Technology use and kids is a hot-button issue, and we’re not here to tell you how much time your child should or should not spend on devices. But, recent research has shown that technology and toddlers can go hand-in-hand. So it’s not necessarily how much technology your child engages with but how they engage with it that matters.
Human interactions are best for babies and toddlers; there’s no arguing the fact that young learners benefit the most from face-to-face interactions. However, we live in a tech-saturated world, so children are exposed to tablets and devices at younger and younger ages.
Children today will be expected to use technology for school work, jobs, and social interactions as they age. One study focused on how toddlers use technology.
Tech Guidelines for Toddlers
NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, suggests these guidelines for toddlers and tech:
- Allow children to explore digital materials in the context of human interactions, with an adult as mediator and co-player. As with shared book reading, use shared technology time to talk with children, use new vocabulary, and model appropriate use.
- Avoid passive screen time. While some parents may claim that baby videos calm an otherwise fussy child, little research suggests that children learn from watching videos. If infants are distressed, they need the comfort of a caring adult, not an electronic toy.
- Use technology as an active and engaging tool when appropriate to provide infants and toddlers with access to images of their families and friends, animals and objects in the environment, and a wide range of diverse images of people and things they might not otherwise encounter (photos of children from other countries, for example).
- Incorporate assistive technologies as appropriate for children with physical and developmental delays.
Engage with Your Child
NAEYC’s message is to engage with your child while they use tech. So now, parents who love the latest technology can share their love of tech with their young children and shake off any guilt associated with technology and toddlers.
Additional studies have shown that gaming as a family has several benefits, especially with older kids, tweens, and teens.
Naturally, no one will suggest that babies and toddlers spend entire days playing Angry Birds. However, quality screen time, like the games and activities we provide at KneeBouncers for the very young, can be an additional tool for learning.
At KneeBouncers, this debate has been part of our internal discussion for years, and we’ve been surprised at how slowly some larger institutions have been to recognize the benefits of screen’ interaction.
It’s been evident to us, and probably to you, that today’s little ones are part of a different world. Technology is, and most likely will always be, an essential part of their lives. As parents, you, too, especially if you’re reading this, clearly see technology as an essential part of your child’s development.
At KneeBouncers, we strive to provide parents quality content they can share with their children. Our name, “KneeBouncers,” says it all: the “knee” we’re referring to is yours, and the ‘bouncers’ are your kids! KneeBouncers! The idea is to sit with your child and engage with them as they play our games!
Though we’ve always been confident in our observations, it is comforting that studies now support what we already know. Parents, you can rest a little easier by letting your children play with age-appropriate games, apps, and videos. Be selective, and as always – everything in moderation.
Now that you know there’s nothing to feel guilty about – let’s play!
Updated September 15, 2023, by L. Elizabeth Forry