Yesterday a friend of mine posted this article Why the iPad is a far bigger threat to our children than anyone realises. It spoke about all the things that I have said repeatedly in regards to using technology as a nanny for children. For me personally, I will not be buying any of the stuff mentioned in this article for my children. I don’t believe in parking children in front of screens. It messes with their social skills and attention spans.
When the little girl pointed at the sweets at the checkout, her mother said: ‘No, they’re bad for your teeth.’ So her daughter, who was no more than two, did what small children often do at such times. She threw a tantrum.
What happened next horrified me. The embarrassed mother found her iPad in her bag and thrust it into her daughter’s hands. Peace was restored immediately.
This incident, which happened three years ago, was the first time I saw a tablet computer used as a pacifier.
I’m not a parent but I was once a child. I did not always get what I wanted. You know what? It is okay to not give your children everything they ask for. In my opinion this is lazy parenting. I would have just ignored the tantrum.
Today, on average, children spend five to six hours a day staring at screens. And they’re often on two or more screens at once – for example, watching TV while playing on an iPad.
Because technology moves so fast, and children have embraced it so quickly, it’s been difficult for parents to control it.
You’re the parent and have TOTAL control over it. They don’t spend 5 to 6 hours staring at a screen if you don’t buy them. No TV’s in their rooms. Spend time with the family in the living room. Learn interpersonal skills and building family relationships.
Recent research found 10 per cent of children under four are put to bed with a tablet computer to play with as they fall asleep.
What happened to reading a book? Read a book to your child before they go to bed. Does no one have time to nurture children anymore? Bedtime stories are where it’s at folks!
This is not the only worry. It’s not just what children get up to onscreen that affects their overall development. It’s what screens displace – all the activities they’re not doing in the real world.
Today’s children have far fewer opportunities for what I call ‘real play’. They are no longer learning through first-hand experiences how to be human and are much less likely to play or socialise outdoors or with others.
Outdoors are full of fun! There’s rollerskating, learning how to ride a bike, sports activities, swimming. Bring your kids to a park and let them play with others. While you’re at it get off your phones and watch them, play with them, interact!
The change in children’s play has happened in little more than a couple of decades. While many parents feel uneasy about all that screen-time, they haven’t tackled it as they’ve been so busy keeping up with changes in their own lives.
You had the child it is your responsibility to raise the child. The tablet or TV is not a nanny. Parents’ feel uneasy about all the screen-time? The don’t allow it!!!!!!!
If the neural pathways that control social and imaginative responses aren’t developed in early childhood, it’s difficult to revive them later. A whole generation could grow up without the mental ability to create their own fun, devise their own games and enjoy real friendships – all because of endless screen-time.
This is a sad and scary situation.
Real play develops initiative, problem-solving skills and many other positive traits, such as a can-do attitude, perseverance and emotional resilience. It’s vital for social skills, too.
By playing together, youngsters learn to get along with other people. They discover how others’ minds work, developing empathy.
And, as real play is driven by an innate desire to understand how the world works, it provides the foundation for academic learning.
This. All of this.
Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield says: ‘We cannot park our children in front of screens and expect them to develop a long attention span.’
She also worries about the effects of technology on literacy. ‘Learning to read helps children learn to put ideas into logical order,’ she says. ‘On the other hand, staring at a screen puts their brains into suspended animation.’
Reading is so so so important.
Dr Aric Sigman, who has amassed a huge database of research linking children’s screen-time to ADHD, autism and emotional and behavioural disorders, also points to the conflict between screen-based activity and reading.
‘Unlike screen images, words don’t move, make noises, sing or dance. Ultimately, screen images render the printed word simply boring at a crucial phase when the child’s mind is developing,’ he says.
Reading is not boring if they learn to immerse themselves in the stories and let their brains imagine the worlds being created in the pages. The words on the pages therefore can move, make noise, sing and dance if their imaginations are allowed to develop.
Some say children need to use technology because that’s the way the world is going. But there’s no need to give little children high-tech devices.
Modern technology develops at a phenomenal rate – any IT skills that children learn before the age of seven will be long past their sell-by date by the time they reach their teens.
But self-confidence, emotional resilience, creative thinking, social skills and the capacity for focused thought will stand them in good stead whatever the future brings.
Learning how to be a human being stays with you forever. Technology is always changing.
Yes the irony is well noted by the following facts:
- This is an online article
- posted on an internet blog
- While I sit at a computer.
I’m an adult who grew up outside. I learned social, interpersonal, and academic skills. I was a cheerleader, did some gymnastics, played a little softball, loved the park, riding my bike, ice and roller skating, playing outside with my friends, swimming (still do), climbing trees, reading and going to school. In fourth grade I joined a club at school that thought up ways to save the environment. By 5 or 6 I was riding a bike without training wheels. Around 7 or 8 I taught myself how to fix bike chains when they came off their tracking. I played with barbies and created their imaginative lives and styled their hair. Played school with my baby dolls, gave them all names, and wrote them down in an attendance book. My lite bright was awesome and so was the etch-a-sketch. I drew pictures. I loved art. Played with play doh. Loved legos (still do). Puzzles were fun and I remember many nights playing UNO with the family. Board games were the best! Some of the ones I remember include: Monopoly, Pretty pretty princess, Sorry, Trouble, Hungry Hungry Hippo, Candy land, Mouse Trap, Guess who, Operation, Perfection, Memory Cards, Mall Maddness and the list can go on… You get the point. We had video games but we weren’t allowed on them all day. We had bed times. We were parented. So I did my time 🙂
**This is not a sweeping generalization about all parents. Least not from me. I apologize if it comes off that way.