Should Young Children Be Allowed To Use Technology?

Georgia O'Connor, Writer

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says some screen time is okay for children as young as 18 months, but the organization recommends limiting kids to an hour or less a day of high-quality digital media. They urge parents to stay very much involved when their kids are using screens. According to a recent BabyCenter survey, 4 out of 5 toddlers are watching movies, television shows, or online videos, and 85 percent of moms allow their preschooler to play with their phone. Half of kids get their own tablet by age 5. Plus, 1 out of 10 kids between ages 5 and 8 are allowed unlimited use of the Internet without parental monitoring.

The use of technology for young children should be limited to only educational purposes. Playing games that help them learn sounds of letters, counting, syllables, verbs, adverbs, etc. For a short amount of time, this will not have a negative impact on these children. It will actually help them learn and develop important skills. Try to make screen time a shared activity, ask them what they are learning or ask them to show you what they have just learned. You should set screen free zones such as the table and the bedroom. Some parents set aside the 30 minutes before dinner for screen time when they are trying to get a meal on the table.

Just handing your child your phone or ipad to play games such as angry birds, or fruit ninja during dinner is not a good way to teach your child. They will soon learn whenever they have a temper tantrum or start screaming and fussing they will immediately get an ipad passed to them so they stop crying. Your children are following very closely in your footsteps, and seeing you engage in your social media and every text message you receive will bring them to think that your device is more important than them. This action will also tease children and make them even more interested in technology. Using technology appropriately can enhance a child’s cognitive and social skills.  

Some people might say exposing young children to video games may help children gain a longer attention span. Some parents allow their children to have constant access to an ipad or iphone to play games and watch videos. Some parents believe that if you don’t expose your child to technology at a young age then they will never learn how to use it.

Spending excessive time in front of a screen is harmful to a child’s health and well being.  The AAP decided that children who spend more than 2 hours a day in front of a screen are more likely to have irregular sleep, behavioral problems and poor academic performance. The more time a child spends engaged in electronics leaves less time for creative play or exploring the world around them. We think that giving children electronics keeps them more social but it is actually making them more isolated from society. There is a balance for electronic use. Limit your child’s screen time, no electronics in the bedroom, monitor games and use, and model good behavior while using technology.