Wondering when to introduce your kiddie to technology? Well, you have to know which device works for what age. According to American Academy of Pediatrics’s (AAP) tech expert, Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe M.D., author of CyberSafe, “There’s really no ‘right’ age to allow our kids to dip a toe into the digital pond. But if we pay attention, we can decide what makes the most sense for our kids, because the reality is these new milestones are coming whether we like it or not.”
Here is a quick guide to help you know what technology is perfect for different age groups:
Babies and Toddler
This age group covers the button pusher, the mimic, and the app-y toddler. The button-pusher (age 0-1) thrives on flashing lights and sounds. While pediatrician recommend limiting exposure as much as possible, your child can enjoy battery-operated electronic toys and monitored TV entertainment. You can also allow passive toys that work by pressing a button, and those that help develop fine motor skills.
The mimic (age 1-2), as the name suggests, starts to be observant of your technology use. This age would benefit most from watching educations kiddie shows like Dora and Blues Clues. With regards to apps on devices, choose those that show cause and effect relationship to start teaching them the basic of how things work. Just make sure that you limit their technology usage to 2 hours a day.
If your child is now an app-y toddler (age 2-3), you can start reading stories to them through e-reader. Also, they’ll now enjoy electronic toys that teach numbers, letter, and vowel sounds, as well as apps that require sorting shapes and finding hidden objects. This is the perfect time to nurture curiosity in them and to focus on their cognitive development.
Preschool and Kindergarten
Children belonging to this age group (age 3-5) start to master hand and finger gestures. You can give them their own kiddie tablet to serve as their practice arena. As this is when they actually learn how to write letters, select handwriting and phonic apps to complement the learning process.
Apps that feature simple puzzle and matching games are also beneficial to these kids. Without you, they can read kid-specific book selection with colorful graphics to satisfy their love for visuals. Why not make the most of this period to develop a love for the arts?
These fellas (age 5-6) are ready for more serious technology. As world wanderers, they can surf the web on their own, but under supervision. Probably, they’ll also start getting hooked to video games, so you better introduce to them the idea of “screen time.”
Allow them to see the Internet as a means to know the answer to their homeworks by showing how Google works. Doing this is helpful in imposing that technology is not for mere entertainment, but for learning, more importantly. Let your early elementary kid explore while you set limitations on privacy.
Whether we like it or not, technology is now part of everyone’s life – especially our kiddies. At times, it could seem impossible to limit their exposure and usage. The key here, however, is to be more responsible parents by understanding what they’re using the technology for and make constant judgment calls about what’s appropriate.
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