Television can be addictive no matter what your age. You have certainly heard the claim by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stating that your children would best be served without watching television until they are two years old. It is based on the premise of research that children learn best through active engagement (reading books or through play)…”and interacting with a screen doesn’t qualify.”
Where does the AAP stand on smartphones? Well. “the group is continually reassessing the guidelines to address new forms of screen time. We always try to throw in the latest technology, but the cellphone industry is becoming so complex that we always come back to the table and wonder should we have a specific guideline for cellphones…at the moment, we seem to feel it is the same as TV,” said a member of the academy’s council of communications and media.
Yesterday, my son woke up from his nap, stood up in his crib and started shouting, “water.” His face flushed red from the warmth in the room, I quickly brought him his bottle of water. Easy enough for parents to visualize. Now picture this: The toddler, tousle-haired and sleepy-eyed, clambered to a wobbly stand in his crib. He smiled, reached out to his father, and uttered what is fast becoming the cry of his generation: “iPhone!” Again, easy enough for parents to understand the magnetism of these “magical” toys.
I do not let my son “play” with my blackBerry. Sure, he goes for it when it is charging or tries to pry it out of my hands sometimes when I am having a conversation. Still, I don’t give in because I realize the power of the addiction – heck, I am addicted to my phone so why do I want to expose my toddler to it already? Not surprisingly, the iPhone and our little ones are starting to become a hot topic of debate – Do I give my toddler an iPhone to play with so I can get some peace and quiet at dinner in a restaurant? Should I use an iPhone app to engage my child so I can get a few minutes of work done?
The New York Times addressed this hot topic last week in Toddler’s Favorite Toy: the iPhone by Hilary Stout. I thought there were some great points discussed on both sides of the debate. Stout says the iPhone…
has also become the most effective tool in human history to mollify a fussy toddler, much to the delight of parents reveling in their newfound freedom to have a conversation in a restaurant or roam the supermarket aisles in peace. But just as adults have a hard time putting down their iPhones, so the device is now the Toy of Choice — akin to a treasured stuffed animal — for many 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds. It’s a phenomenon that is attracting the attention and concern of some childhood development specialists.
Interested to hear some parents weigh in with their thoughts on this relevant debate – To Smartphone with your child or Not to Smartphone?