Technology Brings Us Together

Technology. It connects us, helps us to communicate, to access information, and to share ideas. But for years we’ve been told it’s also having a negative effect on society. Social media drives social alienation. We make more connections, but have fewer actual conversations. We spend too much time chasing likes, not enough time with those we really love.  Then came the pandemic. Many things changed. In some important ways, so did our relationship with technology. Screens became meeting spaces and windows to the outside world. Our computers, tablets and mobile phones became tools for family learning and sharing moments at home. Importantly, our screens helped us stay connected to the loved ones we couldn’t see and hug in person.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced sudden changes in our routines and given new meaning to many of the things we were already doing. For children, taking pictures and starring in videos now come as naturally as playing with blocks or painting with watercolors. For parents, understanding how kids are using technology – and making sure their screen time is as meaningful as possible – has become more important than ever. 

What if, in this moment, there could be a better way of creating shared moments with Mom and Dad… a new way of doing things together that was both fun and educational… a new tool that promoted creativity while allowing parents to maintain control over the use of the family’s devices?

At Hoot! we believe that the best ways to use technology do allow for real interaction and connection. And in this moment, when parents are more focused on educating and entertaining their kids than ever before, there’s an opportunity to find new ways to spend time together – telling and sharing stories, having fun, being creative, and making meaningful memories.

Our app uses technology as a bridge to learning and discovery. Anyone – parent or child – can use Hoot! to record and share a story, using supplied texts, or your own creativity. Or the whole family can work together to create and share a story in which everyone plays a part. The possibilities are endless.

We hope to encourage parents and kids to read more together and use their screen time most productively, taking advantage of technology’s ability to put a world of knowledge at your fingertips. Through devices such as mobile phones, it is possible to access encyclopedic content or library collections in different parts of the world, as well as literary and musical works that were beyond the daily cultural horizon not so long ago. (With that in mind, we’ll be adding a lot more content to our own app in the weeks and months ahead.)

As you may have discovered, both before and during these pandemic times, a total restriction on screen use is not only counterproductive for children and adolescents, it is also a lost battle. Today’s kids have devices within reach, whether at home, at school, or when visiting family and friends. Given this reality, the main recommendation from specialists is that parents should monitors or put limits on screen time and activities. This is a moment in which parents can promote positive and productive technology habits – and create the opportunity for shared family activities that can also become habits.

Covid, a turning point

According to a study carried out in Spain by the platform Empantallados and the consulting firm GAD3, with the support of the European Commission, two out of three families considered that the benefits derived from the use of screens since the coronavirus broke out were greater than the risks involved in spending more time connected and using technological devices. Among those surveyed, 85% of parents agreed that screens have created new opportunities to do things with their children. More than 75% said that the devices helped them communicate more with family and friends. And 50% also highlighted that the technology allowed them to engage more in their local community.

At a time of fewer outings and more technology, 67% of parents also agreed that the pandemic had created an opportunity to dialogue with their children (especially with adolescents) about how to make healthy use of screens. 

Within the educational field, it is anticipated that the global spread of the COVID-19 virus will cause an increased and long-term shift toward online learning. This is also true at home, as parents navigate a new world in which cellphones and screens won’t simply be tools for distraction, but vital gateways to new forms of learning and shared family moments.

 

The pandemic presents convincing evidence: Screens can become meeting spaces and windows to the outside world. Use tablets and mobiles for family learning, while sharing moments at home and connecting with loved ones.