Parenting

The Use of Tablets Among Children

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The use of tablets among children has long been debated by experts and parents. Many parents know the disadvantages, but the temptation for temporary good behavior is much to good to resist. And what about the learning. Let’s discuss that aspect.

A favorite bonding activity in our family is reading funny stories before bedtime. Dad is funny like that and he makes the girls happy.

Commonsight: Use of Tablets Among Children

Since we are a very “happening” family, we are always around. We go to malls, hotels, and so many Bacolod restaurants. Mostly, these are for events we cover or sometimes, it’s a family weekend dinner.

And of course, we travel a lot. We have been observing the kids that we meet in airports, bus terminals, or hotel lobbies Many of them are very quiet and well-behaved in these public places. They seem to wait patiently until their parents are done with their business.

But what makes these kids sit still and be quiet? Their common denominator is a gadget.

Bad Effects of Screen Time for Kids

This year, the World Health Organization (WHO) echoed the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2016. WHO recommends that children between 2 and 5 years old should be limited to one hour of screen time per day. The lesser exposure, the better it is for kids.

Let kids spend time with friends outdoors.

The concern is a child’s preoccupation with the screen. The games and apps rob the children of time to be physically active as well as get much needed sleep. Let us not forget that physical activity and exercise offers a lot of benefits needed for a child’s physical and mental development.

During the child’s early years, the brain develops rapidly. With this, young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens. They should talk, laugh, and play with parents, siblings, and friends.

Let them spend time with relatives. The kids played a lot of their cousin Dream in San Carlos City.

Moreover, always having their head down and having no eye contact with people might be harmful to their brain development.

The lack of interaction because of screen time impedes language, social and emotional development. Additionally, it may affect a child’s development of insights, empathy, and ways of knowing themselves.

Our Family’s Experience with Screen Time

I believe that each child is a unique individual. So their learning and coping processes, as well as talents and skills, are different. And we have applied this perception on the use of tablets among our children.

We have researched about kids’ exposure to digital and electronic devices. These include screen time from the television and the use of tablets among children.

Stimulate wonder by taking kids outdoors.

We learned that exposing very young infants to the tube at an early age may increase the risk of autism. And so we avoided that.

Both my husband and I read on how these things affect our kids. After all, parenting is our shared responsibility.

Due to our research on the subject, we did not start our children on educational videos until they were 7 months old. These videos were shown on the television at regulated times and not on handheld gadgets.

We also avoided bringing them outside during mealtimes when the family TV is almost always on. Based on our readings, we learned that commercials, compared to children’s videos, have very fast movements for children’s eyes to follow. A baby’s eyes are not yet so developed and this early exposure may distort their vision.

How the iPad Became a Tool for Learning

While the use of gadget among young kids have bad effects, they also have advantages. So we didn’t want our kids to miss out.

The educational shows on television were introduced at seven months. As for the tablet, we delayed introducing it until the kids were over three years old.

Children need to be exposed to the outdoors more.

We wanted our children to have a well-rounded childhood where they are exposed to physical play. They should have fun time with friends, time for art, and many other things.

I think our eldest Shawna was already 3.5 years old when we bought our first iPad and she started using it. We had some games, especially Princess dress up and cooking games.

Shawna on the ipad while we were having lunch one time with a friend.

But we also had bed time stories, bible stories, and many other educational apps. These included medical documentaries from the Harvard School of Medicine.

Learning New Skills

There are skills that can be learned while using handheld devices. We cannot neglect the fact that our world is turning digital.

When our eldest Shawna got her own phone (a hand me down from me), she learned how to make stop-motion videos. Moreover, she can shoot a vlog, edit it, and upload it on youtube. She has done all of these without us having to teach her. We were amazed that she was able to figure out everything by herself.

Her creativity actually knows no boundaries. Below is the video that Shawna did all by herself. This was taken at the Ayala Malls Capitol Central when the Mind Museum Space Adventure Exhibit was held.

The Discipline Needed in Using Gadgets

So basically, the tablet became a learning tool. However, we limited their use of the iPad and we regulate the apps that she could use. One such limit is, no more games during bedtime. She only gets to read a couple of bible stories.

Or Papa reads a story for them, complete with actions and sound effects. The kids just adore this time because Papa can be really funny. It’s an end of the day bonding activity for them and it makes them really happy.

This is part of regulating their gadget use — we use it with them so that they don’t end up “zoning out” in their games and videos.

Use the gadget with your kids. This will keep them from zoning out while playing games or watching videos. It’s interactive, too.

I can say that the discipline of regulating our iPad, TV, and mobile phone use have worked on both our children.

But of course, they are kids and they are human. There are times when they would try to bend the rules, but we remain firm. I am a work at home mom so I can monitor their gadget use.

A Variety of Activities

Aside from these routines, we try to balance their schedule as much as we can. They have play time outside, intentional playtime with friends, and playtime with new kids in common play areas. For the last one, we go to fun houses in malls.

Furthermore, the kids also have time for art. We provide them with arts and crafts materials like crayons, pens, pencils, water color and lots of scratch paper. They can doodle and make paper crafts all they want.

The iPad can be used for online art tutorials.

Sometimes, they use the iPad for art tutorials. They have done many drawings while following online tutorials on how to draw.

Anything in Moderation

So for us, we believe that everything can be a tool for learning as long as it is used in moderation. We are homeschooling, so gadgets have provided additional lessons and experiences to our kids.

It is also worthy to note that the use of gadgets and the internet should be with careful parental supervision.

After all, anything and everything will be just as bad and will have adverse effects if not moderated.

Conclusion: Regulate the use of tablets and smartphones among children.

We are not perfect parents. But let’s try not to leave things to chance. Let’s do our research and implement rules around the house. The kids will appreciate that when they are older.


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18 thoughts on “The Use of Tablets Among Children

  1. me too..got the ipad for jam..dyan sya natuto ng basic learning for nursery education..but of ourse,you are right dapat in moderation lng lahat…anythin na sobra is bad, lalo na sa mga mata nila!

  2. agree about what tablet helps our child develop her knowledge..there are games that is educational games to be downloaded.also if we are on long trip she didnt bored the trip because she enjoy what application she play..and also there are music,she wants to listen while on trip hehe.

  3. iPad or any similar gadgets are helpful but can also be disturbing if used without discipline.

    In my case, I use it for getting what I want to be done by my kids. They don’t want to eat properly, no one can use the iPad then. It works for me hehe! Better than bribing them with loads of chocolates and dolls. At least iPad is a one time purchase haha!

    Just my thoughts.

    1. haha True. Sometimes, we do that, too. If she does not do what we tell her, then we withdraw the iPad privileges. That will also help keep her from getting addicted to it, realizing that she can live without it.

  4. my daughter know how to download games on my tablet. She likes dressing and make up princess, i make sure pag walang pasok lng sya pwed gumamit. I keep on checking mga downloads nya. Big help din this gadget lalo na pg long trip para d sya mainip at mahilo laro laro lng sya..

  5. I agree that kids can use tablets in order to learn and develop new skills. But there should always be a moderation! They should not be left alone with gadgets because they will certainly not control themselves.

  6. I can see where tablets would be helpful but their use could also get out of hand. Thanks so much for sharing this with all of us! It is a great reminder for all parents to discipline their kids in the use of gadgets. Screen time should really be controlled because it’s not good for their development.

  7. Tablets are ok for kids but I think they can be overused. We parents do need to set the limits for gadget use and screen time. We are, after all, the parents and we just want what’s best for our children.

  8. I love the fact that kids have access to a whole range of information and educational services now thanks to technology. With that being said I think the use of tablets from an early age is too much. It cuts down on time spent with family and can even lead to arguments.

    Although there are plenty of upsides, there are also downsides. Moderation is the key to effective use of gadgets and parents should monitor proper usage.

  9. iPads can be over used – playing games – use a traditional board game, reading use a book rather than a kindle app. I asked my optician and he said he was seeing lots more children needing glasses than 20+ years ago and he felt it was because of increased use of electronic devices.

    1. I totally agree. That’s too bad. My daughter’s eye condition is genetics though. We didn’t know that everything was blurred for her and she finished Kinder school seeing everything blurred. Her lens is so thick! Anyway, I feel for those who don’t have eye problems and were just brought about by the use of gadgets. Too bad.

  10. This is such an important topic! We have a 7-month-old and I’ve been trying to be really mindful about my use of my phone and watching TV when she is awake — especially now that she is getting older and paying more attention to our actions. Thank your for the advice. I have learned a lot. 🙂

  11. What a great blog post on controlling the use of gadgets among children. While it’s true that kids learn from some apps and programs, too much screen time isn’t good at all for their developing brains and also their eye sight. I will share this information with my friends who are already parents! You explained everything, including the pros and cons of gadget use, so well!

  12. Tablets can be very helpful for kids learning, as long as you don’t over-do the screen time. It’s also important to get out and play in the real world. Parental guidance would be very crucial for the use of gadgets among kids.

  13. I agree that balance and discipline is key with the use of gadgets. We live in the digital age so we can’t totally ban gadget use.😉 Children can learn from them, too.

  14. I am one of those guilty moms who seek a gadget’s help inorder to make the kids behave so that I can finish my house chores. Although I do my best to limit their screen time, there are indeed times that I let them stay on it for more than an hour or two. But I will continue to do my best to read to them and even watch with them that way I can monitor what they watch and play. 🙂

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