tech toddlers

Tech for Toddlers

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m thinking of giving my 18-month-old my old iPad. She loves playing with it and I think she should have her own. My husband disagrees. What do you think?

A: I’d hold off for a while. There’s a lot of information out there on technology’s effect on children, but very little on toddlers as young as yours. What there is, however, paints a pretty grim picture. Here are the arguments in favor and against.

Pro #1: Our kids see us interacting with screens in every aspect of our lives. Kids who don’t have superior tech skills will be at a disadvantage as they grow up.

Con #1: Children are being pushed to grow up too quickly. What they need is time to relax, enjoy life, and be a kid. The research is clear: young children learn everything better by interacting with their parents than from a machine. They also need to physically interact with their world, something they can’t do with 2D images on a phone or tablet.

Pro #2: It’s only for a few minutes at a time. What harm could there be in that?

Con #2: Researcher Karin Archer found that 62% of children under one year old and 89% of children under 2½ had been introduced to at least one mobile device. Pediatrician Catherine Birken and her colleagues found that 20% of children under 18 months were using handheld devices an average of 28 minutes per day. They also found that the more time a child spent on a device, the higher the risk of an “expressive speech delay,” meaning that they have trouble using words and language.

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Armin Brott

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Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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