Kids and technology. Even if we chose to fight it, little can be done as technology is appealing to younger and younger audiences, and the education system is being transformed to not only accommodate technology, but depend on it. Schools are seeing one laptop or iPad per child and smart boards galore.
For parents, one of the lucrative ‘features’ of an iPad is that it can instantly captivate a screaming and upset child, or whilst driving in the car. If you’ve felt guilt about plonking an iPad screen in front of your child to achieve some peace at the least, you can rest a little bit easier as currently, there is no evidence that it will have a negative impact on your child’s cognitive or physical development. Of course, so long as it’s in moderation.
Now-a-days, kids as young as two are navigating touch screens faster and more aptly than us.
“A 2011 study from the nonprofit group Common Sense Media found that more than half of all children have access to a touch device such as an iPad or smartphone. The study also found that more than a quarter of parents have downloaded apps specifically for their kids to use.” // whattoexpect.com
In recent years these figures have increased, but it’s important to know the good and the bad of tablet use amongst kids.
THE BENEFITS OF IPADS FOR KIDS
Studies are coming through showing tangible benefits for the young children who use them. Certain apps have been shown to develop and improve a child’s vocabulary and mathematics skills, as well as boosting language use and social interaction.
“A 2013 study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood found that digital games (which are interactive and can foster creativity) seem to affect children differently than TV (which is not typically interactive). The researchers discovered that while excessive TV watching slightly increased a child’s risk for conduct problems, age-appropriate digital games did not.” // whattoexpect.com
Of course, they’re just a lot of fun for kids also, and they’re kids! They’re supposed to be having fun.
THE PITFALLS OF IPADS FOR KIDS — AND SOME GUIDELINES
Everything in moderation. Even though there are benefits to iPad use amongst kids, there are of course pitfalls as mentioned briefly above. Kids still need to learn how to occupy their own minds when external stimulation is not present. That is, use their imagination.
My personal opinion is that it can also take away from physical exercise and activity, which is equally important.
“Your child can’t feel an app the way she can feel her stuffed animal or her dress-up clothes.” // whattoexpect.com
Just make sure it isn’t the only activity that your kids learn from. A little bit of everything is important. Your best bet is to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines, which stipulate that no more than two hours of screen time per day for kids two and up (none for those younger than two). Screens should be kept out of your child’s bedrooms also. Of course, make sure what they are viewing is appropriate for them.
Can Technology Change Education? Yes!