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Up For Debate: How Young Is Too Young For Kids To Use Technology?

It’s safe to say that the iPad 2 was on many holiday wish lists. And although it’s a revolutionary gadget, can a child be too young to use it? Some groups frown upon exposing their children to technology like TV and computers at an early age altogether while others marvel at the sight of their infant tinkering with the iPad all on their own. (Remember that YouTube video showing a 1-year- old “swiping” a magazine cover?)

There really are two schools of thought – and here at HighScore House, we’re all about examining both sides of the coin to help you make parenting decisions that best suit your style.

“Too much technology too soon can be detrimental to a child’s development.”

In a recent Denver Post article, the American Academy of Pediatrics was quoted as saying that “exposure to video programming can be detrimental to children younger than 2 because it cuts down on the amount of time they interact with parents and siblings. Unlike with older children, research shows that kids younger than 2 don’t clearly benefit from exposure to educational videos.”

A takeaway from the YouTube video of the 1-year-old swiping a magazine cover like an iPad? The importance of reading books with your child – smart gadgets shouldn’t replace the magic of reading or any other human interaction for that matter. Moderation is the key:  if you plop your child in front of cartoons or the iPad for hours at a time on a more-than regular basis, they can miss out on all the wonderful things story time, imaginary play, and social stimulation can bring. (Don’t get us wrong: entertaining your child with the TV or “Baby Einstein” videos can be necessary for survival! How else can you get dinner ready, tend to a newborn, or even go to the bathroom?)

 “Introducing your child to technology at an early age can be helpful.”

There’s something to be said for a 2-year-old knowing how to navigate a tablet or smart phone, or at least feeling comfortable with the buttons and operating system of this kind of ubiquitous technology. In this “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” day where gadgets are our reality, it’s nice to embrace techie toys by introducing them to your little ones. And with the multitude of educational apps out there, there’s a whole other level of learning that can complement a child’s development when given the opportunity to play with technology.

Like with TV, it’s crucial to be involved and monitor what your young ones are watching and which websites they are visiting, ensuring they are age appropriate. You can even take it to another level and engage with your child while they’re playing with tablets or other smart devices: have fun with the wide range of interactive apps geared for children and ask them questions, or play with them to add even more spark to their imagination.

What do you think about this issue? Do you let your little ones use gadgets and technology?

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