When kids start to grow older after some months, you no longer have to swaddle them with Swaddle Blankets. As they start to become toddlers kids start to outgrow their crib and even their rooms and have to move to bunk beds or share a room with another sibling. With this transition comes some independence and with this independence comes a need for supervision by the parent. In the world of consumer technology and hand-held devices, many parents wonder how much technology is just right for kids and how much is too much. Too much technology and screen time are not good and at the same time, too little might mean the kids could fall behind their peers in learning. These days, everything is done with technology. 5-year-olds have pads and are given homework assignments on those iPads. The benefits of education by technology is undeniable and it is also becoming more and more common. As kids advance in school, they use more and more technology is an aid to their learning process. Assignments are given online, they are asked to by e-books and other learning audios. For example, young toddlers learning to read have e-books that come with graphics and audio vocabulary that highlights repeated consonants to support the skills that new readers need. Parental interaction is always helpful but the evidence is emerging that the inclusion of digital support for new readers is a real help to some parents, especially those whose own literacy skills are not strong.
There are other advantages that technology contributes to young children. The exposure to other cultures and ideas different from theirs is one of them. Kids can see parts of the world they would’ve otherwise not seen before, they can learn about cultures, languages, ways of life different from theirs just not by word of mouth, but by actually seeing it and interacting with people from these other cultures, through technology. Connecting is another advantage of technology. Kids can connect with their loved ones through Skype and other video platforms. They can connect with grandparents, uncles and aunts, and parents when they are away. When kids get a little older and can have their own devices, parents can keep track of their kids’ location using this device.
Despite these advantages, we all know that things should be done in moderation. If kids are allowed to spend time with their tablets and phones is much is they want, it won’t be too good for their development and their ability to show restraint. Parents must ensure that kids have time for other activities that do not require technology such is interacting with other kids, helping around the house, and developing social skills such as making eye contact and being sociable to guests. Parental instincts and common sense tell us that overexposure of kids to their screen can have negative consequences. Research has shown that kids who spend the most time excessively watching TV and playing video games show poorer performance in reading and language arts, lower attention-span, and a higher risk of obesity among kids. TV has been particularly seen to have more intense negative effects is other technological devices. TV watching is a passive experience that does not require brain activity and so time spent watching tv is essentially time wasted. Other devices like computers or tablet, require some form of activity. There are e-books, games, and other programs on computers that lead children to give an input, make decisions, take action, and observe the outcome.
A growing number of experts on kids and media are beginning to question whether TV belongs in the same category as other screen activities. Most TV watching is a passive experience, but the interactivity of a tablet game or ebook lets a child have input, make decisions, take action, and observe the outcome.
A quote by Dr. Barry Zuckerman, professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine says:
“Now, mobile technology presence is growing in leaps and bounds, and it is changing family life in different ways. The need for new research into what the detrimental effects might be, as well as what the positive aspects might be, is becoming vitally important.”
No matter how much screen time you let your kids have, it is important that whatever they are viewing should be monitored. The internet is a dark hole full of many dangers. When a kid is looking down on their screen it can be hard to know what they are looking at. This is why it is important to set monitoring plans in place to restrict and the type of content your kid sees. It is also important to have a talk with your kid and let them know what is off limits and also let them know how to behave online.
Cyberbullying is another problem that kids face with online access and use of devices. They could be at the receiving end or t the giving end of bullying and parents who don’t monitor their kids’ use of devices closely would not even be aware of it. The ability to be anonymous online cause some people to be mean or bully others because they feel there are no consequences for their actions. This is especially common among tweens and teenagers. Some statistics show that 33% of teenagers report having been cyberbullied, while others put the figure nearer 15%.
Technology and the use as social media has been shown to rewire our brains and for kids with growing young brains, this is not a good thing. Many research has shown that the side of the brain that lights up when our phone rings or we get a text message os the same part that lights up when a person uses hard drugs like cocaine. The instant gratification of social media and texting and Googling are changing the nature of our thought patterns and expectations, and our brains are reshaping themselves to adapt. Our brain will always adapt and our brain constantly rewires itself. Activities like learning a new instrument, learning a new language or visiting a new place all rewire our brain. It is up to parents to ensure that the things influencing their kids’ brains are not violent, out of control or impeding their normal development