Nowadays it is impossible to imagine our world without modern digital technologies: games, training videos, learning apps, and development sites. Most kids spend a huge amount of time at the computer and one of the great debates of parenting today is how safe it is for their well-being and whether screen time and digital media actually help or ruin children’s health.
At what age to introduce a child to the digital world? How much time should a child spend in front of the screen? What kind of media is the most appropriate for kids and what are the criteria to choose? These and other questions are most often discussed on parenting forums and in this article, we will try to express our point of view on these issues.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stated that from 15 months old children can already gradually get to know and learn the world of technology. However, there is no doubt that screen time should be limited and controlled by parents. It is recommended that kids between the ages of 2 and 5 should spend no more than an hour a day with digital media. Otherwise, there will be a lack of any other important experiences and activities in their lives.
Since children develop and learn by interacting in society, it is better to spend time at the computer with your child. Cooperating with an adult through video-chatting or a learning app designed to teach kids language, for instance, your child will easily absorb new words and start using them in speech. So, play and learn together.
What is more important, it is parents’ responsibility to choose the content carefully for their children. There are countless YouTube videos about how to teach your toddler or preschooler whatever you prefer but you have to be accurate and cast only qualitative and meaningful games and learning programs.
The more worthwhile apps for the kids you choose, the better and more positive role screen time will perform. Digital media can become an incredible source of teaching children the skills they need to be successful in school and life if you use it knowingly and purposefully.
What if I use screen time to keep my child calm while I am busy is another question that often arises on the parenting forums. We believe that there is nothing wrong with occasionally allowing toddlers to spend time in front of the screen on their own. However, there are three important points to keep in mind. Firstly, you must be absolutely sure that it is a trusted app to keep your child busy for a while. Secondly, remember that screen time for little ones should be limited mostly to educationally enriching content. And finally, turning to screen time shouldn’t be the only tool you use to keep your child busy when something important comes up that demands your attention.
The actual use of screen time is not the only means to educate and entertain a child. Despite the fact that now we absolutely cannot imagine our life without digital media, do not forget that old is gold and there is an invaluable experience of previous generations of parents who used technology in a different mode. For example, print all kinds of off-screen activities for your kids, like free printable worksheets to promote varied and balanced educational opportunities for the kids. Please, follow the link and check what Kids Academy offers printable worksheets PDF.