Thursday, November 7, 2013

Play is the work of childhood.

A mind at play is the source of our most creative thoughts and overuse of technology can make it difficult for the mind to play. Children need time and space to be—to play, to daydream, to imagine, and to create. Too much data coming in with technology compromises the very activities that allow us to be creative.  Are we encouraging children to be proficient search engines and information gatherers at the expense of fostering their growth and development?

No doubt, technology does enhance children’s education—the internet’s value as a research tool— but the concern becomes the over use of technology and how compatible child-friendly digital technologies are with the nature of childhood and the flowering of their self.

Here are some recent findings that shed light on every parent’s quandary of how much and how soon children should be introduced to technology.

~ The  American Academy of Pediatrics  recommends no “screen time” – that’s time with any sort of media device, from TV sets to smartphones – for children under age 2 and less than one or two hours a day for older kids.

~ Playing with real life toys, puzzles, and books is better than then the educational shows and applications on media devices says Dr. Julie O’Brien, a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

~  A child’s world is supposed to center around people. “”Parents need to make sure their children are getting a minimum time of interaction. We may be losing sight of the basics – talk to your kid, play with your kid, ” says Dr.  Mark Cohen, a pediatrician at Kaiser Santa Clara.

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