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Electronics: Bad for Kids or Good Learning Tools?

Could electronics be impacting your child's sleep?

The electronics revolution has hit every age group, and children are soaking up the electronics like every other new thing in their lives.

My son isn’t even 2 yet, but he is always reaching for my iPhone and any electronics we have in the house: tablet, computer, TV and pretty much anything else. Generally, I think he just likes pushing buttons, but he also likes seeing the reaction to his button pushing or touch screen interactions.

There are some educational apps that help him learn shapes, letters and other things. We use these very sparingly now that he’s getting a bit older. We try to limit my son’s electronics use and make sure he has plenty of other toys to play with, but he is still very young and I know he will only be pushing for more as he gets older.

Recommendation

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages TV and other media use in children younger than 2 and encourages parents of older children to limit supervised screen time to one to two hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs.

Sleep

Dr. Gregory Lawton, a pediatrician on staff at Chester County Hospital, writes on Chester County Moms that electronics can interfere with children’s sleep.

...television images impair the normal process of sleep, especially the process of initiating or falling asleep. The rapidly changing images stimulate the brain and excite it, raising the threshold of “boredom” that needs to be overcome to fall asleep. Television programs are designed to entertain. If they are successful, then they will entertain our children right out of a good night sleep. -Lawton writes

What Do You Think?

So what do you do about your children and screen time? Do you allow them to have a TV or computer in their room? Do you regulate all media or just TV?

EmptyNester January 20, 2013 at 10:02 PM
The only caveat I would place on electronics -- ipads, iphones, tablets and computers -- is that they are addictive. There are studies that show we aer actually rewiring young brains. The consequences on a screen are not the same as real cause and effect. And Josh -- I don't know how young your children are, but at every age, as a parent, you CAN regulate use. If you dont' want to regulate it, that's your call, but no parent is a victim of culture unless they abdicate. These kids are absolutely guinea pigs as to where this new anti-social "social media" culture takes us...playing games with complete strangers, sharing life events with the public, and learning through stimulation. Learning to be bored is something no one seems to want to teach....or demand. Why read a book when you can watch it on your Kindle tablet? Computers ae the crayons of an earlier generation -- but if they result in missing that step -- specific hand-eye cause-effect share-keep etc....we may have a generation of kids who only communicate online. Balance and parental rule have to matter. And NO must always mean no. Don't pretend to regulate and then blow it off -- they learn by limits. They test them. If they learn that 22 times asking will finally result in a yes, you teach them to ask 22 times. And one comment -- TV is passive, so there is a reduction in stimulation if you monitor what they watch. A tablet etc. is not except to watch movies. Good luck!
Josh January 22, 2013 at 01:04 AM
Hi EmptyNester, I respect your thoughts, per your name you are, well, empty nester. That is bittersweet, congratulations. Our two year old and my particular age/ in between generation; is old enough to remember the heavy well made green basement phone owned by the bell and young enough to have had the very first computers at home, school, our pocket... There was no parental control, no weirdo people hiding 'out there' we knew of, we all knew basic codes (or copied each-others floppies) by 8th grade ( in LM )... twas the true Wild West of computing- and we lived, mostly well. So far. Our heads don't have an extra eyeball BUT our backs however, are in bad shape thanks to overloaded backpacks YOU ALL made us haul while serving up white bread pb&j as we played on pesticide filled fields and sucked down bus fumes. Point is, Nobody is going to 'miss' developmental steps nor hold back human progress. We will work it out. Older generations certainly have not. Or have they?
Adriana Bowls January 24, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Everything in moderation is my motto! My kids use my tablet for educational purposes only. I download apps from a great store I found that specialises only in educational apps. It is called www.educationalappstore.com. It was a great find!
Josh February 02, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Thanks for the site- PBS has a fantastic app/site as well
Alex Seigfried February 15, 2013 at 06:11 PM
It's not the device, it's the parenting so do what feels right. You're kids are going to align with however you live your life, that's normal. We're entering a highly technological, social and information rich future, but if a meteor hits us they'll still learn how to carve wooden spears with the rest of the neighborhood.

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