Toddlers are intuitive when it comes to the touch screen. They seem to learn how to use ipads without much instruction. All they have to do is hold them and experiment. But if they become too addicted to these touch screens, do they go through life thinking that there’s a huge invisible screen in front of everything? Do they end up swiping at everything else outside the screen?
If you’ve dealt with children then you’ll know the answer is (amusingly) yes, but can you blame them? Then there is another question that parents need to ask themselves, are these screens even good for their brain development?
In a Psychology today article titled “Is it okay to let your toddler play with the ipad?” Nancy Darling writes, “Child development is optimized when children engage in activities that are cognitively and sensorily stimulating.”
Her argument is that having babies addicted to ipad-screens is simply not good for brain development because screens call for passive attention and provide a very limited sensory environment.
Besides the fact that it could turn a child’s bouncy lifestyle to a sedentary one right from the start of life, what about all that we learn when we experience life in 3D? And I’m not talking about watching 3D movies as that is not experiencing life in 3D).
What about children learning the physics of gravity and dimensions of objects? Throwing a ball and catching it may help a child develop his motor and coordination skills, and might open his mind to the basics of trajectory.
What if our children never get to write in cursive using a pen because they’re always typing and swiping? Or they never get to know the smell of grass after it rains because they’re always indoors? Or they never feel the joy of finger painting (and the consequent dirtying of flat surfaces) ?
As they grow older they will probably be attached to technology as it infiltrates every aspect of their school and work life. So do we want them to miss out on life experiences right from the start? When do they look up from their screens and learn to rediscover the wonder?
Ask yourself that question the moment your child reaches out for the ipad.