Our children are amongst some of the first to be able to find information on just about any topic just through a few clicks on the internet. No more hard cover encyclopedias, Google has all the answers. We are raising digital natives, like it or not. What does that mean in terms of how much screen time is appropriate? Does it matter if its pure gaming vs educational gaming on the iPad, iPhone or computer? What age is too young to let your child play on a device? What happens if you leave it too late, will they get left behind? We try to answer some of these questions in this week’s Mommy Mindset?
LaVonne: We bought an iPad for our four year old daughter. We travel 8 months out of the year for work. I also homeschool her. We knew that the iPad would come in handy for not only the mini-van but airplane as well. She has many of her movies on it, and we have even downloaded some PBS cartoons for her. It is also proving to be handy for homeschool. I have found many reasonably priced and free apps that are perfect for preschool learning. I even wrote a post about her favorite ten apps: Long Wait For Isabella
Mary: I think the earlier the better. My two year old has been using my iPod for the last few months and I can’t keep her away from the computer. She watches PBSKids and NickJr. I also let her “play” on KneeBouncers. I wish I started my son sooner, besides being left handed his motor skills are not the best and they start them in preschool using computers. I think he would have been less frusrtaed but he learned it and now that he is in first grade he is able to complete some tasks at home for extra help.
Tonya: My 5 yr old loves to play games on the computer from sites like Nick and Disney. My almost 2 yesr old has learned to pick off the keys on my laptop which he done about 20 minutes ago, so I don’t think I will let him use the computer just yet!
Darcy: Ahh screen time. A hot topic! Some say kids under 2 years shouldn’t be on computers, phones or even watch television. That’s almost impossible in this society.. I think moderation is key. My daughter (17 months) watches some TV, plays some Kinect video games, and knows her way around smart phones and tablets. There are some fun engaging apps she plays with! She also spends plenty of time with real books, toys and outside so I think she’s okay.
Gena: My three year old is an iPad/iPhone whiz. I had to earn to block the app store completely because, while I have a password that he doesn’t know, I was tired of him begging to buy kid games that were in Korean. I don’t know how he finds this stuff. He also watches kid shows and videos on YouTube but so far, he asks if he can watch the videos and doesn’t stray too far. I’m going to have to learn how to make it where he can only watch kid videos!
Emily: I have an iPhone with a few apps that The Boy can play. I find some of the apps to be educational, and teaching him things that I wouldn’t necessarily think to teach an almost three-year old. The apps come in handy when we’re at a restaurant waiting for our meals, or on a longer car ride. At home, he has The LeapFrog LeapPad Tablet. I cannot say enough wonderful things about it! It is a great tool, and we limit the amount of time he can use it each day.
Ghada: My son started using my iPhone just before he was 3. It has been a life saver on long train rides, car rides and most helpful at the grocery store where he used to be prone to meltdowns around that age. It started out as just really fun games and as he gets older it has evolved into counting and spelling games – that are still fun! Lately he really likes to chill out with the iPad and this tends to be more games where he bonds with Dad – some are skill based and I think its great for hand-eye coordination. Like all things, its about moderation. I think as long as the games are age appropriate I don’t have a problem with young kids using tablets. After all, we are raising a generation completely different to our own. A generation who can research just about anything on google.
Lena: I tried to keep my daughter away from all things computer for as long as I could. I didn’t want her to get addicted to useless games and didn’t quite understand how much educational material was out there. She was 3.5 when she started online pre-school. Now she is 3.5 and comfortably operate my iPhone, MacBook, and PC. She looks forward to it and it gives me some free time.