I vividly remember getting my first cell phone. As a few of the girls in my friends group had recently received their own phones, I instantly began begging for one as well. I was in 6th grade and it was a little hunk of plastic, one of the cheaper versions that didn’t even have a catchy name, just a number/letter combo like J57X. Regardless, I loved it.
The point here is I knew what a cell phone was, could see the benefits of having one, and asked for it by name. This is not the case for toddlers who begin playing with technology before age 2.
While I can see the educational benefits iPads and similar devices offer to a toddler’s sponge-like brain, I also can’t help but see a lot of negatives. But according to a Daily News article, 77% of parents believe using a tablet is beneficial to their child.
I can’t help but wonder, however, are parents using this as a substitute for reading to their children? Because playing games on a screen is not going to stimulate the language areas of their brains. It’s sad to see that some outlets are referring to tablets as “the electronic babysitter”.
However, in researching this phenomenon, I found little negative publicity for children using iPads, and instead just generic advice like experts recommend instituting time limits for children when using technological devices and, above all to “trust your gut”.
The only issue with this, I fear, is that toddler’s are not able to voice their feelings and needs like more grown children are. For instance, I know that after I stare at my laptop of iPad screen for too long, I can get quite the severe headache. However, I think a child having a lot of fun playing a game would dismiss this feeling until it became extreme. But, alas.
All in all, I realized I had to take a deep breath and understand that most parents are always trying to do the best for the children, even if that includes letting them play around on the iPad every once in a while.