Technology has undoubtedly impacted positively on many aspects of modern living. More than ever before, we are able to connect with almost anyone in the world at the touch of a button.Technology has also revolutionised the way we do business, and the Internet has created a single platform from which to communicate with a global audience. The appropriate use of technology has given us the ability to solve problems we previously thought were unsolvable. However, the key word here is “appropriate”. As with any good thing, moderation is important. This is even more crucial when considering the impact of technology on the development of young minds.
Most parents can attest to the fact that their children are more technologically savvy at a young age than what they could ever dream of being. We see 2-year-olds operating password protected iPads and taking selfies before they are even speaking in sentences. Although technology has many advantages, parents need to be aware of the potential harmful effects of overexposure to technology at a young age. It is difficult to determine the long-term effects of exposure to technology. As such, we appeal to parents to make responsible decisions regarding the use of technology in their homes. There is no substitute for human connection and interaction to stimulate learning.
The following article reviews existing research on the positive and potentially negative effects of exposure to technology in children aged 0-5. The article also highlights the use of technology as a shared parent-child activity as well as the importance of exposing children to other activities that are crucial for their development:
In addition, factors to consider when making decisions about the use of technology in your home include the fact that children are excellent mimics of adult behaviour. Parents need to model healthy screen time habits for their children to follow. For more guidelines on how to manage screen time in the home environment, consult one of the following resources:
With thanks to the American Academy of Pediatrics
Pediatrics Nov 2016, 138 (5) e20162591; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2016-2591
Please note that the use of technology by children as described above refers to recreational use, and not as a communication tool for children with special communication needs.