Raising kids in the digital age poses new challenges for parents. Children are exposed to digital devices and platforms from a very young age because of how technology is integrated in our lives. Since it’s hard to live without mobile phones, TV, and other smart gadgets, it’s important for parents to learn how to use technology in the best way for their baby’s overall wellbeing.
Understanding how screentime affects child development
Child development research shows that too much time in front of a screen has been linked to bad things, like slower language development, bad social skills, and behaviour problems. When kids use gadgets too much and directly from a young age, it can mess up their sleep cycles, make them anxious, make their eyesight worse, make it hard for them to control their muscles, etc. So, the WHO says that babies shouldn’t watch phone/TV until they are two years old and can only get a small amount of screentime after that.
So, then how does technology support parents?
In today’s fast-paced world, first-time parents find it increasingly difficult to give the best start to their kids in the limited time they have. Here are a few ways that technology today helps parents:
- Apps for early development can help parents track their child’s growth and give the right stimulation at the right time for wholesome development early on. You can also use these apps to track baby’s daily logs, get tips, bedtime stories, and advice from experts.
- White noise and audio stories are also becoming more popular as ways to help kids get into good sleep habits early.
- Education games, after three years, are good for learning rhymes, sight words, pronunciations, etc.
- GPS trackers for kids are a great way to keep track of where they are, and they are small enough to fit in shoes, bags, and other places.
- Parents who work can keep an eye on their baby’s health and care with the help of baby monitors.
Keeping kids safe online
There are risks to using technology, like being exposed to inappropriate content or people who want to hurt you online. Parents can keep their kids safe online by using parental controls, content filters, and monitoring tools. The most important thing is to be careful about where we upload videos and pictures of our children.
Balancing screen time with real-life interactions
It is important for parents to remember that technology is not a substitute for face-to-face interaction and hands-on learning. Children need opportunities to engage in physical play, explore their environment, and interact with others in real life. Technology should be used to help and guide, not to replace your time, presence, and play with the baby.
Checklist for raising kids in the digital era:
- Set limits on screen time and engage babies in development activities right from birth.
- Use educational apps and programs to help and guide you, but don’t let them take your place.
- To keep your baby safe online, use parental controls, content filters, and be careful where you upload videos and pictures of your baby.
- Use gadgets and tools to find out more about child safety.
In conclusion, raising kids in the digital era presents new challenges for parents, but technology can be used to support healthy development. By understanding the impact of technology on child development and using technology to support parents, parents can promote healthy development for their children.