Why I Won't Let Ethan Play With My Phone

It is hard to imagine what it would be like to grow up surrounded by technology and media, but this is what our kids will experience. I am still in shock every time I see a 16 month old playing Angry Birds. A coworker of mine told me that her 22 month old granddaughter tries to swipe the television to change channels. These tykes are more advanced than me!

As the tech savvy nature in kids is rapidly developing and seems to be starting at earlier ages with every new device, I can’t help but wonder at what cost. When I see families out to dinner and every single kid on a different handheld device, it is hard not to compare that scene to what I experienced in my own childhood. I have two sisters and if my parents weren't engaging us in a conversation with them, my sisters and I would figure out how to entertain each other, whether we talked, played a game, or did some sketching {if the establishment tablecloths permitted it}. And then there was always my mom’s mantra that neither my sisters nor I ever wanted to live up to, “only boring kids get bored.” We did not want to be boring kids!

After learning that we were pregnant, I became more aware of how some parents address this relatively new aspect of child-rearing. Not necessarily judging other mamas, but taking note of the good and the bad and contemplating how I would handle with my own parenting style, the different situations that I witnessed. My initial instinct was to prohibit or at least limit media use. The more I saw kids, especially those still considered infants, totally immersed in technology and media, the more my instincts were reinforced. But when questioned, I still couldn't give solid answer to why I wanted my future kids to avoid media.

Some light research and personal testimony was all I needed to feel confident in my decision. A quick internet search brought up quite a number of articles that encouraged parents to prohibit or at least limit media/technology usage by kids, especially infants under two years old. Most of the articles pointed to the aap.org as their source. I searched the American Academy of Pediatrics' website and found the most helpful study. The study reinforced the idea that media use in children under the age of two is worthless, if not harmful. Children under two don't have the ability to understand "educational programming and games" and respond better to 3D play and interactions with adults. Media and technology use is thought to affect speech and sleep in addition to other developmental aspects. Even though this study and and the other articles couldn't make a definitive statement of "cause and effect" by media use, the "thought to" is good enough for me to make the decision to limit media use by Ethan.

My other reasoning is a bit more personal. A cousin of mine, who is an occupational therapist, brought up media use {particularly cellphone and tablet use} at a family gathering. She pointed out that she is working with quite a number of kids that have stunted fine motor skill development. Kids have been so programmed at a young age to use a electronic device that they are giving up three dimensional play in favor of an app on mom's phone or ipad. She gave an example that a child could put together a puzzle on an ipad but could not complete the task with a physical puzzle. This is scary, people!! These children are our future dentists, surgeons, and engineers! After hearing these fine motor skill horror stories, my husband who is a hobby mechanic, strongly supported limiting Ethan's tech use. He wants a son that knows his way around a socket wrench!

I realize that parenting styles and practices are personal and to each their own. But I would suggest to everyone to slow down and think about the potential effects. Is my personal comfort in the present worth any amount of struggle for my child in the future? For me, it's a small sacrifice I'm willing to make.

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  1. You tell 'em sister! :) I completely agree!

  2. I absolutely agree with you. not only can not give their children phones at an early age, but it is recommended do not allow them to watch TV up to 3 years. Because the principle of rapidly changing pictures bad influence on the visual organ child
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