A couple of recent articles in lifezette.com discussed the prevalence and impact of electronic devices on the development of babies and toddlers in the United States.
The findings aren’t particularly startling. The articles referenced a 2013 study from Common Sense Media that found that 75% of children had access to mobile media devices in the home. However, in this fast changing world where new apps for Moms and kids are being developed almost every day, we suspect these 2013 findings are somewhat hoary.
Using expert commentary, lifezette also makes the point that researchers really don’t know whether this plethora of electronic devices is good for children.
“The bottom line is that it’s so new we don’t know if it’s good, bad or otherwise. But there is a lot of other research that shows the main learning and sustenance for young children – particularly children under 2 – comes from their relationships, particularly their parents and whomever cares for them,” says Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development.
Without being too snarky, most of us can figure that out. Of course, babies and toddlers do best when interacting with parents, other children, caregivers and others. And, while acknowledging the very real concern that kids, including infants and toddlers, are overexposed to electronic media, we’d make the point that in every generation parents worry about their children. The issues change, but the worry never does.
Having said this, we do think that electronic media pose a temptation to parents we should be aware of – that is, they can serve as babysitters.
We’re up early. We work. We have chores at home including meals and so on and on. An older generation turned on the television set. Parents today resort to electronic media to grab those few minutes that enable them to get a hot meal to the table or take care of some other necessary task.
Despite the experts, there is nothing wrong with it…provided we know we’re distracting our children and we compensate for it at other less stressful times.
In our opinion, it’s far too easy to make parents feel guilty about the way they raise their children. We say, pick the media wisely, use it when necessary, and don’t feel guilty about it. Remember, it’s not either/or. It’s a balance.