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Not sure about the right age to introduce gadgets to your child? Here are some pointers to help

Arun Sharma Arun Sharma 3 Mins Read

Arun Sharma Arun Sharma

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Written For ParentCircle Website new design update

What is the right age for a child to start using a PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone? Read on to know more on this topic

Not sure about the right age to introduce gadgets to your child? Here are some pointers to help

Whether you like it or not, with the influx of technology into our lives, it is impossible to keep your child away from smartphones and computers. Sooner or later, he will be exposed to these gadgets. So, what's the right age for introducing him to these devices, and how?

Gadgets for children: Wait until preschool

Most experts recommend waiting until a child is at least two years old. They believe that it is best for a young child to spend time exploring the world around him and play with real objects that he can hold and feel. Screen-based activities prevent him from doing this, thereby limiting his real-world experiences. So, the longer you wait, the better it will be for your child.

Dr Carolyn Jaynes, a learning designer for Leapfrog Enterprises, says, "However, by age three, many children are active media users and can benefit from electronic media with educational content. This content often uses strategies such as repeating an idea, presenting images and sounds that capture attention, and using child rather than adult voices for the characters. There are many games and interactive activities on mobile devices that are not necessarily about school subjects but still useful for children and beyond pure entertainment."

Supervise gadget use

A child must play with smartphones, tablets, or computers only under parental supervision. Supervising your child when he is interacting with these gadgets gives you the opportunity to mold his experience. While your child is trying out a new app or watching a program on TV, you can ask him questions and explain how to use the app in a better way, or talk about what's happening in the show. This will help open up conversations and give you an idea of what he thinks and how he feels about people and situations.

Limit screen time

How much screen time is too much? Jeannie Galindo, supervisor of instructional technology for the Manatee County School District in Florida, says, "I would recommend no more than a half an hour per sitting for a four to five-year-old, no more than an hour per sitting for a six- to seven-year-old." But as your child grows older, you can allow her to spend more time with gadgets. However, do keep in mind that reading books and exploring the outdoors are also important for her overall development.

Choose appropriate content

A smartphone or tablet helps a child connect to the world and provides him with opportunities to learn a variety of things. Memory games, puzzles, drawing and music apps, etc., improve his thinking and creative skills. Therefore, it is important for you to know the difference between education and entertainment-based content. Remember, the valuable experience depends on the content your child is exposed to.

The negative effects of gadget use on children

  • Excess gadget use can be detrimental to the mental and physical health of your child.
  • Children who are engaged with gadgets even during playtime may not be able to get the required amount of physical activity necessary for their age. This can lead to health problems such as obesity.
  • It has been observed that children who spend the majority of their time on gadgets are often prone to aggressive behavior.
  • Prolonged exposure to screens may result in poor eyesight in children.
  • Overuse of gadgets makes children miss out on real-time human connection.

Assimilating technology into the daily life of your child the right way can give him immense benefits. It can change the way he thinks, learns, understands, and interacts with his environment.

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