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Today, more and more things in our lives are digital. There is new technology everywhere and new ways of doing tasks, having fun, meeting people and communicating. The ways that our children are learning English are also changing. Classroom activities and homework are different, and children have access to a whole world of information on the Internet. So what can we do as parents to help our children to take advantage of these changes? This article will look at five ways that we can ‘think digital’ so that we can help our children learn more.
People sometimes think that computer games are a waste of time, but they can be a great way for your children to learn and develop skills that they can use now and into the future. Lots of online games require players to communicate with other players all over the world and understand what is happening. The language most often used is English, so this is a great way of developing language skills and other social interaction skills, not just grammar and vocabulary. There are also games that are specially designed to help players learn English. A great place to start is the Cambridge English Parents and Children section, where there are lots of games and activities that your children can do alone or with you.
The Internet is an amazing tool and provides our children with a great number of opportunities to improve their English. There are certainly some risks involved too, and so it’s important that you help to protect your children online. For example, you should set up parental controls on your web browser, and tell children not to give out personal information online, including on websites, apps or online games. But these risks shouldn’t stop your children from learning, having fun and interacting online. Young people today have access to data, music, videos, pictures and new friends in a way that wasn’t possible until fairly recently. It’s important that we allow our children to enjoy it and make the most out of it. If you want to help, you could make quizzes and information searches that your children can do in English. Maybe you could ask your children to find a recipe for dinner in English, or ask them to help plan a holiday or day out.
Digital tools such as phones, computers and tablets shouldn’t stop your children from studying – these things should help them. If these tools are only for fun, they will distract your children from their lessons. Try to make these tools part of everyday life in the home and use them both for fun and also for study activities like homework, research and school projects. This will make it easier for children to work hard and focus when they are using the computer for their studies. It is a good idea to set time limits for some of the less educational activities and television programmes. You may want to involve your children in making the rules about how and when to use technology for different purposes.
Many of the jobs available in the future will be digital, and many will also involve communicating with people in different countries. This means companies will need people with good digital skills and often good English skills too. Children who grow up in a supportive digital environment can learn the skills that they need to get good jobs in the future. Help your children to understand technology and feel comfortable with digital ways of working and communicating in English. If your children are older and thinking about jobs for the future, ask them to search on some job sites and look at the different skills that might help them.
It’s a really good idea to get involved in what your children are doing online and with technology. This will really help them with their studies. Children respond to this differently depending on their age, but most kids are excited to share what they are doing and what is happening in their lives.
Ask questions about the digital games they play and ask them to show you and explain how they work. If you have a problem with your computer or mobile phone, see if your children can help, or ask them to find the answer online. If you get involved, maybe you and your children will both learn something!
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