Toddlers and technology

Lauren Monahan '16 and Alana Maguire '16, Multi Media Design Class

Lauren Monahan '16 and Alana Maguire '16, Multi Media Design Class

Everywhere I go I see babies of all ages using iPads. From babies being pushed in strollers across the street, to toddlers at restaurant tables, to infants in the doctor’s waiting room, almost all of them are eagerly grasping their very own touch screen device.

Lauren Monahan '16 and Alana Maguire '16, Multi Media Design Class
Lauren Monahan ’16 and Alana Maguire ’16, Multi Media Design Class

Some features on a tablet device such as an iPad are good for toddlers. Using an iPad allows babies to develop motor skills as well as hand-eye coordination. However, this technology for such young children also has its downsides. When babies are plugged into their devices, they have less interaction with their parents or siblings.

Although stimulating, technological devices do not necessarily provide children with the complete set of skills that they need. Though children can virtually stack blocks with an iPad app, they might not be able to translate this skill into a real life setting.

There is also a debate as to whether iPads are too stimulating for children. The sound effects and colors of the applications can be overwhelming for a young child. When children become too dependent on their iPad for stimulation and amusement, they might find it difficult to enjoy quieter activities such as reading or drawing.

I think that it is great that young children can benefit from technology at an early age. But, I also think that the time spent on devices such as iPads should be limited for children in order that they develop good habits for the rest of their lives.

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend iPad use for children under the age of two. They suggest that screen time should be limited to two hours each day for those of all ages.

Parents should strive to create a balance between both technology and other activities such as playing outside or finger painting. Maybe rather than going for the easy solution of handing over the iPad at the restaurant table, parents and siblings can try to include the young child in the dinner conversation or color with him or her instead. This early hands on stimulation from family rather than technological stimulation will make a positive difference in the baby’s childhood experience and ultimately, will benefit him or her in the future.

http://www.earlyinterventionsupport.com/parentingtips/products/technology-for-children.aspx

http://www.whattoexpect.com/toddler/toddler-learning/young-children-and-computers.aspx

 – Emily Hirshorn, Staff Writer