Infants and Toddlers in the Digital Age

in Everyday Learning

toddler and blocksThere’s a growing amount of screen media available for children under age 2. In fact, digital technology for our littlest ones is exploding. Developers want games that are easy enough for babies to understand.

However, child development researchers regularly discourage passive media use for little ones. The Academy of Pediatrics and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity discourage any screen media for little ones under age 2.

In his article for the Fred Rogers Center, For Infants and Toddlers in the Digital Age: Time with Adults Still Matters Most, Michael Robb reports on a  “disconnect between what pediatricians and advocacy groups recommend and the reality of children’s home lives.” Robb cites research that finds young children under age 2 spend a lot of time watching TV, DVD’s and digital devices—despite the fact that screen time is discouraged for young children because learning from media can be very difficult for them.

Until around 18-24 months of age, Robb says, young ones must use physical play to learn about the world around them. Whether it’s putting a toy block through a hole or snapping a wooden puzzle together, children have to manipulate real objects to solve problems.

Birth to age 2 is a critical time of development. Infant and toddler tech programs take time away from creative, hands-on play and face-time with loving adults. Both play and face-time are essential for learning in the early years.  So is language-rich interaction between young children and their caregivers.

There is plenty of time for children to use media, but only one short year to be one, and one short year to be two.

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