Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Reasons to Keep Infants and Toddlers Away from Mobile Technology

A report recently presented to the American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that more than 33% of babies younger than 12 months are using smartphones and tablets. As many as one in seven toddlers are on mobile devices for a minimum of an hour daily. The devices were used to entertain children while their parents ran errands and did household chores, as a calming method, and to put the babies to sleep. What are these wired youngsters doing? Watching TV, calling others, interacting with apps, and playing video games.

While this may seem like you're creating a technology savant, this practice is actually harming your youngster. Here's why you should keep your little one insulated from technology:

  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children has identified that passive screen time (without adult intervention) does not calm children or teach them anything. Interaction with a human is required for both. 
  • Adults can't model appropriate use of technology if the child is using it solo. 
  • Experts at the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development recommend no exposure to electronic screens for children under the age of two years because learning and emotional support needs to come from live humans. 
  • The American Academy of Pediatricians also recommends no TV or other digital screens for those two years of age or less. 
  • Youngsters participating in screen time are sedentary and not learning through active exploration. 
  • Having the the technology out draws you in and attention away from your baby. 
  • Talking to your toddler is more calming than providing a video--and it builds your relationship. 
  • If you're already on the tech train, limit time to 10-15 minutes. It's very hard to remove mobile technology from a little one once you start. 
  • Don't worry about your child "falling behind" technologically. They will pick up the skills just fine at age five years or even later. 
  • Apps labeled "educational" may just be electronic babysitters. 
The good news? The same doesn't seem to hold true for spending time with relatives who live far away through a web cam because it's interactive. And if the parent is participating, the effects are similar to playing together with toys.