We’ve all seen a 3-year old, grasping for their parents’ smartphone, or a 4-year old who hasn’t even yet left for pre-school, navigating a tablet better than you can. I mean, I’m still having trouble figuring out how to use 3/4 of my apps. But, should children really be using technology so young, and if so, what is the right age to start introducing technology into their daily lives?
There are so many different answers from psychologists, scientists and studies out there that it’s hard to decide which one to truly believe. And, many of the psychologists, scientists and studies believe that technology shouldn’t be introduced any earlier than the age of 5, and here are the reasons to back this up.
Our children are learning, and that’s what we as parents want, but is it really the best platform, and should we be replacing books entirely with technology? Books are a standard form of learning, and reading can help with attention spans.
But, with tablets, smartphones, video games and computers so easily accessible – even to those who haven’t even hit high school yet, it seems that a lot of children aren’t looking towards books any longer. Having them rely heavily on these devices in their lives isn’t the best option, which is why withholding technology till the age of 5 makes them a lot less dependent on it.
There’s so much information out there that it can make your head spin. And, with that amount of information, and the increasingly fast pace that technology is being invented today, our attention spans just aren’t what they used to be.
Seriously – can you even get through more than two pages in an interesting book without checking your phone and seeing what’s going on out there in the internet world? Then why would a child, who is just learning, be able to concentrate the same, or better?
Moderation for anything is key. Drinking too much milk, or too much water can make your stomach upset, and even eating too much of healthy food items, such as kale, is actually hard on your body. So, why wouldn’t technology be the same?
Watching TV for an hour or two a day isn’t going to change your child completely, but constantly sitting, being on electronic devices can. So when they aren’t old enough to see what technology can do to them, that’s where you intervene.
The sedentary lives that we are all leading today can result in higher chances of obesity. And, with children leaning more and more towards electronics than basic outdoor activities, and with it happening younger and younger, you can see a correlation in the rise of childhood obesity and that soon gives way to adulthood obesity.
So keep your younger kids as far away from technology for as long as possible!
Sure, nearly everyone owns a smartphone nowadays, and usually has a few different platforms of technology to use. And this is expanding into the children's side of the world. However, a child under 5 owning their own smartphone or tablet? A complete no.
What’s she gonna do on the phone or tablet anyway that she can’t do in the real world?
There are countless studies that show that we, as adults, shouldn’t be so plugged-in all the time. Reading e-mails before bed instead of talking to your partner or relaxing? Ignoring guests at your own home because you’re all so busy on your phones?
Stress and sleep deprivation because we can’t stop staring at a tiny screen? Sure, moderating our usage is fine, but if we’re already doing that for ourselves, shouldn’t we be waiting to even introduce our kids to technology until they’re at least 5 years old?
We know that continued use of technology can cause ourselves stress, so wouldn’t this compute towards our children? If you don’t believe us, check this study here.
By constantly trying to keep up with the ever-changing technology and constantly trying to keep up with the ever-changing internet, we can already see the stress forming behind our eyes.
A lot of the stress that we deal with when using electronics is because of work, but keeping up to date in everything from apps to games to Instagram and Facebook can stress out anyone, especially children.
Frequent usage of technology can cause sleep problems in everyone, from children to adults. By moderating their use, and turning off electronics two hours before bed, we can keep our children from falling into the same trap that we always do.
We’ve all been there.
Staring at a screen all day and then all night (even if you’re reading to relax on your kindle or tablet) can cause all kinds of head problems. Starting with the fact that your neck is usually kinked up from sitting in a weird position (gamer position), or the fact that your eyes are constantly staring at a bright computer screen, your head can start to pound after continued repetitive use.
Do you want your child to experience something at the tender age of 3 that you’re experiencing well into your 30s? Absolutely not!
We know that 80% of brain growth happens between the ages of, well, 0 and 3, and we know that human brains develop long into their early 20s. Sure, children can learn how to handle a tablet like nobody’s business, and that may seem great. Remember how long it took you how to learn how to download a simple app?
But, what we’re forgetting is that the brains of children are like sponges and take in everything, and much like sponges, there’s only so much that they can take it.
We’re basically on the cusp of raising children who won’t be able to head out into the world and socialize with others without the use of an electronic device. Don’t believe us? Just watch a group of friends gather at a bar or restaurant. How many phones are out and how many are chatting candidly to each other or really listening?
We’ve been guilty of it ourselves sometimes, as well. Sitting there, listening to your friend chat about something exciting in their life and I’m on my phone, half listening and throwing out a Kardashian -esque ‘yeah’.
Embarrassing and rude.
A survey of 2,000 American parents found that 40% of these parents let their children use phones or tablets at home, with 17% admitting that their children owned their very own devices! So while a lot of parents may feel proud at how they’re encouraging their children to use technology from an early age, the truth is they’re doing more harm than good.
In his book ‘Digital Dementia’, top German neuroscientist Professor Manfred Spitzer stated that “touchscreen devices and a developing brain do not mix”. You can know more about his views here.
How many of us are addicted to checking our phone? I’m sure every single one of us reading raised our hand. It’s hard not to become addicted to checking your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds. And, this can be tenfold for a child who is just exploring the world of the internet.
Do we want our children to become those that can’t even function without using their phone, or the ones that panic when the wifi is down?
Yes, the future is leaning towards technology with digital everything. We can control the house temperature from our smartphones while away, turn off lights and do practically anything with just a click of an app.
We want our kids to understand how to use day to day stuff that has to do with technology, but sitting in front of a tablet for hours or using a smartphone when you’re only three is a little ridiculous. Learning how to turn on and off the lights by the swipe of your finger isn’t going to change their brain chemistry.
There’s no specific age that children should be exposed to technology, only projections. Ultimately as parents, it’s up to us to ascertain which age is best for our children to be given their first tablet. Some may even think 5 is too early an age, while some may think it’s too late.
So, if we know that too much technology is bad for us, then we can make an educated decision that waiting to expose our children to technology, and then limiting that time, is a wise choice.