As adults, media and technology are seamlessly woven into our everyday lives. We rely on our devices to help us navigate our day, they provide constant entertainment, and can even serve an educational purpose. As adults, we have a tendency to allow our technology to become an extension of ourselves. But when it comes to our children, how liberal should we be about their use of technology?
“You want your kids to be technologically adept, but without giving them so much screen time that it's not healthy for development,” said Elise Hu on her NPR segment “All Things Considered”. This can be true for children older than 2, as there are many age-appropriate products on the market that can aid in early learning. But the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that children under the age of two not be allowed any screen time, regardless of the quality of programming or device.
"The concern for risk is that some kids who watch a lot of media actually have poor language skills, so there's a deficit in their language development. We also have concerns about other developmental issues because they're basically missing out on other developmentally appropriate activities," says Dr. Ari Brown, the lead author on the American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement discouraging screen time for babies under 2.
From birth until age three, a baby’s brain is rapidly developing and learning from its environment. It is during this time that they are learning to watch, listen and touch people and objects around them. Electronic devices hinder their concept of space, time and awareness because devices cannot interact in the same way. Despite our advances in technology and the variety that surrounds us, the most effective method of teaching young children is an active and engaged parent or teacher directly talking to and interacting with the child.
"We still have questions. If you're planning on using interactive media with your child, use it with your child, sit down with your child and engage with them because that's going to be more valuable than anything," Brown says.
Here at the Friends Center for Children, our commitment to a technology-free environment goes back to one of our core values of simplicity. We have a listening center where children can listen to books on tape, but that is the extent of our use of technology in the classroom. Our preference is a natural environment where children are free to engage with the world around them and determine their own meaning through expression and exploration, rather than through a screen.
For more information, and to listen to Elise Hu’s entire segment, visit:
To read the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Policy Statement: “Children, Adolescents, and the Media”, click the link below:
To read the entire post at Too Small to Fail, click here: