Readers often submit questions to Parent & Child Magazine. We liked this one so much, we wanted to share it with you here! Find more in the September issue of P&C.
Q: “My fourth-grader recently looked up from his textbook to ask, ‘Why do I have to study all this stuff? I can always Google it.’ How should I respond?”
A: Kudos to your kid! This type of comment shows he’s thinking about the different ways he can get the same material, which is a good thing, says Eitan Schwarz, M.D., clinical assistant professor at Northwestern University Medical School and author of Kids, Parents, and Technology: A Guide for Young Families.
That said, he’s still developing the ability to judge good sources from bad. Your job: to point out that although Google can be a great place to start, what pops up isn’t necessarily reliable. Results mix in opinions with facts and aren’t sorted into categories, like blogs or newspapers. Tell your son that until he learns to think critically on his own, you or his teachers can help him decide what info to rely on online.
Let him know that even though it takes longer to read a textbook chapter, the facts inside are reliable, geared to his age, and presented in a way that encourages him to form his own ideas. Once he acquires that knowledge, it’s his for life, and something he won’t find on Wikipedia.
For more back-to-school tips from P&C, check out their Pinterest board!