Technology is here to stay and to play a bigger role in our lives. Our children are waking up in the age of technology. They have not seen dial-up connections or anything less than a smartphone or a tablet. They are the new generation that thrives on technology.
Why the curiosity?
Who wouldn’t love pressing some buttons and making things happen? Children find technology
fascinating as it allows them to do clever things. Computers for example require the manual skills that young children do not possess but with the invention of tablets, manual skills are redundant. The tablets are small enough to hold and the swipe-system is a toddler-dream come true. And if you hand over your tablet to the app generation and they will give you a lesson or two in technology. Surveys done by manufacturers show that a third of babies know how to use these devices before they can even talk.
In the past, there have been concrete studies pointing to the negative effects of television and video games claiming that fast-changing and attention-grabbing images on TV may cause concentration problems in children. But what about tablets and smartphones? Are they equally harmful?
Today smartphones and tablets have become the new-age, electronic nanny. It’s tempting to rely on this nanny considering the research on the negative effects of these gadgets is too nascent and the negative effects of microwaves on the developing tissues of infant are uncertain.
Opponents argue that too much time on these gadgets can become highly addictive, especially if unsupervised, and can deprive a child from interacting with the world, developing his/her social skills and from physical development.
- The good news
Having said that, we can’t deny the pros of these gadgets. They allow technology to be a part of our children’s lives at an early age and will benefit
them in a future that will revolve around technology. They will become familiar with the interface and at finding things through trial-error. There is an array of baby-oriented apps for adult tablets and tablets specially created for toddlers. Some of these apps may help in language and cognitive-skill development.
Until there are further studies proving or disproving the negatives of phones and tablets, paediatricians suggest limiting your child’s exposure to these gadgets to an hour a day. Children should also not have easy access to them in their rooms.
Too much of anything is bad, our elders say. Maybe it’s not true of technology but let’s play safe until the verdict is out.