positively influence their future in the world offline.

Certainly, the digital realm has its share of risk, especially for a child who first steps into it unguided or too soon. Child psychologist, Jarmila Tomkova, highlights the importance of having foundational offline skills before delving into the world of smartphones and gadgets. In a recent interview, she emphasised that, among other things, children should be able to interact with their peers and develop friendships before having the chance to independently use smart devices. Why? Feeling grounded in the offline world makes them less susceptible to unhealthy tech habits, including internet addiction.

But when introduced mindfully, smart technologies are not the enemy. On the contrary – they may significantly benefit your child's development, help them learn, form strong bonds and more. It is also practically impossible for children these days to remain isolated from the internet or smart devices. Technologies not only surround them – they form their reality. 

From textbooks to tablets

In recent years, the sphere of education has undergone a notable revolution thanks to the integration of technology into learning paradigms. Gone are the days of torn textbooks and tiring memorisation. It’s true that you shouldn't abandon traditional offline learning altogether – when children turn pages while they learn, they have time to organise their thoughts and process what they've just read. On the other hand, the internet can help kids access an almost infinite amount of information. And more, the online world has introduced an era of interactive and engaging educational experiences.


Marv Shamma, the founder of FLOW Elementary School

Marv Shamma founded the FLOW Elementary School, an institution that hopes to revolutionise the way children learn. His goal was to create an environment that helps children get a holistic education, learn through projects rather than passive studying, and acquire abilities that are essential in the quickly evolving 21st century. How does he perceive the influence that technologies have on education? 

“Since founding FLOW, I have constantly argued that technology does not hinder children's development but can in fact help it. If used correctly, technologies can provide children with skills they would not be able to gain in the offline world. But I also feel it is important to stress that technologies should be used as a supplement to traditional education and social development, not as a replacement. It is crucial to create a balance between online and offline experiences, which helps children develop a wide range of skills, especially adaptability.”

Interactive games, educational apps and immersive learning platforms have become staples of children's educational journey. These tools not only facilitate the acquisition of essential life skills but also tailor learning experiences to suit individual preferences and abilities. This means that many kids, even those struggling with traditional teaching methods, now have a chance to learn in a way they find entertaining. And for kids who experience a lack of support among their families and peers, the online world may be where they find the encouragement for learning that they need. 


Pavel König, the founder of Nvias

Pavel König believes that children should grow to become creators rather than consumers. For this reason, henfounded Nvias, an organisation that educates children on technology but also environmental issues. Nvias offers workshops and courses on AI, Minecraft, Roblox and more. Why does Pavel König think that technologies play an important role in the education of children? 

“I would like to emphasise that, in my view, the online environment is a unique space for creativity. It provides children with the opportunity to create and learn from their mistakes, almost without limits. As a result, they acquire unique skills and become creators – of digital content, for example, or even their own apps or games. Our mission at Nvias is to foster this creativity, to show children that they can be innovators and use their skills to create their own solutions. I also believe that digital technologies can benefit children's social interactions. I see it in our after-school online classes, where kids work in teams on different projects, bonding and helping each other to achieve a common goal. Even when kids are ‘just’ playing video games, they are communicating and learning.”

Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic showed us that technology is an indispensable asset in ensuring uninterrupted education. During times of crisis, technologies transcend physical barriers enabling children to continue their studies and maintain connections with peers. This shows us that, contrary to some people’s belief, technologies are not adversaries of education – rather, they are integral allies. 

Mum, what does this app do?

We have already addressed the common misconception that technologies distract children from education. There is a similar problem in that many parents see screens as impenetrable walls between them and their children that make it harder for them to build and maintain strong relationships. But can’t technologies deepen the parent-child connection?

According to Jarmila Tomkova, the answer is yes - if you choose the right approach. If you are actively engaged in your children's online learning journey, it can become a shared experience that fosters closeness. Take part in educational activities, explore the different apps and games together with your child, and initiate discussions about online safety measures. These interactions not only enrich learning but also nurture a stronger, more open relationship between you and your child.

Navigating the digital world may be overwhelming for some parents, but there's no need to worry. Start by acquainting yourself with the platforms your child uses. You may also seek guidance from teachers or online tutorials. Finally, don't hesitate to seek assistance from your child – they are likely to relish the opportunity to act as the tech expert. Don't be afraid that you could lose your authority. Being your child’s ally when it comes to technology will only make your bond stronger.

Offline vs. online skills

If we pay attention to our children’s online experiences, we may quickly notice that the skills they learn online and off are often similar or complementary. For example, your child may find friends at school, but when they must stay at home with the flu, smart technologies can assist them in maintaining close friendships, despite the lack of personal contact. This means that both online and off, children can foster their ability to connect with friends and nurture important bonds. Clearly, some capabilities are developed primarily in the world offline, while others are hard to master without the use of technology. Here are some examples.

Offline skills

Social intelligence: Face-to-face communication allows children to build empathy and the ability to read non-verbal communicative signs.

Management of needs: Experiences unique to human interactions such as waiting in a queue make it possible for kids to realise that their needs sometimes cannot be satisfied immediately. 

Control of immediate reaction: Online communication allows children to think their response through, rewrite it multiple times or even delete their words when they are unhappy with them. Offline, however, children need to learn how to work with their emotions and respond appropriately even in situations that demand immediate reaction.

Spatial intelligence: Activities like building with blocks, drawing and hands-on crafting lead to the development of spatial imagination and comprehension of shapes, sizes and spatial relationships.

Physical coordination and motor skills:  Participation in physical activities such as sports, arts and crafts contributes to the refinement of both fine and gross motor skills.

Online skills

Digital literacy: Online, children learn to understand different platforms, discern credible information and use digital tools efficiently.

Cybersecurity awareness: First-hand experience with the internet allows kids to practice safeguarding personal information, identifying online threats and learning safe online behaviours. When your children are just starting with technologies, however, you should be there to support them and show them the right path.

Adaptability to technology: When we look at the incredible progress that, for example, AI has made in recent years, it is apparent that the sphere of technologies is constantly changing. If your child learns to use the different technologies and understand their progress, they will be more likely to adapt successfully to the many potential changes that the future will bring.

Multimedia creation: Smart devices enable children to be creative and to express themselves through many different formats, such as photography, video or even electronic music. 

Overall, the world can be a place of growth and learning, both online and off. When you equip your children with the skills to navigate the digital realm responsibly, you not only benefit their personal lives but may also help them succeed in their future careers. By embracing technology alongside traditional learning methods you foster a holistic approach that enriches your child's development, nurturing their potential to thrive both now and in the future.

Do you worry that using technologies may endanger your child’s safety? Address these concerns by implementing age-appropriate content filters, monitoring online activities, and educating children about responsible internet use. Our Parental Control app can help you with that. In combination with open communication, it is your key to fostering trust and ensuring a safe online learning environment for your child. 


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