Android tablets, iPads, and even smartphones are becoming a hit for the younger generation. Even a 3-year-old can utilize such gadgets to its full potential. For most, it is seen as the most valuable learning tool of this generation considering it as a total package. It has the capability to play educational videos and games which easily attract kids and make it easier to hone their mathematical skills and start building their love for science. Additionally, it prepares every child user in using technology which is helpful in preparation for school and the workplace. This may have rooted from the experiences of the current adult generation on the challenges they faced from learning technology. With this, it is perceived that children must start younger in learning technology so it would be easier for them to adapt with the fast-paced development of technology as they grow older. But for experts, no scientific evidence proved that screen time provides educational or developmental advantages for toddlers. Moreover, it becomes first step on understanding how too much screen time affects the brain especially for babies.
Crucial Years of Child’s Development
Of course, this does not eliminate the fact that learning technology is helpful if started earlier. However, for the first few years of life, it is not advisable for children to obtain access to such gadgets. Too much screen time affects the brain of children as it hinders them from doing social development activities such as interpreting facial expressions, deciphering language, and interacting with their environment. In fact, such hindrances cause behavior problems and delayed social development for older children.
During 1½ to 3 years of age, language development expands rapidly for kids, and studies have shown that children learn best when engaging and interacting with older people who talk and play with them. With too much screen time during these crucial years, it inhibits the child’s ability to observe and experience the daily activities which are beneficial for learning about the world thus leading to a “tunnel vision” detrimental to the overall development of the kid.
How Does Too Much Screen Time Affect the Brain of Children?
Contrary to what the majority of parents believe, toddlers are just captivated by the TV shows but do not learn from them until the age of 2. Some evidence shows that kids watching a lot of television during early elementary school years perform less on reading tests and may show deficits in attention.
2018 data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that children spending a screen time of two hours or more scored lower on language and thinking skills. Additionally, children with more than seven hours of screen time experienced a thinning of their brain’s cortex, the part responsible for critical thinking and reasoning. These results somehow refute the claims of parents that the use of tablets helps in readying children for school. Hence, usage poses both beneficial and detrimental effects on the child’s development.
When and How to Introduce Tables to Children?
For most of parents and guardians who see tablets as beneficial rather than detrimental, it is hard to justify how too much screen time affects the brain. With this, it is better to educate the imposition of time limits on the child’s technology usage. But how can one identify the recommended screen time which will contribute to the intellectual development of their children? Furthermore, with how too much screen time affects the brain, is it still ideal to provide kids with tablets?
Despite the explanations of how too much screen time affects the brain of children, it is still believed that tablets are valuable learning tools for kids. Not only that it provides access to educational games but prepares them on how to adapt to the rapid advancement of technology which is inevitable by the current standards. So, when is the ideal time for children to access such gadgets? How to regulate such use or what are the ideal activities to be done through these gadgets? Here are some of the tips for the parents and guardians.
1. Reach the Appropriate Age First
The development of kids differs from one another. Some are quick to develop their social skills while others start at a later age. But the ideal time to introduce tablets to kids is during their second year of age. It was proven that two-year-old children start their learning process through the activities they engage in. However, if it is observed that your child is having signs of delay in development, it is better to consult a medical expert’s advice to not worsen the delayed development of the children.
2. Educational Activities
Like the traditional toys or activities for children such as the alphabet flashcards, abacus, and color-combination activities, educational games are recommended to be given as a parent or guardian starts to introduce tablets to kids. Subject-based games which will develop their science, language, and mathematical skills can help build the learning foundation of the kids in preparation for school. Other applications related to art and music may help stimulate the creativity of kids which contributes to discovering their talent as they grow.
Basically, giving educational activities which help kids to be focused and engaged is the end goal of these pursuits. In this way, it helps them retain more knowledge and acquire the motivation to keep learning because it could have been perceived to be fun and exciting for them.
3. Supervision and Guidance
Even though children have passed the crucial years of development, their usage must still be guided. With technology and the internet, different types of content are available that sometimes are inappropriate for kids. Hence, it is best for parents and guardians to learn about the parental control feature of apps and gadgets to regulate the content seen by children. Moreover, eyestrain is another detriment of gadget usage. So, to avoid early eyesight problems, time limits must be imposed by adults on their child’s gadget usage. Setting time limits also enables them to interact with the real world by making friends and playing with them. Lastly, it would be helpful to observe their children as they access the internet through the tablet. Even with parental control features, inappropriate content may still be shown to the children. Hence, observing them as they use such gadget help them easily educate the children especially if the content shown is morally wrong and should not be imitated.
4. Proper Timing and Supervision – Duty of Parents and Guardians
It is hard to raise a child even though you want the best for them. You may have the best plans to nurture and help the child in his or her growth, but circumstances suggest otherwise. It is still best to give a keen eye on your kid as he or she grows to feel the proper timing when to give the appropriate activities which are beneficial for his growth. Yes, technology has become a part of our lives. It continuously gives convenience and evolved the way of living of every person in this world. But without appropriate supervision, such may hinder a child’s development and interaction in the world.
Henceforth, the environment of the children is also important for their growth. With this, Bria’s vision is to promote pleasant communities aside from marketing affordable homes. Consistent to its vision, Bria Homes came up with an innovative idea of developing a community center, Sentro, which facilitates the socialization needs not only of the adults but also the children through the playgrounds and daycare center. It acknowledges that real-world interaction is a basic need of children. That being the case, time limits on gadget usage will not be a problem to entertain the kids because of the child-friendly areas of Bria Homes.