Reviews and Recommendations, Toddlers

Young Children and Technology – Review and Product Recommendations


 

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Young Children and Technology

 

You desperately need five minutes do something, and your twins decide to scream for your attention just then. So, what are you supposed to do but to yank your trusty mobile out and give it to your, now all of a sudden super-happy kids! 

Exactly! So, there I was quite pleased they are happy and quiet, a little heartbroken – my attention seemed so easily replaceable by a robot and ridden with guilt – surely, I’m ruining their childhood by letting them have the phone… Sounds familiar?

 

Down With the Technology!

 

To be very clear, I am not against children using the available technology and feel it is very important they are proficient in using it.

However, pictures of teenagers sitting together but actually only looking down scrolling their phones, truly, fills me with dread.

I am kind of resigned, this is how is it might be for the next generations. Still, I hope it doesn’t have to be this way.

So, as far as my children are concerned, I closely monitor how much they spend watching TV or playing on the tablet. And, when they do play online or watch TV, I am the one who chooses what goes (doing it while I can!).Young Children and Technology

However, it makes sense to me that some TV and short times on other screens is not that bad.

If you can, chose slower paced shows for your toddlers, these don’t interfere so much with the child’s ‘orienting response’ – a reflex triggered by novel stimuli. 

Fast-paced cartoons are favorites for a reason: every second there’s change on the screen, new action, new characters, new and exciting colors. This type of overstimulation can, over time, cause attention deficit difficulties. 

Also, some studies have shown children’s behavior can change after watching one type of cartoon or the other. They are more patient and tolerant of any delays after watching a slow-paced cartoon and the opposite after watching the fast-paced ones.

 

Balance and Lead by Example!

 

It is important to have time limits set up, but maybe, most importantly of all, a balanced view of very young children and screen use. Parents first, then through parents’ example and influence, their children too.Young Children and Technology

Easier said than done though! It is hard to disconnect oneself from the online world! (unless one has a deadline, in which case, even the ironing seems more appealing!)

So, as I mentioned before, it’s important for the children to become proficient in using the technology, however, equally (if not more) important is for them to have the possibility to develop the ability for deep, concentrated thinking and problem solving which they’ll need in their lives.

 

How Much Screen Time?

 

I try to keep to the recommended time of one hour for the 2-5-year-olds. My children are two and a half and so far enforcing this rule hasn’t been too difficult.

 

However, my little girl has just learned how to say ‘toon ‘toon (cartoon) and keeps pointing to the telly! Young Children and TechnologyAlso, my little boy thinks that Old McDonald lives in my phone… There may(will) be trouble ahead!

It is also great if screen time can be counterbalanced with active and creative time off-screen. Young children and technology seem like a match made in heaven, but other, important activities, mustn’t be overlooked. 

Another good advice experts have for us parents, is not to allow TV and computer in children’s bedrooms. I think this one is not too difficult to pursue and would make the bedtime routine easier to follow with fewer distractions.

 

LeapFrog Activity Tracker

 

There is one little device that my children really like and I actually love it! The LeapFrog Activity Tracker is one cool device, that actually helps keep children active. Great!

 


 

It is recommended for 4-7-year-olds, but, even with my young children, this toy is a success.

They can not really play with it by themselves and for many options, they really do need to be older, but for many other options, it is just right!

For example, there has been quite a lot of silly chicken dancing and kangaroo hopping in our living room lately. (That’s the thing with toddlers, they pick up a few bits they like and repeat them over and over and over again…).

They also like looking at their little virtual pets, even though I am the one looking after Mr. Dog and Mr. Panda! (maybe, subconsciously, I had bought this for myself…hm 😉 )

 

LeapFrog Activity Tracker has 50 different challenges, awards for completing them and eight different pets.

Once my twins are older, they’ll be able to wear these cute toys on their wrists and play with it by themselves.

In case, you allow your child to wear this device throughout the day, you can set up a PC app that allows you to restrict the usage during school hours or nighttime. I like that!
 


And, here’s another product I really like and would recommend: If we can not avoid our children spending time in front of TV screens, at least we can try to find what is best for them and I believe this is a great choice!

 

AmazonFree Time Unlimited

                                                               

 


This is an all in one subscription for children, offering unlimited access to thousands of child-friendly books, TV shows, educational apps, movies, and games.

Amazon Free Time Unlimited is for children ages 3-12yo. It is divided into three age categories, so younger children don’t get inappropriate content aimed at older children, and equally older children don’t get the baby programs. Very important for keeping the peace in the house!

If you click on the link below, I can offer you 30 days FREE trial!

This subscription can be used on Fire Tablets, Kindle eReaders, Fire TV, or Android phones and tablets. It has great parental controls – you yourself can choose what your child watches.

I love the fact that the screen is blue when the Amazon Free Time Unlimited is on – you can check if your child is watching right content at a glance.

There is no access to social media – great!


 

There is a possibility to have a time limit and also set certain limits throughout the categories. So, you can fix the time for movies but leave unlimited time for reading.

You can set up four separate child profiles and they can all have different content access.

In case, you need to be somewhere where there’s no WiFi, it is possible to download content beforehand.

 

If you click on the link below, I can offer you 30 days FREE trial!

 

One of my favorite parts of this offer is that your child gets access to Audible! Have you maybe tried it yourself? It truly is fantastic!

Listening to amazing books being read to you by well-known actors (or by the authors themselves) is just an incredible experience and I would recommend it to everyone! Hehe can you tell? I really like Audible! (been a member of Audible for almost ten years now!)

If for no other reason, do get Amazon FreeTime Unlimited for the unlimited access to Audible children’s books! Your children will love you for it and forever be grateful you introduced them to this cool medium!

 

Of course, you can also get the actual Audible and try their 30 days FREE trial and get two FREE books downloads! I think this is a real find and a great deal!

 

Conclusion

 

To round up this post, I’d just like to say, the combination of young children and technology can be, and is great. Technology in all its forms is amazingly useful and an unavoidable part of our children’s lives.

But, just like with everything, exercising balance and caution can actually improve the overall experience.

It can serve us and our children well and in the long run too, as long as we don’t allow it to rule our days!

 

 

Thank you for reading this post.

 If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to write about, please do leave a comment in the comment section and I’d be more than happy to oblige!

Happy parenting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


18 thoughts on “Young Children and Technology – Review and Product Recommendations

  1. Wow twins! I have one 10 month old and she keeps to run us off our feet…!
    Screen time is something we have thought about and something our friends have very different opinions on. Currently, we have not shown here anything except Skype with family and friends. I am not sure how long we will be able to hold off though.
    When did your children start to watch some tv?

    1. Hi Allie

      Ah, a 10 month old baby, she must be so adorable! Is she trying to stand up yet? They get so inquisitive around about now… My two started paying attention to TV just after their first birthday. But it wasn’t until they were about 20 months that they actively started demanding to watch it. I was mortified! Invested so much effort to keep them away from the telly, and then they very clearly and with intent point to it. I do my best to keep the TV time at the minimum and hope they learn to prefer other games and our time spent outdoors. 

      Best,

      Alenka

  2. I’ve always been in two states of mind when it comes to TV, phones and tablets for kids.
    There are pros and cons for these types of technologies and ‘balance’ and ‘moderation’ are definitely much needed when it comes to this.
    I haven’t heard of Audible before. My little one loves to read so hopefully, I will be trying this out.
    Thanks for an informative read.

    1. Theresa, hi, thanks so much for your comment. I think the technology is now unavoidable but if there is a chance for maintaining some sort of balance, then great. Yes, Audible is fantastic! If your children love to read, then this could be a new, amazing discovery for them. For example, if they are of the age to read Harry Potter – the readers are fantastic and the children get so engrossed in the story (even if they’ve read the books previously), you’ll have hours of peace and quiet in the house! My niece and nephew are of that age, and they love love love it!
      I’ve been listening to books via Audible for years now, and I swear by my Audible time! That is my de-stress time. The best thing, I can do other things (cooking, cleaning) while listening to an amazing book.
      Here are the links again, just in case you decide to get Audible for you or/and your children!
      Best, Alenka

  3. This is a great topic because I have struggled with enforcing that balance with my kids too. They are not toddlers anymore though; they are now in elementary school. And boy do they love their technology!! I love mine too so I guess I understand lol.
    But I have found that creating that structure has helped open their minds to other things; and now they are used to having no technology during the week. It’s all homework, reading, after school activities, and some TV. No phones, tablets, or Xbox until the weekend. And even on the weekend they can’t have their tech all day. Friends are shocked when we tell them our rules cause they think it can’t be done or that the kids would be restless or upset. Truth is they get used to it if we stick with it. Now my kids enjoy their reading and writing time. And they even talk about writing their own books! Big difference from 2yrs ago! 🙂

    1. Hi Yemi
      Wow, I am so impressed and inspired by your example! I shall continue doing what I’m doing then… :). Thanks for sharing your experience. How amazing your children wanting to write books themselves! Now, if that doesn’t show that the balanced approach is the best, I don’t know what does! I shall quote you, if I may, whenever I get told (which is quite often) it is impossible to keep one’s children away from the screens. The not-so-pleasant part of being a parent is putting down the rules which might not always be popular, but I’d always rather do what is best for my kids than anything else.
      Best,
      Alenka

  4. Hi Alenka,
    I have just finished reading through your website. I am so impressed, it looks so professional, I applaud you for being responsible for the amount of time your children spend with technology. I do love what you wrote about teenagers not talking to each other, instead, just being engrossed on their phones when together. I live in Barcelona, and its the same here with teenagers! Well done.
    Best wishes,
    Lisa

    1. Dear Lisa
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment! I do try to keep my kids in some sort of controlled schedule regarding watching the TV and using other screens, but I have to admit, it’s not easy :(. Ah, Barcelona! Lucky, lucky you! What a fab place! Hope you are having a great day, best,
      Alenka

  5. I think your post was wonderful. It is so difficult to find balance in this day and age. Everything seems to be moving faster and faster, so to teach your children to slow down a little and read a story is a wonderful gift to give them.

    I remember as a child getting lost in amazing stories and I felt apart of them. I still have favourite books I read when I am sad or down because they help to pick me back up again.

    As an older person now I am now finding that technology is helping me read again. As my eyes get weaker, Kindle fixes the problem with font and text that can be made larger.

    Like all things technology can be both good and bad, moderation is the key in all things.

    Thank you for your post it was lovely and I really enjoyed reading it.

    1. Dear Coucka
      Thank you so much for your kind comment and insight on how important it is to stick to moderation in technology use (and just about with everything really – if only I can find the way to exercise that when I have a packet of bisquites in front of me…maybe an idea for the next post…). Anyhow, I am an avid reader too. Passing on the love of reading to our children, I consider, one of the greatest gifts we can give them.
      Wishing you a lovely day! Best,
      Alenka

  6. Can so identify with what you said about teenagers sitting together and yet looking down at their phones. They even study with their phones lying atop their books, that really shows their priorities, doesn’t it?
    But I do agree that kids need some exposure to technology, under watchful eyes. Thanks for the recommendations! Will certainly look into them!

    1. Dear Joo
      Thank you for the comment and glad you agree and side with the balanced approach towards technology. Hehehe yes, teenage years are not the best for working out the priorities, so I’m ready to forgive them It is us, grown ups who need to modify our behaviour and example we give our children. Only today, I caught myself, answering a message on my phone while my daughter wanted my attention. Not good. I will try to do better tho… 🙂
      Best,
      Alenka

  7. Screen time is such a slippery slope. I find that the more you engage in it, the more you become addicted to it. I think that it is great that you have been able to stick with a limit of one hour. I see far too many teenagers staring at the iphones during the school day. We need to engage! I liked your product recommendations. I’ll refer my sister, who has kids, to your site!

    1. Dear Melinda
      Ah, yes, it truly is a slippery slope! I have to admit, do struggle a bit to keep my twins off watching the TV longer than the guidelines. The lucky thing with toddlers is, they are easily distracted so I keep to that technique at the moment. When they say tv, i say, lets go for a walk…hehehe It usually works. Thank you so much for your referral to your sister – that means so much!
      Best,
      Alenka

  8. Thank you for this honest review. I am 100% with you on limiting screens especially according to age. As a child development professional, there are so many factors in a developing brain that we need to consider and monitor. I appreciated the alternatives and the options with the reasonable guidelines. This is helpful for many parents that are not aware.

    1. Dear Kathleen
      Thank you for your comment and very glad you found the post informative. I really hope we can help our kids find the right balance in being exposed to various screen content.
      Best,
      Alenka

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