From the moment you decide to have a baby, there are various topics you discuss with your partner about raising a child. One important topic that you need to address is whether or not you will let your baby have access to your gadgets, namely Smartphone.
Besides being a tool to ‘console’ babies, the Smartphone or iPad is also given to kids under 2 years to teach alphabets, colors, numbers, animals etc. While there are many interesting apps which help you do this, you can teach them without these apps too, right?
4 Reasons Why I Will Not Give My I-Pad To My Baby:
There are many reasons why you should not be letting your baby use these devices:
1. Technology Can Wait:
Child development research says that between conception and age three, a child’s brain undergoes an impressive amount of change. At birth, it already has about all of the neurons it will ever have.
- Your baby’s brain doubles in size in the first year, and by age three it has reached 80 percent of its adult
- It is at this stage that your baby’s brain develops the network which supports learning, memory and other cognitive abilities.
- Introducing your baby to any devices under the age of 3years impacts the way the brain develops. Why limit them to staring at a screen when they can roll around on the grass, sway on the swing and run around in the park?
- If you want to teach your baby how to read and write, pick up that blank sheet of paper and give her colorful crayons that should do the job much better!
2. Screen Time Makes Babies Unhealthy:
The time that your baby sits and plays on the digital device is the time she has not spent running around, climbing trees, playing hopscotch or just doing a puzzle.
- Digital devices restrict movement in babies and can thus have harmful side effects in the long run on physical development.
- If you expose your baby who is below 3years of age to digital devices, she can have language delays. As the ‘talk time’ between you and your baby reduces while being engaged on the device.
- Your baby will tend to understand ‘relationships’ from a very early age. Thus needs to socially engage with other children and adults rather than spending time on a device.
- Motor skills and hand-eye coordination develop better with physical toys, which your baby can touch and feel, rather than an app on a device.
3. Behavioral Changes:
Your baby will be quick to learn that if she throws a tantrum and cries, she will get the iPad. This behavior in the long run, will lead them to becoming extremely adamant and stubborn.
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is becoming an epidemic in the U.S and a lot of children in India are also being diagnosed with the same.
- ADHD symptoms include difficulty to concentrate, pay attention and control behavior.
- Exposing your baby to digital devices can cause this disorder and treating it can be quite agonizing.
- There are other mental illnesses like child depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder that can also be triggered due to technology overexposure.
4. Early Education Need Not Be Digital:
While there are innumerable apps to help your baby learn the alphabet, numbers, colors, animals etc., doing it the old school way works perfectly well.
- Encourage your child to read books.
- This will help develop imagination, be creative, improve concentration and vocabulary and of course keep your baby entertained.
- While reading an eBook there is always a temptation to switch to a game or open the browser and surf. So go for ‘real’ books as much as you can.
- It is important that your baby develop the sensory abilities of touch and feel.
- Playing physically with different textures is better than just popping a bubble or coloring an animal on the iPad.
Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics say infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, those between 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day and children between 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day.
This chart below shows technology exposure guidelines as per age:
Let your baby remain a baby and not be taken up in this grown up world of gadgets.
Introduce technology to your child at the appropriate time and always ensure you monitor the usage.
Have you started giving your I-pad and other gadgets and apps to your baby? Or would you rather they learn the ‘real’ way? Do share your views on this topic with us.
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Source: American Academics of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society