In Real Life
November 04, 2011
This video has sparked some controversy about exposing babies and young children to technology. Some people think it’s a shame that the baby thinks the magazine is ‘broken’. It seems to me that the baby is just figuring out that the iPad works one way and the magazine works another. She’s trying out her world. She’s testing those Baby Physics again.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated quite clearly that “pediatricians should urge parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of two years.” This is to include limiting the time exposure as well as limiting the content to appropriate entertainment (no violence, drugs, alcohol, etc.).
I agree completely that screen time should be limited for our children but it would be nearly impossible to completely restrict all exposure to media. We just need to harness the technology and use it appropriately.
Our children are growing up in an age where we can carry the internet in our pockets. They do need to learn their way around a laptop and an iPad. We get upset if the schools don’t have computer labs or the latest technology. Some schools even issue laptops instead of textbooks because laptops are so inexpensive but can be updated so easily. That’s wonderful. The amount of knowledge at our fingertips is incredible and increasing exponentially everyday.
However, there are serious drawbacks to too much screen time. Too much screen time can lead to sleep disturbances, anxiety, and even violence. The AAP policy states that 29% of 2 to 3 year olds have a television in their bedrooms. That’s appalling. Television is designed to attract your attention. The scene changes about every 3 seconds to hold your attention. That is not soothing and relaxing and sleep inducing for anyone especially children.
What we need to remember is everything in moderation. Limit screen time. Use laptops and iPads with your children not as a babysitter. Use the iPad or eReader to read stories to your child. Don’t let the technology take those moments away from you. There’s nothing like sitting down with your kid and reading to them.
Just keep in mind the fact that our bodies are not meant to be sitting in front of a screen for hours on end. Whether you believe in evolution or divine intervention, our bodies still need to move, get exercise, interact with other human beings face-to-face, be hugged, laugh, and connect "IRL".