I recently read an article about the use of smartphones ‘killing children’s ability to communicate’. On the basis that I have an Android tablet using 4 year old who never stops talking, I don’t quite agree with this.
Of course, there’s going to be the extreme cases where parents let their kids use an iPhone all day while they sit and watch re-runs of Jeremy Kyle, but if you’re sensible about it there are many advantages to allowing children to have screen time.
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We have a Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet and it’s great. You can set timers so they can only use it for a certain amount of time each day, you can make it turn off at your chosen time of an evening, and you can control what content they have access to.
Here are my top 5 reasons why I don’t feel guilty about letting my child using smartphones and tablets:
Additional learning resources
Via educational apps and games there are so many things that children can learn that they wouldn’t necessarily have the access to offline. My daughter’s favourite games include robot building and train driving – where would a 4-year-old get to learn about this normally!
There are so many problem-solving games that help kids to think logically and give their brain a workout without them realising that they’re not just playing. Making sense of clues and finding solutions are key skills that children need to learn, Where’s My Mickey? is a favourite of ours.
Access to information
Gone are the days where you have to wait until the weekend to go to the library to find a book on your child’s latest favourite subject. If, like mine, they’re full of questions such as “what do gorillas eat?” or “how do trees breathe?” they can just ask Siri or Google Voice Search. (Also great for parents who don’t know ALL the answers!)
One of the main ways we all use technology these days is to keep in touch with friends and family. Facetime and Skype are brilliant, easy to use resources that allow kids to speak ‘face to face’ with grandparents or friends who live far away.
Let’s not forget that the best bit about childhood is playing. There’s no reason that having fun and being imaginative needs to be restricted to traditional toys and books. We all want our kids to learn as much as possible and playing is the best way to learn whether on or offline.
So if your child regularly uses a smartphone or tablet don’t let the press make you feel guilty about it – embrace it and use it to teach your kids new skills. Screen time doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
And of course the odd episode of Peppa Pig on YouTube while you do the housework won’t cause any harm 😉