Kayla has been playing with my phone since she was about one, swiping through photos, taking selfies and now at four she can navigate through passwords, buys apps and understands the purpose of the internet.
Kayla could spend hours, and I mean hours on end playing dress the fairy, feed the doggie and doing some Barbie’s make-up. She become totally unresponsive when on the iPad, she gets sucked in and loses control of the real world.
Children develop and learn through social interaction. Whilst playing with touch screen devices, PlayStations and the likes young children are struggling to learn basic motor skills. Electronic play is hurting kid’s brain development and stunting their social skills. A friend recently told me she heard a child had to be re-educated on how to hold a pencil as he had weak hand muscles due to overexposure to an iPad. Imagine a junior infant been taught to hold a pencil again so he could write his abc’s, it’s crazy.
I found Kayla on YouTube last week, not in her account with videos I think is suitable for her to watch. She was on the iPad without my permission, flicking through recommended clips that I did not think were appropriate for her age. Not only did she spend four-minutes on the naughty step, but I banned the iPad for a week, myself included. I made the iPad available to her, leaving it lying around the house, I left the internet on and it took me long enough to realise the house was very quiet.
Kayla became ratty and irritable as she suffered withdrawals from the iPad. It’s not the first time either, so now I have now limited her usage. I’m trying to show by example, I’m constantly on my phone. She doesn’t understand why it’s okay for me, but not for her. So I’m limited access by switching off the internet and not leaving devices at arm’s reach. I’m going to started making her earn time with the iPad too. I introduced more educational games and story apps. Playtime can be more productive and I have now specified what apps she can use.
It’s so different for our generation of children, Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere, the modern day playground is almost virtual. Social media is crucial to our generation of children but it’s our job as parents to make sure that technology is being used wisely. Digital technology can be an excellent educational tool if used appropriately. We don’t need to deprive them of technological intelligence but I refuse to allow screen based technology erode her little brain.