Although the first smartphone was released less than 10 years ago in 2001, they are sweeping the world as the must-have accessory for both commercial and consumer users. However, it is not only adults that are contributing to the smartphone boom - children are becoming more and more au fait with the new technology and the benefits it can provide.
As thousands of children become accustomed to smartphones and their uses, the technology is inevitably flowing into schools and the education sector. How exactly are smartphones changing the way our children learn in school, and is it a good idea to expose children to the unbridled content of mobile Internet in such a personal and connected way?
There are huge benefits to allowing children access to the wide range of apps available on a smartphone. As the lucrative smartphone sector grows, more and more developers are producing apps that fulfill a wide range of tasks including, most notably for children, educational apps.
"First Words" allows children to spell out a range of simple words on their screens, ideal for children who have not yet started school and want to get a head start.
Children can also use various photo and paint apps to perform pseudo finger painting online, helping to improve their creativity while saving on the mess.
Although many people worry that new forms of technology invariably replace older pastimes such as nursery rhymes or school songs, apps like Old MacDonald allow children to experience the old favorites their parents enjoyed in a new way.
The 'Sesame Street' Factor
It is also worth remembering the effect children's TV favorite Sesame Street had on terrestrial broadcasting when it was first invented. Although television was deemed by many as a distraction for children that prevented them from engaging in healthy, traditional activities like sports or play, Sesame Street showed that the new technology could be used to the advantage of kids. By presenting educational material in a fun and modern way that utilized new technology, Sesame Street gained an army of fans and helped them learn basic number and language skills.
What's more, smartphones have one big advantage over TV - namely their interactive nature. Rather than simply sitting and watching a screen, children are encouraged to engage with the material they are presented. Although the games are often simple, children can develop essential motor skills and hand-eye coordination by using smartphone apps.
Smartphones are here to stay and, inevitably, are going to be used more and more by children. The early signs are positive, with a range of helpful and educational apps being launched specifically to help children learn. As long as the technology is used in a responsible way, using smartphones will give children a huge advantage when it comes to their educational progress.
Android™ is a trademark of Google, Inc. The Android Robot is reproduced or modified from work created and shared by Google for use according to terms described in the Creative Common 3.0 Attribution License.