I’ve been catching up with the new BBC2 programme about the development of babies, and one area they researched was the effect of using tablets and technology from a young age. There haven’t been a lot of tests done to fully know the effects of someone using things like smartphones from a very young age – but they suggested that actively swiping and controlling a touch screen could lead to greater finger dexterity.
Anyway, this led to me thinking about the different levels of technology that parents allow their children to use – of any age. Some parents are very strict on this, limiting screen time and not allowing their children to have a phone or any other device until a certain age. Others are much more lenient to their kids and allow them to pick up and play with any technology to keep them entertained. In this internet age in which we live, is it easier to just give kids what they want and move on?
There are plenty of parenting forums with all sorts of commentary and various ideas of what is the right way to handle this, and as with anything there isn’t really one clear cut way of doing anything. Nevertheless, I thought it would be worth writing at least something about the different ways in which parents view this topic – so here are some (very scattered) thoughts from me. Apologies if I annoy anyone with them!
So having a read through various different opinions on places like mumsnet, as well as asking parents who I know, one thing that most people agree on is giving time limits to certain things. Even if it’s not a strictly imposed rule, having only half an hour of tv after school for example seems to be recognised as a healthy way of keeping screen time down, while still allowing kids to do the things they enjoy. (On a side note, one of the things this programme tracked was the new words that babies were using as they learned to speak… one of the most popular was Peppa!!)
There were some people who said they allowed their children to self-regulate their technology use, while also giving them the opportunity to get involved with other activities, like football or hockey. Of course this could have many different results depending on their personalities, but perhaps giving them free reigns allows them to exercise more self-control and understand the best way of restricting their technology use. Maybe it’s best to stick with having everything in moderation – that seems to be the easiest and most acceptable way of doing things! (though props to the person who allows their kids 30 mins of screen time for every KM they walk or run!!)
Perhaps you agree with having strict limitations? Or maybe you’re more relaxed when it comes to this. Whether you’re in sole control of the wifi password, or you have no problems with phones in bedrooms, there’s no obvious way to handle the technology issue. If you do have ideas though, let us know! We love hearing from you, and you can contact us on Facebook and Instagram.