How much Technology is good for your child?

Wonderful, exciting and innovative are a few of the words that you hear when people are describing their latest electronic acquisition.  Smart phones, I-Pods, I-Pads, Samsung Galaxy … the list continues to grow. You can easily feel that if you don’t jump on the “technological” train, then you are certainly going to be left behind.  Some may feel so “out of touch” that they feel that they are alone in the wilderness or stranded on a desert island. (I know that I do, frequently).

On the other hand, the children being born today know no other world and seem to arrive in-built with an innate knowledge of how to work their way around these devices with astonishing ease.  I work with young children everyday and I have observed a remarkable change in how tech-savvy these children are, even more so just in the last two years.

When I asked a 5 year old the other day what she wanted for her birthday she swiftly replied, “an I-Pad 3.”  So much for wishing for a new doll or a two wheeler bike!

A colleague recently recounted how she had visited her friend for coffee and that the 18 month old was kept amused by playing on the I-Pad.  Not too long ago, the 18 month old would have been occupied playing with lego, digging in the sandpit in the backyard, kicking the ball with Mum, singing songs or looking at books.

Now, I am no doom-sayer who wishes we turned back the clock, but I am going to suggest that technological devices be given to very young children to play with, in MODERATION.

Leading paediatricians in the USA recommend that children under two years of age should not be looking at any screens, television or computer, of any type or size.  Paediatricians say this because the first two years of life (in fact the first five years) are the critical years for children to acquire language.

Children learn language, not from TV, DVD’s or educational computer programmes or games.  Children learn language through talking to another human, usually their primary care giver, which is most often their mother or father.

There are other really important skills that children learn when they are very young including:

  • How to take turns when talking to another person
  • How to look someone in the eye when they are talking to you and you are talking to them
  • How to concentrate on an activity by themselves without needing to be constantly “entertained”
  • How to listen to others and not continually interrupt

Yes, it is almost essential in this day and age for your child to know how to operate a mouse, navigate a computer programme or download an App,….but all in good time.

Very young children (under 3 years) need lots of one on one interaction time with another adult talking and playing.

For any queries about your child’s communication development feel free to contact us at Tyquin Group 33998028 or info@tyquin.com.au