If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend The Atlantic article, The Touch-Screen Generation by Hanna Rosin. Rosin presents an in-depth and somewhat reassuring look at the way very young children use tablets, pointing out that toddlers don’t have to be taught how to use an iPad. “The connection is obvious,” she writes.
While recognizing that excessive use of technology “is a real problem,” she largely debunks the notion that technology is necessarily harmful or addictive for young children “If your child shows signs of having an addictive personality, you will probably know it,” she said. She also calls into question the American Academy of Pediatrics updated policy about “screen time” where it applies the same recommendation for interactive technology that it advises for passive TV, recommending that it be avoided for children under 2. But even children’s TV, said Rosin, has evolved so that some shows now contain pauses so that kids can react and interact.
As with most things, it strikes me as a matter of balance. A steady diet of technology (or for that matter, books, baseball or any other single activity) is almost certainly not a good thing, but moderate use of technology — including tablets for toddlers — has not proven to be harmful. As with everything, parental involvement with young children remains a remedy against a lot of maladies and that includes parents using the technology with their children — not using it as an electronic babysitter.
Here’s a PBS NewsHour interview with Rosin. Also check out the video embedded in The Atlantic article.
Watch Tech-Savvy Toddlers Go for Tablets Over Teddy Bears on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.