We live in a digital society. Everyone feels the need to be continuously plugged in. We read, write, play games and do research on our phones. We wonder what people did before the internet, before Google, before smartphones.
Our children are digital natives. They were born long after the invention of these technologies that can be such a blessing and a curse. They are no longer learning in the same way we once did. Information is always available right at the touch of a button, screen time has increased exponentially. This is exciting…and scary.
Currently, not much research exists that show the outcomes of excessive technology use for young children, but, as anything else, moderation is key. Furthermore, we must find ways to adapt to new ways while holding true to what we know works. We know children learn best through relationships; however, we also know that children will have access to their parents’ smartphones, ipads and other devices. It is our responsibility to nurture our children and help them to learn and grow, as parents and caregivers we need to set explicit and clear parameters.
The American Academy of Pediatricians recommends that kids screen time is limited to 1-2 hours a day for children and adolescents and avoided for children younger than 2. I also know that this recommendation is often either ignored or impossible for families to ignore. In that spirit, I suggest that children under two don’t have any unsupervised access, and children over two should be strictly limited to regular screen time hours as much as possible. However, I would also suggest that any time spent with devices and/or television should be heavily monitored and intentional. Here are a few apps that highlight tried and tested (kid and teacher approved) apps. (DISCLAIMER: children learn best in relationships, so play these games WITH your child whenever possible and extend these activities into everyday conversations and routines.)
For academic readiness
- Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Oceanhouse Media
- Elmo Calls by Sesame Street
- Elmo’s Monster Maker (iphone only) by Sesame Street
- Peekaboo Barn, Peekaboo Forest by Night and Day Studios
- Kids ABC Letters Lite by Intellijoy
- Read Me Stories by 8Interactive
For social emotional development
- Tuli Emotions by IMB Argentina
- The Moon Secrets HD by Playtales Books
- Things to think about by Jackson County Intermediate School District
Any puzzle apps, books, and alphabet and number knowledge apps are also great, but remember to use in moderation, play with an adult whenever possible and turn the phone, tablet or computer after a half hour and turn on REAL life experiences.
NOTE: Any apps that teach children in the home language, are more important than any of the ones I previously mentioned!!!!