10 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Let Your Child Play with Smartphone or iPad

Before you hand your smartphone or iPad to your kid to keep 'em quiet, know this: pediatric occupational therapist Chris Rowan has outlined 10 reasons why you shouldn't.

Children aged 3 to 5 who are exposed to technology more than four hours a day - including use of handheld devices like cell phones, tablets, and electronic games - could develop serious behavioral problems and even child developmental delays.

So, Rowan is calling parents, teachers, and even the government to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years. In this post over at Huffington Post, Rowan explained 10 reasons why, summarized below:

  1. Exposure to technology is bad for rapid brain growth of children from 0 to 2 years of age
  2. Technology use restricts movement, and thus results in delayed physical development
  3. TV and video game use correlates with increased obesity
  4. 75% of kids who use technology in the bedroom have sleep deprivation
  5. Technology overuse is a factor in child depression, anxiety, and other mental illness
  6. Violent media can cause child aggression
  7. "Digital dementia": too much digital media cause decreased concentration and memory
  8. 10% of children aged 8 to 18 are addicted to technology
  9. Potential radiation emission from digital devices
  10. The way children are raised and educated with technology is unsustainable

Rowan shares a guideline on the appropriate use of technology for kids of varying ages:

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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This article is nothing more than alarmist, unproven luddite fear-mongering. That it lists "potential radiation emission" as a hazard ought to be enough for anyone with a modicum of scientific literacy to question the validity of any of these "points". Claims like "Exposure to technology is bad for rapid brain growth of children from 0 to 2 years of age" and "The way children are raised and educated with technology is unsustainable" are broad, vague, and meaningless.

An iPad or a smartphone is just a tool, and like any other tool, it's as good or bad as how it's used. My under 2-year old plays "Endless Reader" on the iPad and has learned to recognize the shapes of letters and words, and the sounds they make. That app is kind of ridiculously impressive, and you should check it out if you want to see an example of technology being used to provide a superior learning experience. Other apps have been very effective at teaching her colors and shapes and counting. A good app can be even more interactive, dynamic, and engaging than a See-and-Say or Speak-and-Spell, or any other good toy. That it involves a touch screen doesn't suddenly make it a hazard to children.

TV isn't bad for kids, either- it's commercial TV's vast array of idiotic content presented in alternating 5 -10 minute segments of content followed by 30 seconds, 30 seconds, 30 seconds, etc of ads which is teaching them nothing and practically conditioning them to have attention problems. The PBS app is great because it makes a vast amount of quality educational content available for her to explore at her own pace and without commercials or having to worry about her running across inappropriate content. I think she has actually learned quite a bit watching Curious George, Peg + Cat, Daniel Tiger, etc..

Should you let your kid do nothing but play on the iPad all day, or take it to bed with them? Of course not, but you don't have to shield your kid from technology like it's the devil, and you'll just be doing them a disservice if you do- the fact is it will be an even bigger part of their lives than it is in ours. Your child will be worse off being unfamiliar with it, and could very well fall behind their peers by missing out on its massive potential as a learning tool.
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Yeah this article went off the deep end pretty quickly.... just to be a troll, I thought about substituting the word "book" in each point :-D Like #4: 75% of kids who use books in the bedroom have sleep deprivation... #3: Book reading correlates with increased obesity... #6: Violent books can cause child aggression... #9: Potential radiation emission from books (hey, makes as much sense!)
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You know, this started off so well. No child should be handed a device/stuck in front of a TV just to keep them quiet. The statement about children 3-5 spending more than 4 hours a day in front of a screen seems reasonable too. I hate parents who will use their iPad or a TV to shut their kids up for several hours a day. However, to decide that because those parents are out there that all kids should be banned from any tech use is just absurd and that list of ten reasons is mostly absurd as well. The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from this article is moderation, but the people who need to learn how to moderate how much screen time their children are getting would ignore this article anyways.
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