Technology and Little Ones

Technology and Little Ones

It’s nearly impossible to raise your children without them having access to technology, you might have to go as far as traveling to to Mars. Even Mars has technology that we have left behind, though. Limiting when they get their first taste of technology is also a difficult task. By the time they are born, it is already too late.

Technology is everywhere. Consider the increasing number of parents who will put their baby in a crib with a baby monitor or camera. They might even attach some type of monitor to the baby. Before you know it the baby will probably receive some sort of toy that requires 2 AA batteries.

It is somewhat unnecessary to worry about early use of smartphones as long as you don’t overdo their exposure. In fact, the earlier your child learns to use a smartphone or tablet the quicker they adapt and learn. We talk about tech as if it is a separate category of beast. When in fact, it is just a part of what makes up our world. Here are a few things to consider when making tech available to your little one:

children-learning-888892_640Provide Ample Protection for the Tech and the Child

An iPhone 6 probably seems like a giant desktop computer to a baby. It has buttons, makes noises, lights up, displays moving pictures, and responds to the slightest input. It is the ultimate baby toy. It is also the ultimate toy for adults. For all the same reasons.

The difference is that adults have a much better idea of how to use it safely. Children have to be taught. And while they are being taught, they have to be protected from their own lack of understanding, limited attention span, and fine motor skills.

The absence of these things can also lead to damage of your expensive devices. That is why some cases are better than others when your phone is being shared with a little one. There are iPhone 6 cases that are made with the same protective technology as sports helmets and pads. Broken technology is no good for either child or adult. So before allowing access to devices, be sure that the devices are protected.

Age-Appropriateness

It is crazy to buy a toddler an iPhone. But there are plenty of toy smartphones that flash lights and make fun noises. That toy is also technology. It is not whether a little one should ever be allowed to use a smartphone. It is a matter of making sure they are limited to age-appropriate uses.

When you hand over your iPhone to the three-year-old to FaceTime with grandma, they are using the iPhone in a pretty advanced way, but quite appropriately. It is all about finding the ideal technology for children at every age.

Some research shows that 25% of kids between 4 and 6 spend 50 minutes a day on computers. Your child is said to be mature enough to watch educational programming as young as 1. By age 2, they can use an e-reader for story time. By age 4, it is time for the Internet with supervision. It is not about the tech. It is about the right usage and the right amount at the right age.

Setting Boundaries

Even when they are old enough to use technology independently, they will still need to have boundaries. There are few boundaries you can set that a clever child can’t get around. But at least getting around those boundaries helps to develop necessary skills as adults. If you do not know how to set up parental controls on your iOS device, there are a number of tutorials that can get you up and running. If you’re using an Android device, you will have to look for information on your particular device. Beyond the common OS core, they all work a little differently.

If you want to go beyond the settings on your device there are countless apps that provide monitoring features enabling concerned parents to track virtually every page viewed, and keystroke made.

You can’t stop your kids from using technology. Nor should you try. Only, protect your tech and your child. Make it age-appropriate, and use parental controls to keep everyone safe.

Comments

  1. Katie says:

    This makes sense. My daughter is a toddler and knows exactly where youtube is and which videos are her favorites. Nothing like that when we were little.

  2. Betsy Barnes says:

    When my son was growing up, there was no smartphones or tablets. The internet was just beginning. I can’t imagine raising a child with all this technology. 🙂

  3. Sarah L says:

    Ah, makes me feel really old. The most our parents had to worry about was what was on TV.

  4. We really limit our children’s electronic time. They get just 20 minutes each weekday evening, and only after homework is finished.

  5. G K says:

    I remember having a Game Boy when I was a kid, and I was so careful with it that I bought a protective case. It prepared me for a cell phone.

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