What Research Says of Kids and Tech

My one-and-a-half-year-old cousin picked up my phone. I looked up from my book, but seeing her studying it intently, I immersed myself in Bartimaeus' quick wit again. Two minutes later, I got a phone call. When I was done talking, I looked down at the screen and didn't know whether to laugh or be horrified. At an age when I could barely say the word 'phone' without the 'n', my cousin had been taking selfies. For children in today’s society, technologies like smartphones and tablets are commonplace. In fact, children rely on technology for the majority of their play, spending up to eight hours each day with some sort of entertainment technology. The problem is, there is very little research on what impact those technologies have on children’s development.A main concern about technology is the impact on a child’s fine and gross motor skills. Gross motor skills include the larger movements of the arms, legs, feet and they are involved in actions such as running, crawling and swimming. Fine motor skills involve smaller movements that happen in the wrists, hands, fingers and toes. Both skills work together to provide coordination.“During early childhood a child needs fine motor, gross motor and physical activity. A parent should devote some time of the day or affordances in the home for the child to have that,” explained Dr. Carl Gabbard, director of the Child Motor Development Laboratory at Texas A&M. “You could argue that the iPad is beneficial for developing specific eye-hand and visual-motor skills, but its value is limited. A parent needs to provide activities such as building blocks and puzzles to help with development.”For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been stressing the importance of limiting screen time for children. Current research suggests screen time should be avoided for children under 2 years of age while children over 2 years of age should be exposed to no more than two hours of screen time per day. It was also recently published that parents who use tablets or smartphones to entertain or distract their children could be harming that child’s social-emotional development.Dr. Jeffrey Liew, professor of learning sciences, suggests parents use the technology to engage their child socially and verbally and then connect that technology to their visual and motor skills. He says it is important for parents to not just use the technology as a tool to keep their child busy.This Post is from here