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!).
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.
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! Also, 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!
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!
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!