In today’s day and age, it seems as if every toddler is playing on their parents’ tablets and touchscreen phones or even their own. It seems outrageous watching a toddler swipe, slide, and maneuver their way through an IPhone at such a young age. I got my first flip-phone when I was in fifth grade and then my first touchscreen device in seventh grade. Even at that age it took me a good amount of time to really know how to use it. The more times a toddler touches a screen, they are taken to different apps and pages but the more they do this, the more they are able to understand how a certain device functions. As technology is improving it is becoming an essential part of everyday life and crucial for education and communication. The ability of a toddler to learn how to play on touchscreen devices should be condemned and appreciated but many parents don’t like the fact kids are using high tech devices at such a young age.
Parents believe technology will damage their toddlers social skills because they think they will spend to much time on the device. Parents, perceive toddlers will get addicted to smartphones and think they need to be playing with them at all times or they will cry if they aren’t available to them. Another way their social skills will be disrupted is when they are on the device instead of interacting with other toddlers and communicating with them. Another argument by parents is toddlers aren’t going to get connected with the world we live in because technology is keeping them inside instead of crawling and rolling around the floor. Also it is perceived, technology invites toddlers into thinking they are in a made up, virtual world as they have been exposed to when they play games on their parents smartphones. The last argument by parents why touch screens negatively impacts their infants is they think it will interfere with their sleep and lead to sleep problems.These are natural thoughts by most parents but they aren’t necessarily correct. Just because Kim Kardashians daughter took her phone and sent a tweet doesn’t mean all usage of smartphones need to be restricted. Click here to see what toddler, North West first tweet was.
The truth is that there is no evidence that the correlation between a toddlers usage of a touchscreen are negative. Since touch screens are relatively new, there hasn’t been enough time and evidence to tell if using a touch screen has disrupted social skills, combination skills and sleep problems. The only thing that can be told at this point is the rise in motor skills of toddlers. Motor skills are the ability to preform coordinated movements using small and large muscles. Playing with traditional toys don’t achieve the cognitive experience touch screens do. Figuring out how to unlock a phone or type letters is surprisingly a rewarding experience for a toddler. Toddlers learn by what they see and hear. These educational apps are interactive and fun but at the same time teach letters, numbers, and colors to toddlers. These games have led to better academic achievement especially for kids who live in lower socio-economic backgrounds. Touch screens also improve real life tools like action and reaction times, problem solving, coordination, and creativity. Toddler using touch screens are given a challenge whether it is to unlock a phone, get to an app, or type a word and are given no help by their parents. It may take 100 times but a toddler learns perseverance by trying over and over again in order to finally click or swipe a certain button.
52 percent of toddlers 6-11 months are exposed to touchscreen devices and that jumps to 92 percent as kids grow up to 12-36 months old. It is obvious the new generation of toddlers are going to need to know how to use touchscreen devices. Starting them at a young age is important in order to not only boost their motor skills but get them ready for the future. The more technology savvy a child is the more it will benefit them in the long run. Time should definitely be monitored but there is no reason a toddler shouldn’t be able to swipe and slide through their parents tablets and smartphones for 15 minutes a day.