Impact of Digital Devices on Kids: How Soon is Too Soon?
Parenting has never been easy. But the widespread adoption of smartphones and the rise of social media has led to new parenthood challenges. One of the most highly discussed and debated topics among parents today is, “How soon is too soon for the kids to handle digital devices?”
Amid growing questions on the impact on children development, the World Health Organization issued guidelines last year on the amount of time young children should spend in front of screens. So the answer to the question? Well, let’s first look at some of the impacts of digital devices on children:
Digital devices can serve as a minor distraction to relieve the stress of car trips, air travel and other potentially hairy situations. However, parents cannot always use digital devices to alleviate restlessness or boredom. Otherwise, the child starts to rely on digital devices for distraction. Boredom can be a way to encourage creativity or let the mind rest. That’s why it’s crucial to have clear rules about how children use that device.
Digital devices can also enhance learning. Over the last few years, technology has become integrated into the classroom to improve the learning experience for children. This increased use is due to the exciting features of technology. Instead of hearing their teacher describe a bear, children can now watch and listen to what a bear is like on Youtube!
In addition, at-home educational technologies have assisted toddler-aged children in learning numbers, letters, colours, and other foundational skills before entering formal schooling. Mobile device apps like Avokiddo ABC Ride, Moose Math, and Metamorphabet have been recommended by parents to introduce math, the alphabet, and even the arts before kids enter school! Therefore, it is an excellent idea to let your children use digital devices to learn since immersive technology can be highly engaging.
According to one recent study of 47 children ages 3 to 5, those with higher exposure to screens had limited expressive language and did worse on tests of language processing speed.
The results show that tablets may be the most advanced tool in the century, but they are not helpful in the hands of infants, toddlers or preschoolers. As their brains are still developing, they need to use their five senses with hands-on toys more often. This usage can come from interaction with other human beings and their built environment.
Therefore technology did not play a significant part in child development. Social skills and relationships are underdeveloped as they spend more time with technology than humans.
How soon is too soon? Consider the three C’s.
Any child care educator will not have a perfect answer to this question. However, you can use three Cs to decide. These are the 3Cs according to childcare experts:
Content: Parents need to focus on the content on the screen.
Context: Does the device allow you to interact with children around that media?
Child: Do you understand what your kids need and what makes them happy?
It is proven that technology works well with children who have dyslexia or autism. Therefore, if technology is needed to help them, that should be your top consideration.
The child to become more tech-savvy?
That is a misconception. Be assured that children will not fall behind if their exposure to screens is delayed.
The 2009 study concludes that babies can learn a game on a touch screen; however, they were unsuccessful in translating the skill they learned to an object in the real world.
Knowing and being tech-savvy is not simply knowing how to do the touch screen, It is about understanding how the thing works. Instead of focusing on technology, study how to develop your child’s spatial reasoning and logic skills crucial for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These skills will develop the child as a programmer and not a tech user.
Do you believe the tablet will provide an educational experience?
You need to do your research before introducing your child to digital devices. There is a lot of good education apps in the market. Nonprofit research and training organisations for early childhood in WashingtonDC created an infographic c to help parents choose high-quality screen-based experiences.
Like many things children love, like toys or candy, technology can be great—but only in moderation. The problems associated with technology come with misuse and lack of attention around how much technology is “too much.” Be sure to regulate and limit your children's technology use, and they’ll be able to reap its positive effects!
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