The effect of TV, iPads and other gadgets on your toddler

Today, you can find young kids fully engrossed in technology - aided gadgets almost everywhere you go. They are either glued to the TV screen, computers, iPads or playing games on mobiles. Technology brands have been quick to jump on the trend for tech savvy toddlers by introducing apps that you can download which are very appealing to your young kids. They have even introduced accessories such as drool-proof tablet covers. There is also an i-potty with a tablet activity stand attached to the potty to keep your child entertained as long as necessary while he/she is on the potty!

Technology can’t make up for your personal attention

These days we are all busy and truly believe that TV, iPads and other gadgets can make up for our lack of time with our children. After all, they do have some entertainment and educational value. Besides, we ourselves are also increasingly becoming over reliant on technology for work and other activities. The question is where we draw the line. Are we, without realising it, using these gadgets as ‘digital babysitters’ to buy time for ourselves? Something we should ponder on.

Guidelines for screen time

  • Set limits according to the age of your children for watching TV and using other devices.
  • Encourage physical play, hands-on fun and activities that encourage interaction with people.
  • Do it together. Watch television or play online games together.
  • Help your toddler watch with a critical eye. Encourage questions.
  • Watch selective child-friendly programmes.
  • Lead by example. Limit your own screen time and attachment to technology if you expect your child to follow.
  • Remember to block certain pages, you don’t want your child to access.

Can OVERexposure to technology affect your child?

There is an increasing concern amongst parents that an early addiction to TV, tablets and games can have many negative effects on children. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants age 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years should be restricted to 1 hour per day and 6-18 years, 2 hours1. However, now children use it 4 to 5 times longer than the recommended amount and start so much younger and that’s where the trouble starts.

Causes attention deficit

Today, you can find young kids fully engrossed in technology - aided gadgets almost everywhere you go. They are either glued to the TV screen, computers, iPads or playing games on mobiles. Technology brands have been quick to jump on the trend for tech savvy toddlers by introducing apps that you can download which are very appealing to your young kids. They have even introduced accessories such as drool-proof tablet covers. There is also an i-potty with a tablet activity stand attached to the potty to keep your child entertained as long as necessary while he/she is on the potty!

Restricts movement essential for growth

Technology restricts movement as being addicted to television or iPads is a passive activity that does not require any active physical movement on your child’s part. On the other hand physical play and movement is very important and helps to develop connections between the nerve cells and the brain. As these connections develop, your child’s fine and gross motor skills, concentration, language and social skills will also improve greatly. Spending too much time on tablets and other gadgets does not contribute to the development of your child’s cognitive and motor skills.

Does not encourage interaction or teamwork

If your child is stuck in front of the TV or spends hours staring into those tiny displays on tablets your child will not have the opportunity to interact or communicate with other children to develop his/her social skills. Environmental stimuli that encourage imagination and exploration are very important for your child’s early brain development.

Everything in Moderation

There is no denying that today technology is an integral part of our lives and we have to accept that this is not going to change. Television, iPads and other gadgets can be a great resource tool for education as well as entertainment; but all things should be used in moderation. When we use them wisely they can have positive effects. Overexposure and over reliance on these things, on the other hand, can cause an addiction that can bring about many adverse effects especially in young children.

1http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/10-reasons-why-handheld-devices-should-be-banned_b_4899218.html
2 http://www.2machines.com/articles/181304.html

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