How much tablet technology is appropriate for toddlers?
It’s a question I think about all of the time, primarily for two reasons. One is that my husband and I both work in fields where technology is prolific. As a result of this, staying connected through social media, smart phones and tablets has become a big part of our lives.
The other reason is because of my two kids. They are exposed to a high degree of technology due to our lifestyles and really enjoy it.
Is it appropriate to expose them at such a young age (2 ½ and 4 years old)? Lots of parents and educators would probably disagree with me but the reality is that technology is here to stay, specifically tablets. I’m of the mindset that it is better to understand the benefits and shortcomings of it so that I can guide my children because that’s what parents do. We guide our children to the best of our abilities.
We’re a household with multiple tablets and I’ll admit it’s a challenge. Everyone likes their tablet time with Mommy and Daddy; however we put limits on it. We also make sure that we spend time reading with our kids, doing art and spending time outside. It’s a balance. We want them to be comfortable with tablets but we also need to make sure that it’s not a replacement for educational instruction. Simply put, it’s another learning tool at parents’ disposal, albeit a pretty cool one.
I’ve seen parents get wrapped up in the coolness factor of the tablet and forget that it’s a tool. It’s not the silver bullet. It’s another electronic device, just like the VCR. (Doh! Did just date myself?) And the next time you use your tablet or see someone else use it with their toddler, consider its educational value.
Now tell me what you think – when is it appropriate to introduce tablet technology?