I was particularly interested in this topic because Amelie loves playing with my smart phone and she watches TV a lot when she’s at home. Since, she doesn’t speak clearly yet, I’m starting to worry a bit with this habit. So, I really want to know what the best approach is and what other people’s experience.
It turns out that people have different approach about giving kids gadget, some allow their kids to play with gadget for a limited time and weekend only, some doesn’t let them play at all, some let their kids play as much as they want. However, one thing that people agree, allowing kids to play with their gadget without control or parents supervision is a big no no.
Here are my notes from the talkshow:
For children under two, it would be best to limit screen time as much as possible
A child under two year old shouldn’t be exposed to any gadget or TV yet. This is because they have a lot to learn and catch up. A newborn up to year two must learn about two-way communication with others, make an eye contact, develop their muscle and motoric skills etc. So, one way communication like watching TV or playing with gadget is not recommended.
Internet is like a farmer’s market, you shouldn’t let your kids wandering around by themselves
There are enormous amount of information in the internet (both good and bad). Imagine internet is like a giant mall or a market where there are many people wandering around, selling goods and/or services, and billion other random stuff. Children will quickly learn how to operate a gadget (in this case, navigate around the market), but they have not yet able to determine whether the information they obtain is good or bad. They also need to know that social ethic in the internet should be the same as in the real world. The way we communicate with others (what we say to other and listen to what people told us) must be in the same standard as if that person standing in a front of us.
The point is, if your children have not yet able to filter these information, then you either have to supervise all the information they receive or limit their access to those information. You would never let your toddler playing around in a mall by themselves right?
Children are the best observer; they will follow their parent’s behavior
This means that we as a parent must also limit our gadget use. If they see the parents continuously holding on to their gadget, it is only a matter of time that they will do exactly the same.
There is always a risk of addiction, so beware!
Playing with the smartphone, being active in social media, games, online shopping, these stuff could be highly addictive. Being an addict means someone that couldn’t function well without consuming or using that particular item/substance/thing. There’s a long stretch before someone becomes an addict, but I surely don’t want to always play youtube video in order to make my kid sit still and eat on the table. That’s scary.
Tips and tricks from other parents
1. Have a specific schedule for playing those gadget. For example, you only allow your kids to play their smartphone on the weekend for 30 minutes only.
2. Hide the gadget and subscribe magazine instead
3. Only watch videos or youtube that are related with their activities. For example, the kids are about to color, then the parents and the kids would watch youtube video together about coloring.
My own takes
I have to admit, I am guilty as charge on letting my toddler girl playing with smart phone too early. Sometimes it’s easier to hand my kid the smart phone so she could stay still even for half hour and then I could get things done, like watching my favorite tv show, cooking, or simply just relaxing. This creates a bad habit. 🙁
For the last couple of days, l hide my iphone and my laptop away from my kid, and I try to limit the TV time as well. Instead, I would read a book or ask her to play with paints or her other toys. It’s hard though, I mean, I used to scroll my instagram feed all the time or read emails or chat with someone (I guess I’m also become too dependent with my phone as well). Yes, the house is messy but my husband and I agree that this is better than her playing with youtube all the time.
What do you think mom x dad? Do you agree with any of the above?