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When is the Right Time to Introduce Children to Tablets and Smartphones?

If you have a toddler or a young child at home, you may know very well that the colorful and bright screen of your tablet or smartphone is indeed appealing to your little one’s eyes. Your child may even be more interested in playing with your tablet than his or her toys and play things. Whether you are for or against the use of technology devices for young children, the chances are your child is going to be exposed to one of these devices sooner or later.

The truth is we live in a high-tech era. Restaurants, coffee shops, malls, and schools are all equipped with free WiFi internet access. Even some preschools and kindergartens have now started using tablets for children’s learning activities. So what should we do about these captivating touch-screen devices? When is the right age to have kids play with these magical electronic gadgets?

When is the right time to introduce children to tablets and smartphones?

When and How to Introduce Children to Electronic Media

Most experts believe that the best time for introducing young children to tablets and smartphones is after the age of two. The longer you wait to introduce your child to the virtual world of electronic media, the better it is for your child’s brain and cognitive development. Just because your toddler wants to play with your tablet or smartphone does not mean you need to give him or her free access to those devices.

It is best for young children to play in a physical world with real objects that they can see, smell, touch, grab and hold rather than the virtual world of computer and technology. If you prefer, you may even wait longer than the age two before you bring tablets and smartphones to your child’s life. The best way to introduce children to digital media is within an educational setting when they are ready to start preschool or kindergarten.

Important Points to Remember about Children and Digital Media

  • Limit the screen time and supervise children’s usage of electronic media.
  • Not all apps are educational. Search the app store on your device for apps that are rich in educational content and help your child learn and develop new skills.
    Don’t turn on the game and leave your toddler alone with a tablet or smartphone.
  • Be involved in your child’s learning experiences. Try to use apps and programs that encourage parents to join in.
  • Tablets and smartphones should not replace toys, games and other play activities. The time your child spends in front of a screen could be spent running, walking and interacting with other children.


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Should We Use Tablets for Children’s Learning? Where Do You Stand?



Should We Use Tablets for Children’s Learning? Where Do You Stand?

Use of tablets and other electronic devices for education of young children has always been a controversial issue. There have been a lot of talks from parents, teachers and children’s health experts on positive and negative aspects of using technology for children’s learning. There is no doubt that tablets are finding their place in children’s homes all around the world. Tablets can be effective educational tools when used in a proper manner. Here are some helpful tips on how to introduce your child to this irresistible new technology.

Should Tablets Be Used for Children's Learning?

Limit  The Screen Time

Face to face interaction is an important component of human communication. The truth is nothing can replace a human face and the physical presence of a teacher in a room. In a traditional teacher-student setting, children are able to interact with the educator, ask questions and express and interpret feelings; qualities that tablets are not able to provide. As a parent, make sure you set limits on the hours your child is allowed to use the device. Most experts agree on the maximum of 1 to 2 hours of usage per day.

Monitor Tablet Usage at Home

Tablets should be used primarily for educational purposes and not merely for entertainment. A common mistake by busy parents who don’t want to be interrupted or disturbed by kids is to use tablets when they need to keep children busy and occupied. When used at home, make sure kids use tablets for learning instead of fun. Tablet is not a replacement for educational toys and kids’ made-up games.

Use Educational Apps

Using a tablet is all about the type of software or application you decide to install on your device. Make sure the apps you’re using on your device are educational with excellent ratings on learning values for children. So how do you know which apps to pick from thousands of choices available in the app stores? Use websites like Common Sense Media or Graphite where you are able to see age-appropriate apps per category, read reviews and view ratings.

Have Conversation with Children

Before buying a tablet for children, decide why you want your kids to have a tablet and how they are going to use it. Explain to your kids the purpose of using a tablet and why you think its usage for playing games and watching videos should be limited. You want your child to look at tablet as an educational tool not an entertaining device.

Family Time is Important

The time your child spends on electronic devices should not replace the valuable family time. Your child needs plenty of interactions, quality conversations and fun playtime with siblings and mom and dad to feel the love and bond in the family. Don’t forget the norms of days without a tablet. Make sure family members still get together for dinnertime and you have plenty of time to talk to each other about your day, needs, issues and life happenings.

The Bottom Line

As a parent, you need to decide whether a tablet is a necessary tool for your children. If decide to buy one, monitor children’s usage, limit the screen time and provide quality educational apps. When used properly, tablets can be an additional learning tool beyond books and traditional materials used in a classroom.