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How much should our children be learning from smartphones and tablets?

Natalie Johnson

At times, mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets can be a godsend for any parent and can be great for keeping children entertained. However, are we starting to rely more heavily on these devices at the detriment of doing normal activities such as reading to our children, teaching through unstructured play, playing outside and experiencing nature, all because it’s easier and keeps them happy and quiet?

Children are so impressionable, even more so in their early years where they copy everything grown ups do and say. My two year old is fascinated by technology and mimics mine and my partner’s mobile habits. He pretends to talk on the phone, loves doing face time and taking photos and videos of himself and is constantly asking to watch Mickey Mouse or Peppa Pig.

Our newly discovered app, Cbeebies playtime, is highly addictive even for me and my son is already hooked after being introduced to it by my partner this morning! He insisted on playing with it in the car and was chuckling away to himself whilst playing games and watching Mr Tumble. I can certainly see the educational benefits and fully intend to embrace this medium as a learning and development tool that we can use together. Whilst there are undoubtedly educational merits to play on such apps, do we really know how much this affects the rounded development of our young children?

Is it necessary to curb their exposure to technology, or should it be embraced? Are they getting into bad habits or are they developing the skills and confidence to survive in the modern world?

I for one will not be allowing unmonitored access to my 2 year old but I am conscious that as he grows, so too will his appetite for technology.