Monday, January 18, 2010
Electronics and the young child
I walked into my gym yesterday just as the family time was ending. Many children 6 and under were in the lobby getting ready to go home. I saw 2 young children sitting with their mom, each one playing games on a phone. There was also a 5 year old girl sitting at the counter staring intently at a laptop screen-mouse in hand. I know that these children just had time in a pool with their parents. I'm sure it was a lovely time full of attention and wondrous exercise. My question is about screen time and how much is too much? Do these parents realize that screen time includes a child staring at the DS or a cell phone screen? How do you feel about this activity? I know that it creates people who are very comfortable using electronics. My kids can program my cell phone in a nano second. But I do wonder if having small children using these devices doesn't take away from some of the information gathering that their minds are meant to be doing. An important activity for children under the age of 5 is watching people and how they interact. They need to learn to watch faces and emotional responses. Small children spend lots of time observing the world around them in order to better fit in as they grow up. Can they learn this while having their eyes down and focused on a screen? What do you think?