Parenting in today’s world comes with a whole heap of decisions that never plagued the parents of previous generations. We live in a society where technology is both friend and foe; while an iPhone may be a fantastic learning or entertainment tool for our children, it’s also important to consider how much technology is too much. When do you pull the plug, say enough, and send the kids outside to play in mud puddles and sandboxes?
Expert viewpoints regarding the amount of time that children should be exposed to electronic media are relatively similar across the board. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two not have any exposure to “screen”-type items. This includes television, iPhones, iPads and computers. The first two years are especially important for child brain development and many doctors express concern that electronic media may interfere with a child’s interest in interpersonal relationships and exploring the world around them.
Children two years of age and older should, ideally, have their “screen time” limited to no more than one or two hours per day, broken into half hour or so intervals. This time can be used to expose children to educational apps or videos on the iPhone or iPad that quench their thirst for technology while putting their brains to work, rather than mindless lounging in front of the television.
Studies have shown that kids who spend more than four hours each day in front of a screen are more likely to be overweight and exhibit a lack of interest in physical activity. However, the fact of the matter is that completely isolating our children from technology isn’t doing them any favors, either.
Technology is a major part of modern society. Children will be required to use computers in the course of completing their education from a very early age, while businesses are almost always more likely to hire an individual who is literate in a variety of technological platforms. The key is to provide a balance in your child’s life by establishing, and enforcing, rules for the amount of time that can be spent playing with the iPhone, iPad or television each day.
One great app for helping limit iPhone and iTouch time is Game Time Limit. For just $0.99, this app helps regulate the amount of time your child can play with the iPhone. Upon purchase, parents set a secret pass code and determine the amount of time their child will be allowed to play with the device. Before play time, parents simply open the app, enter their code and when the time has expired an alarm will sound and children will no longer be able to play. To stop the alarm, parents enter their code and go back to normal usage of their iPhone.
As technology becomes more and more accessible to our children, it’s important to consider both the positive and negative side effects of it, while helping to create healthy media habits that will perpetuate throughout your child’s life. Let us know…How much time is your child allowed to play with your iPhone or iPad? What influenced your decision?