There’s little evidence that letting your child own a digital device like a tablet boosts learning.
But, hold up! Adam Patterson, Head of Early Years at the Australian International School in Singapore, shares why they should be able to have screen time, anyway.
Should I give my child her own digital devices?
While this is very much a personal choice, in my opinion, it would be ideal for your child to share the family device and use it with you, instead of having one of their own just yet.
You can use it with them when Skyping with family or exploring YouTube – both of these apps can be used to engage your child to make connections with the world around them.
What is the recommended amount of screen time?
Beware the risk of turning your kids into digital addicts! The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) has useful guidelines on the amount of screen time, which are dependent on your child’s age. The Australian International School (AIS) uses these guidelines ourselves, which can easily be used at home when drawing up family agreements, too.
As a guide, children between 18 and 36 months should have no more than 10 minutes of active screen time per day and those between 3 and 4 years should have no more than 20 to 30 minutes.
Can electronic devices and tablets boost their learning?
There is very little evidence to suggest that giving a young child an electronic device has any significant positive impact on their learning. Additionally, many “educational” apps are developed by people who are not child development experts. As such, I would advise always asking yourself how your child would benefit from an app before you upload it.
On a brighter note, using electronic devices to share with others or to research the world around them are some areas where the Internet and electronic devices can benefit them – especially in a digital age like today.
From The Finder (Issue 282), May 2017
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