Tablets and Your Kids

When Should They Have One?

Tablets are small portable touch screen devices that can do anything a laptop or computer can do.  Agam Shah, author of the article Tablets vs. laptops vs. smartphones draws attention to the fact that tablets are not very heavy (they are about 1/3 the weight of a laptop) and they are also small which means they can fit into individuals backpacks or handbags.

Children and technology

It is inevitable, children these days try to get their hands on any type of technological device that they can. With more and more children becoming “tech savvy” at an earlier age and it often leaves parents baffled as to what the right age and time is to introduce them to their first tablet.

Research suggests that it is best to wait until your child starts pre-school before introducing them to any technological devices. This is because children learn better from real life experiences as opposed to spending time in front of screen-based devices.

Dr. Carolyn Jaynes, a learning designer for Leapfrog Enterprises states, “Children under two years of age learn best from real-world interactions, and each minute spent in front of a device is a minute when your child is not exploring the world and using their senses, which is extremely important in their development process”

By the age of three or four children are able to interact using electronic devices. This interaction should be supervised and children should engage in educational and learning activities. Jeannie Galindo, supervisor of instructional technology, posits that unsupervised children should not be allowed to use technological devices. If a child is unsupervised they must be thirteen years or older.

Parents should be engaged and involved in their children’s activities on tablets. Tablets should also remain in communal areas in the house in order to monitor your child’s online activities. Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, a clinical assistant professor of paediatrics notes that children look up to their parents, and if they see them on the computer or phone all day, they will use their tablets the same way. Thus, it is important for parents to understand that their actions have a direct impact on their children and will reflect in their children’s behaviour. Therefore, it is very important for parents to set an example with technology and turn it off in order to maintain good work-home balances.

“Experts agree that the best way to teach your child about how to use technology is to log on with him. Just as you sit down with your child to read a story or make a craft, be present when your child is using your gadgets” says Parents advisor Ari Brown, M.D., author of Toddler 411

Exposure time to technology

Four to five year olds should have no more than thirty minutes exposure to technology and six to seven year olds should have no more than an hour. As your child gets older, the time spent with devices can increase with reason.

It is crucial to load educational and child-friendly content onto your child’s tablet. Examples of these would be activities that assist children in developing their memory and creative skills, such as puzzles, drawing applications, and social reasoning activities.

Check out the latest article on schoolchildren receiving tablets for the first time. This is going to form part of the school curriculum and it is hoped that children will benefit from this new technology

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