I've been experiencing quite the case of the terrible two's with my son lately, and it's becoming more and more stressful to handle the energy and temper. A few of my mom friends shared their methods and many suggested taking advantage of technology. I always preached that I didn't want to be the kind of mother that shoves an iPad in front of my child and calls it a day, but I'm willing to try anything at this point. Will technology ruin my child's development? How does screen time impact toddlers?
Raising a toddler is never an easy time for anyone, so taking advantage of any reprieve is an understandable desire. While the technological and electronic advances of recent years have skyrocketed, many have been geared towards distracting and entertaining children in place of face-to-face play.
Like any parenting hack, there are both pros and cons to allowing your child to use technology at such a young age.
improved visual-spatial development
improved reaction time
improved hand-eye coordination
learn to multi-task
lack of physical play
lack of reading/critical thinking
privacy and safety concerns
social development issues
As you can see, there are quite a few developmental benefits of using technology at such a young age. Various apps that are built specifically for educational purposes can be a great tool to help your little one. As your child gets older, the use of technology can lead to learning decision-making skills and perhaps developing an interest in a potential career in technology.
On the other hand, studies have shown that toddlers with too much screen time report a lower attention span. When a child is taught that the world is at their fingertips on an iPad, that expectation transfers into the real world. While technology can be used for learning, it's also incredibly important that you still practice traditional reading with your toddler and encourage imaginative play. Obesity is also a common concern amongst parents whose children are glued to the screen rather than physically playing. As your child gets older, privacy and safety concerns ratchet up and they may have difficulty interacting socially with their peers.
So, to answer your question, no, technology will not ruin your child's development. However, setting a limit for screen time, monitoring content, and encouraging face-to-face interaction is essential to keep your child on the right track developmentally.
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