Like all things in life, tech isn’t inherently bad, it’s the abuse of it that is. 


October 25-30th, 2021 is Media and Digital Literacy Week and research shows that while there are cons to toddlers and children’s exposure to a digital lifestyle, there are also some incredible benefits. 


Digital Kids – Pros

Just as kids will learn to swim or ride a bike, it is almost guaranteed they will learn how to use digital devices as well. The use of technology is not likely to slow down in our modern world and in their future education and professional lives, learning to manage online capabilities and presence will be important skills. 

From an early age, kids are learning how to navigate digital devices and research shows kids have improved spatial reasoning, accelerated hand-eye coordination, and image recognition than previous generations.

Plus, who doesn’t love a cute giggle during another Blue’s Clues episode! The world has become smaller in our digital age, and kids can experience a more diverse and enriching life right from their living room with television and streaming. 


Virtual Reality especially has paved the way for more empathetic experiences and therefore digital citizens.

In a study conducted by Stanford University called ‘Becoming Homeless’, students who went through a simulation of losing their jobs and homes developed longer-lasting compassion for the homeless than students who explored other media experiences around the same theme.

And with the rise in e-learning over the past two years, the priority for empathetic virtual classrooms is higher than ever. There is a barrier to authentic interaction online, which makes connection that much more special when it’s experienced.


In many cases, technology yields higher independence in children, knowing they can discover answers, explore curiosities, passions and follow their own train of thought.

Growing up with access to the world at your fingertips can be deeply rewarding, but only when managed appropriately. There are two sides to every (bit)coin.


Digital Kids – Cons

There’s no question technology has invaded nearly all domains of our lives.


Youth aged 5-17 years old spend an average of 3 hours in front of a screen everyday in Canada. That’s 21 hours a week and nearly 2,000 hours every year.

Many people’s main complaint in adulthood is that ‘there aren’t enough hours in the day’. The next generation would gain almost one extra day of play or productivity if screen time was managed or made more intentional. 


However, a disconnected life is a thing of the past and research shows time spent offline breeds an acute blend of stress and anxiety: FOMO.

Fear of Missing Out is experienced most by teens and young adults. The concern with what family or peers are doing leads to feelings of low self-esteem and loneliness. FOMO gets particularly dangerous in younger children and tweens because of the compulsive cycle it leads to in checking online even when you don’t want to. This is problematic among young minds that already have less impulse control.

There are many activities that seem to be a thing of the past, like knocking on the neighbours door if kids want to play versus hopping online for a gaming session. The rise in near-sightedness, poor posture and obesity are among the physical effects many doctors see in young people with high screen time.


First Lady Tip:

“Prioritize self care. I want my girls to see the model of a mother taking care of herself, because, quite frankly, my mother didn’t do that,” – Michelle Obama


We all get sucked in and addicted to our screens – like right now. But there is substantial evidence that reduced screen time improves symptoms of anxiety, depression, anger 6 and boosts overall well-being from the time and attention we get back to focus on our lives. If parents and adults model or initiate intentional screen time behaviour – like one hour of Instagram a day or no screens after 8pm – kids will be more inspired to follow suit and experience the benefits of more human connectivity while also developing digital literacy!


You can learn more about Digital Literacy Week and access downloadable resources HERE!