How to Incorporate Technology Into Your Child’s Life the Right Way

How much technology the average person and child has access to is going to grow exponentially over the years, and the computers, smartphones, tablets, and DVRs we use are likely only the tip of the iceberg.How much technology children are exposed to has many parents wondering whether it’s really a good thing or not – at least for their kids. While technological devices can be beneficial for a child’s growth, it’s your job as a parent to find the right way to incorporate these tools into your child’s life in a healthy way.

Too much exposure to technology isn’t always beneficial for children. / Image Courtesy of Flickr

TV Time

Children Under Two Years Old

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children under the age of two years old shouldn’t watch television at all. That’s contrary to what many parents believe – that small amounts of television can actually be healthy for infants and toddlers.

The truth is television can actually be counter-productive for very young children. The first two years of a child’s life are critical for their mental development, and television can get in the way of them developing their creative mind and thinking and lead to issues like ADHD.

Children Between Two and Six Years Old

Children between the ages of two and six years old can benefit from watching television, but too much can be detrimental. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children between two and six should watch no more than one to two hours of television per day.

Older Children and Teens

Older children and teens should watch no more than two hours of television per day according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. While it can be hard to get your teenage child from out in front of the TV, doing so is critical for their development into adulthood.

Choosing the Right Programming

As a parent, it’s important that you choose quality programming for your child, no matter what age they are. Young children can benefit from educational programming – shows or DVDs that teach basics like counting or the alphabet. Older children can also benefit from educational television and DVDs.

It’s also important that you keep your children away from certain types of programs on television. Shows that are violent and designed for adults aren’t healthy for kids, and there’s some evidence that children who view these types of programs are more likely to develop aggressive tendencies themselves.

Interactive Technology

Entertainment technology isn’t just television anymore, and a lot of kids have access to smart phones, tablets and other interactive devices. However, how these pieces of technology affect children and their development hasn’t been studied as much as television.

Interactive tools like the iPad can certainly be helpful for all children. As an example, young children can play games that teach them the alphabet, and some studies show that interactive tools help children retain more information than books and videos.

That doesn’t mean your child should have free-reign of the iPad. Spending three hours per day playing video games on a tablet isn’t going to help your child, and it could damage their development.

The best answer is to use common sense when it comes to how much interactive technology your child is exposed to. Children can play games for a few minutes. A child’s day should contain fun activities. But hours of game time or watching videos isn’t going to be beneficial.

Encourage Creative Activities

It might be hard to pry your child away from the television, but encouraging them to participate in creative activities can be helpful. The activity that you and your child choose doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something that gets them creating instead of watching.

Get Your Child Outside

Children that spend too much time with technology are more likely to be overweight because they don’t get enough exercise. If you’re like most parents, you probably have fond memories of playing outside when you were a kid whether you played organized sports or just ran around the neighborhood.

Encourage your child to get outside or do something physical. Sign your child up for a sport they’re interested in or get them involved in dance or karate lessons.

Physical activities like gymnastics can be very beneficial for children and teens. / Image Courtesy of Flickr

If your child isn’t interested in something organized, take them to the park. Set up a basic exercise routine and do it with them. Do anything you can to get them moving while they’re young so they’ll continue that habit in their adult years when it really matters.

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area. She has written on everything from market, tech, and real estate, but as a mother of three, has a special appreciation of health & wellness issues.

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