Monday, November 12, 2012

How much is too much when it comes to children & the Internet?

A recent article in the NYT spoke of the trauma many people experienced when Storm Sandy knocked out Internet access for days. The author maintains “adults and children are overindulging in our devices, devoting ourselves to the trivial.” That is certainly debatable but what is irrefutable is the fact that young children need a different kind of stimulation for their brains to grow and develop.

One of the biggest challenges a parent faces is how much on line time do children need and how much is too much.

At birth, most of a baby’s 100 billion brain cells aren’t yet connected in networks. Those cells become connected when babies have stimulating experiences. Research shows that early language experience actually stimulate a child’s brain to grow. Talking develops a child’s use and understanding of language, which is the basis of reading. Vocabulary development by age 3 has been found to predict reading success and conversations before the age of 3 are directly linked to IQ development.  Preschoolers who have heard more words have larger vocabularies when they enter kindergarten and are prepared to learn to read.

Busy parents along with children plugged into devices does not foster the type of interaction and stimulation children need to foster their verbal abilities. Language acquisition and fluency comes from face to face interaction, not from a device or a flash card. Put down the device and start talking.

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