By ANNIE WORSFOLD
In 2013 when technology is such a routine part of the American life, one almost doesn’t even question the thought of babies playing with iPhone apps. They keep kids with busy parents quiet, they’re portable, and hey, they’re labeled “educational,” so they must be good for kids. It’s the way of the future; it’s time to start embracing technology as a common learning tool for kids that can’t even walk yet, right? Wrong.
Most old enough to read this article probably grew up without the aid of any technological implements. When I was two I definitely wasn’t occupying my time on my mother’s iPhone- for one, she still had one of those indestructible bricks from Nokia. Instead of swiping my finger across a screen to learn my letters and numbers, I was using my senses to explore the real world around me. I was interacting with other kids; I was making mistakes and learning from trial and error. Eventually, I started going to preschool, which still didn’t need to use an extensive amount of technology to ensure I was learning anything. I mean, at this point email was still a fairly new and exciting idea to most people.
Times have of course changed since I was in preschool however, and with the rise in technology there has been an increase in its use amongst a group of people that just seems to be getting younger and younger as the years go on. When I was a little kid, I’m not sure I even knew what the internet was. Now first graders are whipping out their iPhones to update their twitters in the middle of naptime. What’s wrong with using a phone as a regular toy for a baby?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children can get hooked on virtual-world play at a young age. Everyone knows how addicting the internet and media in general can be, and subjecting a two year old baby to it on a routine basis can cause some problems. For one, kids can lose interest in other non-virtual activities, they can acquire attention problems, and they will lack the correct skills to engage in real world play and interaction.
A child’s social skills can be hindered by the extensive use of technology at a young age, says Mayo Clinic. If a kid becomes too involved in virtual-world play and isolation, social interaction and real world play will be more difficult, for the child hasn’t had the opportunity to develop those skills. For example, when you were a kid and didn’t have the technology there was today, did it seem like it was easier to keep yourself entertained? I know I can relate.
While the use of technology can be beneficial and fun, it shouldn’t be used too extensively, and shouldn’t be used for little babies that haven’t had a chance to explore the world and develop the necessary social skills to function in the world. Apps for babies are really targeted towards the parents that pay for them.