Is the iPhone Bad for Toddlers?
I have to say that my iPhone, which is a fairly recent acquisition, is hotly sought after by all my three kids, so much so that I never know what the volume level is set at, or where to find the icons I use as my kids are constantly “organizing” my phone for me. My youngest was 5 when I got my iPhone and is very adept at using my iPhone. In fact, he was the first to discover how to delete apps when I discovered that he had removed all the educational math apps that offended his sensibilities. Had I purchased the phone years ago, I’m sure he’d have played with it at a much younger age.
I do try to limit screen time to 1 hour a day for him and considerably less for his busier older sisters, but it’s an ongoing battle of wills. I freely admit, though, in a public place like a restaurant I use electronic devices to insure a peaceful meal with quiet and seemingly well-behaved children. We’re talking iPhone, iPod Touches, DSi’s — our complete arsenal!
The consensus from Pediatricians concerned about screen time (1 hour a day limit!) is that the iPhone, no matter how educational the app, is just like T.V. screen time. So the question is, do you or don’t you? What are your screen time rules and how is it working for you? And how old are your kids?
The full article is here. Choice paragraphs below.
p.s. Just to make your head spin, here is a counter argument from education about the educational value of iPhone/iPad apps. Are we having fun yet?
Toddlers’ Favorite Toy: The iPhone
By HILARY STOUT of the New York Times
Dr. Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe, a pediatrician who is a member of the academy’s council of communications and media…
“At the moment, we seem to feel it’s the same as TV.”
- But just as adults have a hard time putting down their iPhones, so the device is now the Toy of Choice — akin to a treasured stuffed animal — for many 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds. It’s a phenomenon that is attracting the attention and concern of some childhood development specialists.
- Apple, the iPhone’s designer and manufacturer, has built its success on machines so simple and intuitive that even technologically befuddled adults can figure out how to work them, so it makes sense that sophisticated children would follow.
- Many iPhone apps on the market are aimed directly at preschoolers, many of them labeled “educational,” such as Toddler Teasers: Shapes, which asks the child to tap a circle or square or triangle; and Pocket Zoo, which streams live video of animals at zoos around the world. There are “flash cards” aimed at teaching children to read and spell, and a “Wheels on the Bus” app that sings the popular song in multiple languages. Then there’s the new iGo Potty app (sponsored by Kimberly-Clark, maker of Huggies training pants), with automated phone calls reminding toddlers that it’s time to “go.”
- Along with fears about dropping and damage, however, many parents sharing iPhones with their young ones feel nagging guilt. They wonder whether it is indeed an educational tool, or a passive amusement like television. The American Academy of Pediatrics has long advised parents not to let their children watch any TV until they are past their second birthday.
- …Jane M. Healy, an educational psychologist in Vail, Colo. said: “Any parent who thinks a spelling program is educational for that age is missing the whole idea of how the preschool brain grows. What children need at that age is whole body movement, the manipulation of lots of objects and not some opaque technology. You’re not learning to read by lining up the letters in the word ‘cat.’ You’re learning to read by understanding language, by listening. Here’s the parent busily doing something and the kid is playing with the electronic device. Where is the language? There is none.”
- As with TV in earlier generations, the world is increasingly divided into those parents who do allow iPhone use and those who don’t.