Toddlers and Tablets: Boon or Bane?
For a parent, nothing sounds better than having a portable gadget that can keep your hyperactive toddler quiet and preoccupied. But will giving access to your smartphone or tablet help your child grow up to be an intelligent well-balanced individual or turn them into little monsters?
Let's list down the possible pros and cons of your toddler's tablet usage.
Possible Benefits of Tablets and Smartphones
- Tech Savvy Tots - Tablet and smartphone use can help your child develop an aptitude for technology. An important skill in this modern era, where it will most likely be a part of his or her school curriculum.
- Highly Engaging - If you have ever tried asking your toddler to focus, you already know how difficult this task can be. When used properly, tablets can help grab your little one's attention long enough for you to teach and stimulate his or her mind in a fun and interactive way.
- An Ocean of Educational Options - There are tons of different educational apps designed for toddlers and babies all available at a click of a button.
Possible Pitfalls of Smartphones and Tablets
- Limits Imagination - Putting a screen in front of your tots every time you are in a waiting room prevents them from learning how to occupy themselves and inhibits their imagination.
- Affects Ability to Learn - When used without moderation, tablets and smartphones can actually hurt your child's ability to process information. That's because it may take time away from activities that help develop their sensorimotor and visual-motor skills, which are important for reading comprehension and the learning and application of math and science.
- It Can Be Addictive - Letting your child have unlimited screen time can negatively impact their impulse-control which can result in obsession and addiction, making your child more prone to tantrums.
- Encourages Anti-Social Behaviour - Unmoderated tablet use can hamper your little one's social skills, an ability that's crucial to your child's overall success.
There are some real educational values in letting your child use these devices. However, as parents we should always keep in mind to use it in moderation as participating in real-world activities and experiences still offer the richest opportunities for learning.
Need help in keeping your child's device usage in check? Here are a few guidelines that could help.
- Wait Until Your Child Turns Two or Older - Studies suggest that children under two learn best from real-world activities and experiences.
- Be Part of the Experience - Guide, monitor and interact with your little one to help balance their exposure.
- Limit Their Use - Limit screen time to no more than half an hour per sitting.
- Filter Content - Make sure you go through the content and message of the apps on your tablet before you let your little one see it.
Overall, tablets and smartphones can offer a whole new layer of learning for your tot that goes beyond the traditional classroom as long as you don't forget to use them properly and in moderation.
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