You might have heard things like, “do not expose your children to screen time before they are 2 years of age”, or no phone till they are eight years of age.” While these statements are meant to be for the benefit of children, it is not holistic. It doesn’t put into consideration the peculiarity of every child and home, the interest and the increasing demand of our time. While some argue that it is not alright to introduce your baby to phones, tablets, and video games early, some believe it is ok.
I believe in balance. Weighing the benefits against the consequences, putting in place measures to ensure the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of your child is what should determine when you introduce your baby to technology.
When do you introduce Technology to your child?
You can introduce your baby, who is an infant to technology appropriate for his age. From when babies are born, they take a keen interest in what their parents do. If you spend much time with your phone, you see your baby develop an interest in your phone early and if your time is much around the television, your infant begins to enjoy television time. Install age-appropriate videos and songs suitable for a six months old on your smartphone or home theatres.
For preschoolers, there are more amazing and more advances technology they can be introduced to. Instead of just videos and songs, identifying numbers and colours, there are coding basics available to help your five-year-old learn great life skills. You bring in fun hands-on games and activities that can be used with either a family tablet or their tablet which also has a parental control feature activated. While playing with physical objects, they think like programmers, solving life hacks.
Some parents wait till the primary school or elementary school stage to introduce them to technology. By this time, the children are beginning to become independent and aware of themselves. Many at this age can play video games, phone games, so whatever device you give, make sure to have parental control activated on them to protect them from the unrestricted information available on the internet.
Benefits of Technology for your child
- Technology encourages learning and development in a child. A less than a two-year-old child is singing “baby shark” and “Black black black sheep,” which children in our time weren’t singing before age four. You will be amazed at how many intellectual and problem-solving skills they build from a very young age.
- Your little one’s language and communication skills will improve. Learning new words and spellings are part of the fun things they do on their tablets. An example is the Spelling app, “Akili’s Alphabet.”
- Technology can also help your baby’s visual to hand coordination.
- Have you seen the way children rally around each other when one of them has a tablet to play with? It helps in developing their social skills. Teaching them the skill of sharing things, ideas, and learning together as a team.
- Children can develop mathematical and coding skills early through some of these technology built mainly for this purpose.
In conclusion, whatever you do, do not open social media account for your children less than 13 years of age to handle by themselves.