Take a pause. Look around. Are parents and their children hooked onto their electronic device, staring at the screen as opposed to talking to each other? There’s much debate on whether electronic device should be allowed for children, and it is worthwhile for parents to consider the pros and cons given that electronic devices seem to be taking over some families!
How Technology can help:
Better Use of Time
Time is spent one way or other and for working parents, having their child use an educational app while they quickly tend to chores can be better use of time than watching TV. Some form of direction and supervision is required on the part of parents to ensure that time on an electronic device is beneficial for the child.
Complement School’s Curriculum
Websites, apps and learning tools can be curated by parents and children use within the boundaries set.
Keeping up with Technology
Some parents do feel that given how all children seem to be proficient with technology (computer, iPad and smartphone), their child may ‘lose out’ in some way if unduly restricted from device. Thus, it may be prudent to equip our child with basic skills rather than have them learn bad habits from other children.
How Excessive Screen Time can hurt:
Detached from Family
The downside of electronic device is mostly to do with excessive use. For a start, many families in a restaurant choose to communicate with their device instead of each other. It may not have all started out this way. Sometimes, it could be a child who feels neglected by the parent, started throwing tantrums, gained an electronic device instead and decided to ignore the parent who has been ignoring them. Increasing time spent in such manner, without proper communication, may lead to detachment within the family.
Not Ideal for Body
Long hours sitting, staring, hunched over a screen or add in binging on snacks can lead to back ache, eye fatigue, obesity and related problems for both the child and the parent.
Not Ideal for Brain
The American Academy of Pediatrics set guidelines for electronic device usage, such as no screen time for children below 2 year old. In particular for a young child, the brain is rapidly growing and stimulation is via people and environment, not a screen. Older children should be limited to an hour one day.
It used to be a lot of debate with TV being used as babysitter, and now the focus is on electronic device. There are certainly positive side to use of devices and whether parent or the child, such use should be moderated without losing focus on what is best for the family.