iPads, iPods, TVs, Tablets, Computers…
If preschoolers aren’t using these technologies now, they’ll never catch up. Right?
Think again. Preschoolers don’t need any of these things. What they do need is interaction with other children and adults. They need to play and explore. They need to be read to, sung to, talked to. They need to be creative with open-ended, self-directed, screen-free activities. They need to get their hands on real manipulatives like blocks, clays, balls…
The smartest, most creative people we know learned and developed their creativity through hands-on activities, not screen time. Steve Jobs (Apple co-founder) loved to take TVs and radios apart to explore their intricacies. Bill Gates (Microsoft co-founder) was a cub scout interactively exploring the outdoors with peers and adults. Neither had any experience with computers until they were about 12 years old.
So the answer is no. Your child doesn’t need an iPad. In-fact, screen time can actually do more harm than good.
Limit Screen Time
Excessive screen time is linked to problems like childhood obesity, sleep disturbance, loss of creativity, attention deficit, social problems, learning problems and poor performance in school. When a preschool child watches just 20 minutes of a fast-paced cartoon show it has immediate negative impact on attention, the ability to delay gratification, self-regulation and problem solving. When preschoolers play video games their brain releases dopamine in the same way it would after the consumption of some addictive drugs. So what’s excessive?
Anytime is excessive for Infants & Toddlers
Infants & toddlers should not have any screen time at all. No TV, Smart Phones, Tablets etc. The research is clear that children under 3 receive no real benefit from screen time. You may see all kinds of ads claiming wonderful things can be accomplished by tablet wielding toddlers, but pediatricians agree they can do more damage than good. Children develop best without screens.
More than 1-2 hours a day is excessive for Preschoolers ages 3+
Preschoolers 3 years and older should limit screen time to 1-2 hours a day. This includes: movies, phones, computers, tvs, tablets, etc. Anything with a screen. It is also a good idea to limit segments of screen time to 15 minutes.