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Children and the digital world. How much is too much?

Posted in: Blog | October 1, 2018

Lots of us remember the excitement of ICT lessons at school. Being given access to a computer was thrilling. Initially, school ICT lessons were basically word-processing lessons, then, almost overnight (or so it seemed) schools were introducing the joys of the internet and WWW. 

IT is now an intrinsic part of everyday life. We can’t shop, read, travel, get health care, an education, or  communicate without it.The digital age has opened up the entire world to us. We need to be constantly updating our knowledge, in order to keep pace with the constant changes and developments. It is a fantastic tool, but when should we start to introduce it to our children?

As part of a balanced curriculum, and to prepare them for their future learning, it is important that children become familiar with technology. When should we introduce children to these vital skills?  The key word here, is ‘balanced’. Emma Asprey, Senior lecturer in Primary PG E at Bath Spar University, argues that, ‘there isn’t a fixed age when children should start using technology, and that it does not replace any aspect of learning, but adds to the rich resources available as long as it is used in the right way.’

What is the ‘right ‘ way ? Who decides for individual children?

Ultimately, it is the the parent/main career of the child to say how much access, and which areas of IT children should be exposed to. Armed with knowledge of child development, and internet safety, parents / careers are given the opportunity to make an informed decision. Ironically, it is through using digital technology, that we can compare opinions and information on this very subject!

The American Academy of Paediatrics states that, ‘ children under the age of two should be discouraged from using digital technology, and preschool children should not be watching TV or using digital devices for more that two hours per day.’

The reasoning behind this, is that under two’s should be developing their inter-personal skills, especially watching how people talk to, and respond to, them. This seems to be a sensible approach, and one worth considering. So what of older children?

To return to Emma Asprey’s comments on a ‘balanced’ curriculum. All good educational establishments aim to help children into well-rounded individuals. At Tiny Toes we constantly strive to make sure all of our children are given the best possible start. We use digital technology to enhance learning. The children don’t sit  gazing mindlessly at screens. We use DT to support their learning. For example, interacting physically to ‘Shake your sillies out ‘ and ‘ Kid’s Yoga’, allows the children to reinforce listening skills, and their ability to follow instructions, whilst enjoying physical activities.

As long as children have access to personal interaction, hard copies of books, physical activity time, they can enjoy the  benefits of the digital age, we can be sure they will indeed become well -rounded, balanced individuals, ready to fit into our ever – changing world of digital technology.