Toddlers and Technology

One of Totsy's own Niece

Our kids will never know what a life without wireless devices and touch screens is like. Their future may very well be like that of the Jetsons. But what effect does all this technology going to have on their young development. Have you seen the YouTube video of the baby using an iPad? The video captures her clearly understanding the iPad’s touch capabilities. Then, she is given an actual paper magazine and she thinks it’s broken because nothing happens when she taps the pages.  It’s a cute video. Really.

And its also evidence of one of today’s challenges as a parent. The what and how of parenting with technology. How much is too much? Will not using technology enough make it harder for children when they reach classes that require it? Where does a parent come down on balance?

Just like t.v., video games and cell phones, today’s technology presents another opportunity for parents to use it as a learning tool, but not allow it to become a fixture that replaces other educational or physical development opportunities. And certainly, it should not be used as a substitute parent.

Parents will use their smartphones and other devices to calm their kids down or keep them distracted during long waits and in public situations where a little technology might prevent a meltdown. Like most things in life, it’s a matter of balance. Our Totsy team dug a bit deeper into the situation to give you some of both the positives as well as the negatives surrounding Toddler’s and Technology.

Pros

  • Fine-tunes motor skills: Pushing keys and manipulating a mouse gives those tiny toddler hands and fingers the same type of valuable workout they get from finger painting or doodling (though without the creative kick of more artistic endeavors). This form of “finger activity” also hones in on hand-eye coordination, which will pay off for years to come as your little one learns to catch a ball, use scissors, or put together a tricky puzzle.
  • Teaches Cause and Effect: When your child taps a button or swipes the screen, something happens, encouraging curiosity.
  • Apps Targeted to Toddler’s: The App store has a plethora of apps targeted at toddlers. From flashcards that teach numbers and the alphabet, to learning a new language, to games that involve shapes and colors, your smartphone or tablet can be turned into a classroom.

Cons

  • Not Enough “Face Time”: Kids who are glued to a screen throughout the day are less likely to interact with other kids or adults. As humans, we need to interact with one another, developing emotional and social skills.
  • Lack of Activity: Too much screen time may make your little less active, even later on in life. Toddler’s need hands on time, feeling and touching everything, developing their senses. Get them to play with blocks, get muddy in dirt, or finger paint. Can they do that on your smartphone? Nope! Toddlers also need physical play; it helps build strong muscles and it’s a primary way little kids discover what their bodies can do.
  • Too Much Stimulation: According to Natural News, research presented at SLEEP 2010, the 24th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, has revealed that children who use technology late at night are more prone to develop cognitive problems than children who have regular sleeping patterns that do not involve staying up late on their computers and cell phone. Or in other words, after using technological devices too close to bedtime may make them antsy and hyper, disrupting their sleep schedule. Their bodies basically have been told, “you’re not ready for bed.”

Tune in tomorrow as Totsy’s Chief Mom shares her thought via video.

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