By Caitlin Bootsma
Consultant to the VIRTUS® Programs
Like sleep training methods, attachment parenting and educational choices before it, technology use is the most recent parenting issue in the so-called “mommy wars.” Many parents have extremely strong opinions about letting their toddlers use computers and hand-held electronic devices.
Famously, Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs shared that he limited his own children’s technology use—they don’t use IPads. That said, other experts praise the use of these devices to aid child development.
Here are just a few of the pros and cons to help you can make up your own mind!
Pro: Devices can be an educational tool, teaching colors, shapes, numbers and letters.
Con: Many kids miss out on learning these concepts in a tactile way where they are interacting with the world around them.
Pro: Devices teach cause and effect at an early age. If a child clicks, something happens on the screen.
Con: This phenomenon can keep children from expressing needs verbally and instead teach a more passive way of getting results.
Pro: Children adapt quickly and learn hand-eye coordination necessary for operating games on these devices.
Con: Overreliance on computer devices can lead to issues such as diminished social skills, bad eyesight, obesity and a lack of natural curiosity/creativity.
Pro: Some argue that early technology use prepares children for a technology-dominated culture.
Con: Others respond that technology can easily be introduced later, at a less critical time in a child’s brain development. Exposing children to books, games and the outdoors, they argue, will give them an edge over children who spent many hours a day glued to a screen.
As adults, we know that hand-held devices are tools. After all, I am typing this on my computer, with my smartphone sitting next to me. Like any tool, however, as parents and caregivers we must decide what role, if any, it should play in the development and education of the children in our care.
(For more Pros and Cons, visit here)