Screen Sense: Screen Use Advice for Young Kids

Apr 21, 2016 | 1 Votes by shilpa 10 rate Your vote
The screens are the new pages and the fingers are the new pens. However, there's the dilemma of letting your child have too much screen time. So, how can you use Screen Sense and maximize the screen time your child should get? Games Educate Kids - Screen Sense: Screen Use Advice for Young Kids

It’s pretty common to see 4 year old kids using a mobile device in this day and era. The screens are the new pages and the fingers are the new pens. With vast advancement in technology in the last decade, the generation gap seems to have taken a leap.

Various researches have shown that merging the real world with the virtual one would help a child under three years learn and understand things better. Some researches show that a child, who is younger than two years, has a faster rate of development when interacting with these devices. Some research articles out there also show that if the parents and other trustworthy adults help their children interact with these devices, it could become a tool for learning.

Although technology, particularly educational apps on mobile devices, can be critical tools for child development, it’s a fact that children under the age of three years are more sensitive towards the environment. Due to this, some parents might be quite hesitant to immerse their kids, especially very young children, into the digital world. After all, having too much screen time – “Screen time” means how long you allow your child to be exposed and to use mobile devices – can be detrimental to the mental and social well-being of your child.

This dilemma has been plaguing parents ever since the boom of mobile games. Truth to be told, their concerns are pretty valid. To address this problem, several thinkers have come around and developed this new concept of “Screen Sense”. From there, the concept has given birth to an ever-expanding list of screen use advice that will help caregivers and parents maximize learning and minimize negative effects of screen time. Here are a few of them to start things off.

#1: Limit Screen Time

One of the most obvious pointers to the concept of Screen Sense is to actually limit screen use. The child should have enough time to interact with the real world. They would learn better about the physical world if they explored it themselves. The screen time should be limited to 2-3 hours daily.

#2: Comparing Between What’s Real and What’s Not

The sessions should be interactive in the sense that you should compare what he or she sees on the screen and what is seen the real world. Parents and care-providers should help toddlers and kids below 2 years differentiate what’s real and what’s not. Let you child play an educational game where flowers can sing and dance, and then take them out to the garden and see if they recognize it and point out the differences. This will help them develop a better understanding of the world around them.

#2: Parent and Adult Participation

Make your child watch something on the screen and then ask him if he understand. Help him connect the dots. Play colorful games with him and help him relate what he sees on the screen and what he sees for real. Show him colors on the screen and later ask him to point out the different colors he sees around him. If it’s a story-based game, you could then read the story to him or her as the pictures are shown on the screen. With more parent involvement, the child will be more engaged and will definitely be able to make the most out of their screen time.

#3: Content

Improper content can be detrimental towards the child’s learning. The content should be simple. Objects and pictures children can relate to. Everyday objects like trees, flowers, clouds etc. should be included. Secondly, the apps and media should be interactive. It should include themes children understand with a story line. Playing puzzle games, like helping him or her figure out which shape would fit into differently shaped holes, with your kid is a good example of a good content.

#4: Avoid Distractions

When you are engaged in some valuable screen time with your child, help him or her concentrate on the puzzle, the story or the game rather than the technology. Switch off your data connection or Wi-Fi to avoid sudden distractions, pop-ups, adverts or notifications that will definitely distract your child. This should ensure that whatever screen time your child has will most certainly be maximized.

#5: Screen Time vs Sleep Time

Under no circumstance let your child’s sleeping pattern be affected by his or her indulgence in playing mobile games even if they are educational ones. Improper sleep or disturbance in sleep time can lead to sickness, fatigue and irritability. Don’t keep mobile devices that your child is allowed to play on in your children’s bedroom.

If the children have a proper ‘screen diet’, their learning process can be accelerated to quite an extent. Start with 2 hrs of screen time per day with your child; help him understand what he sees; help him link the virtual world to the real world and watch in amazement as technology proves how useful it can be when it’s wielded properly.

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