Using Technology to Improve Kids’ Focus & Learning

As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. The choices you’re faced with today are very different than the choices parents have had to make in the past. There has never been more information, research, or technology available to you, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Raising digital natives, who are exposed to more technology in their every day life than we could have dreamed of at their age, can be a challenge. How much screen time is too much? Which parental control software is the best choice for your family? At what age should kids get tablets, cell phones, etc.? It can feel like technology is an enemy, but it shouldn’t.

Technology is evolving at breakneck speeds, and it certainly isn’t going away. Researchers, health and education experts, and psychologists have dedicated their careers to developing better technological tools for both kids and adults. While the mommy-shamers may disagree, many experts believe that with the proper understanding and guidance, parents can successfully use technology to help kids learn and grow.

Technology as a Tool

Kids often struggle with attention, either because of an ADHD diagnosis or other issues that often lead to attention problems. All children are different, and their attention spans will develop at different rates. While technology can be a distraction in some instances, it’s important to remember that — when used well — it can also be a tool. Here are some of our favorite technology resources for parents looking to help their kids effectively manage their struggles with attention and focus.

  • Smartphones:

  • Set reminders and alarms

  • Keep the calendar updated with appointments, assignments, and more

  • Use the stopwatch app to set limits and schedules for specific tasks

  • Take photos of assignments or notes to access later

  • Talking Calculators:

  • Numbers are read aloud to help kids check accuracy

  • Audiobooks:

  • Narrated books may hold your child’s attention longer

  • Your child can search for and bookmark pages

  • Smartpens:

  • Record a teacher’s lesson while taking notes to listen to while studying

  • Smart Notebooks:

  • Transfers handwritten notes to the cloud for easy access and organization

  • Task Timers:

  • Illustrate how much time certain tasks should take

  • Encourage them to move on when time is up

  • Schedule breaks or reminders to pay attention

  • Noise-Cancelling Headphones

  • Drown out other audio distractions

  • Keep kids focused on the task at hand

  • Cuts down on interruptions from others

Tips from the Pros:

  • Keep your kid’s technology decluttered: block ads, or pay for ad-free versions of your apps.

  • Select “reader view” on browsers for text-only access.

  • Use Guided Access on Apple products so your child can’t exit a particular screen and stays on task.

  • Separate unsupportive tech from helpful tech and set limits accordingly. Teach your child the difference between relevant, useful technology and time-wasters.

  • Use technology for interaction, not isolation. Communicate with your kids about what they are doing with technology and stay involved.

Don’t Forget the Apps

The built-in apps on a smartphone are great for keeping kids organized on task, but with the right mix of apps, your smartphone can be an even more powerful tool. There are so many well-designed apps available. We’ve compiled a short list of lists for you from some trusted resources:

Neuroscience-Designed Reading Intervention Technology

Neuroscience-based intervention programs can help children pay attention longer, process information faster, and comprehend what they're reading. Here at Fast ForWord, we know the power of reading intervention technology to help children with attention issues because we have over 250 research studies documenting our success.

Fast ForWord learning exercises strengthen auditory attention, along with other key cognitive (memory and processing speed) and reading skills that are the foundation for all learning. It’s adaptive, it’s intensive, and it’s a cross-training workout that ensures your child is able to learn effectively.

Get Proactive with Technology

Raising digital natives and the Net Generation is no easy task, but you’re up to it! Research technology suited specifically to your child’s diagnosis or struggle, talk to other parents, teachers, and medical professionals for more insight on what’s new. The better you understand the technology available to your child, the easier it will be to help them find the tools and tech that work best for them.

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