A lot of the time, when home automation is discussed, it is viewed from the perspective of the parent; how it keeps their home safe, how it makes it easier for them to keep up on their life, how it is convenient for them to manage the household.
But…is home automation really good for kids?
Spoiler alert: I do not have a definitive answer to that question. As a whole, the technology debate has been going on for years, just check this out: The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child. I think there are two both very compelling sides to that argument. Here are a few of the hot topics regarding smart home technology and kids, along with the positives and negatives for each:
YAY: Keeping kids safe. There is just no way to argue against that. Helicopter parents probably find smart home technology to be a blessing, since it allows them to monitor and control most things their kids do in the home. Need to wash the dishes in another room? Just use your smart camera and tablet to view your kid in their playroom while you are in the kitchen.
BOO: Yikes. Being watched and controlled 24/7 can hamper a child’s ability to develop life skills, like making decisions for themselves and recognizing danger on their own. While watching your children when they are small can be a stress reliever, kids eventually need to be able to go through life without monitoring.
YAY: Many smart home products have a lot of educational value: they can help children with their homework, they can teach children how technology works, they can offer educational games. Of course, most of those perks come from a smart home digital assistant, like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. Beyond traditional education, technology is the future so using it in daily life from a young age will mean children are more prepared for adulthood.
BOO: In this digital age, children also have a way to easily and quickly cheat themselves out of an education. Homework answers can be found with just a simple voice inquiry.
YAY: Children, especially smaller children, can really developmentally benefit from routines. A fully integrated smart home system that pulls down their bedroom blinds, dims the lights, and turns off the television at bedtime can help create the right atmosphere for sleep. For mornings, the reverse could be true – the lights can be turned up, the blinds can open, and maybe soft music can play. Using a smart home system will keep the routine on track, even if the parent is running behind on their day.
BOO: There is also something to be said for spontaneity. Keeping a child to a schedule that is too tight and run on a smart home system with little flexibility, could make it more difficult for them to adapt to unexpected situations.
YAY: Used creatively, smart home devices can trigger a child’s imagination. Parents can really focus on creativity by letting their children help set up an IFTTT system. Using a smart home assistant can also help them explore a wide variety of topics and spark their interests.
BOO: You could also argue that smart homes reduce a child’s need to use their creativity. With a digital assistant, there is always a game to play or music to listen to or an app to open and explore, instead of having to turn a cardboard box into a boat that is sailing through rough waters in a big storm.
Now we know that home automation can be great for kids, let’s talk about the whole family. Read our post on 5 Ways People Use Digital Home Assistants for Entertainment, and see how you can use home automation to bring the whole family together!