Despite the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping through Lafayette, IN, and the rest of the world, parents have more options today with regards to children than their ancestor of 100 years ago during the Spanish Flu. Technology has given both parents and children much greater access to knowledge, interaction, and entertainment.
For Generation X, and people in Lafayette, IN born from the 80s onward, there has never been a world without computers. Concepts like “computer literacy” no longer apply as everyone knows how to use a smartphone or a word processor. Still, some people expose their children to phones and tablets as early as six months of age. But is that appropriate?
You will want your children to be techno literate, but when is the right time to do so?
Interaction In The Early Years
It’s important to remember that the first few years of a child’s life are formative. Crucial to this development is a lot of varied and novel interactions. Relegating a child to a lot of tablet-based technology right from the start can harm the way the children interpret the world around them. That’s not to say that parents must keep phone and tablet screens away from the view of children, but allowing regular access to them at a very young age is not conducive.
Every child will be different, but in general terms, the recommended age to allow children access to a tablet is about two years old. This will have given children enough time to interact with the world around them and form a foundation for their perceptions. Some parents may feel that they’d like to start their children out earlier. In contrast, others feel more comfortable not introducing children to tablets until pre-school. Every situation will vary.
How To Interact
Most adults use tablets and phones for communication and the consumption of social media. However, for children, it’s not recommended, for example, to just put on Netflix and leave them to it. That’s an easy action to take, but a tablet, being interactive, can be much more than a portable TV screen.
Tablets and other software/hardware combinations can be useful learning tools as well. Be sure to take advantage of the many different types of dedicated children’s educational apps and software available. Everything from literacy to music or art awareness can be included in tablets as part of a child’s educational development.
However, it’s important to remember that tablets and phones can perform a range of different functions. Not all of them are appropriate for children. Once children have had a taste for what a tablet or phone offers, there will be a temptation to use it when parents aren’t present.
Always make sure to safeguard your devices with appropriate parental controls. Create children’s accounts for older children, and make sure to monitor their usage.
If you live in Lafayette, IN, and you have questions about child care or need child care services, we’re here for you. Contact Little Steps Daycare and let us help.