Tablets and Child Development: Are They Good for Kids?

Featured image of thoughtful girl with tablet

In recent years, tablet computers have been increasingly present on the market, with manufacturers turning to the youngest, thinking that even four-year-old boys and girls should have their own specially designed tablet that they will not share with their parents.

Tablets can help children a lot; it’s just how you want your child to get to know the world around them. Manufacturers, on the other hand, are making a real effort to include a variety of website filters in tablets specifically designed for children, as well as options that allow parents to determine the number of hours children can use it. So think about why your child needs a tablet, because they can really be useful – for entertainment, educational and creative purposes.

What will tablets do to our children?

Today’s parents have various questions when it comes to the use of modern technology. Because of their ease of use, they are most attractive to young children (toddlers themselves can run interactive games tailored to their age),so the question is are tablets bad for toddlers or are they useful?

Well, it always depends on how will you teach your child to use it, and what technology benefits will you show to your child. Manufacturers are creating new tablets every day that are more and more adjusted to children, all depending on how old the child is. Choosing the best tablet may be a little more challenging than you thought, because it can be used by the child for educational purposes as well as for fun.

You will surely need a way to channel children’s curiosity for technology. You can do it by installing apps that are appropriate for girl or boy toddler’s age and interests. If they can learn something from those apps, then playing games may not be bad at all. When deciding if it is the right time to introduce your toddler to your tablet, you should pay attention to the following:

1. How can a tablet help in child development?

There are numerous apps that are fun, educational, interesting, and tailored for children from early childhood to preschool. With certain games, toddlers will learn to recognize numbers, learn forward and backward counting from 1 to 100, solve puzzles, and will not even know that they are learning math all that time.

Interest your preschooler to learn letters, colors, shapes, count and recognize different patterns. Games like “A Parcel of Courage” can help children improve their working memory, hand-to-hand coordination, and listening skills.

With “Alphabet Flashcards”, learning alphabet becomes easy and fun. The game encourages development of children’s memory and listening skills. Children will learn how to spell a letter and be able to associate it with an object that begins with that letter.

So, there are numerous apps that will help in your child’s education. Show them that there is more than one way to have fun, and help them find more interests that they will develop even more into the future.

2. Are they learning through play or just playing?

The only one responsible for the way a child interacts with the world and technology is a parent. Will your child see the benefits of technology or will it use it mindlessly to pass the time is up to the way you show your child how to spend its free time. Will your child be constructive or will it just do things to pass the boredom is something a parent will teach them. Regarding tablets and child development, every new medium, however revolutionary it was at the time it appeared, was initially condemned as a threat to young people.

First, television, then computers, and in the end tablets were always first marked as a waste of time. The first impression always was that the time spent using technology is wasted and could be otherwise spent on learning or on active play time with peers. Yet, technology is changing the world, and introducing your child to it can help your kid get a better understanding of the world as well as developing needed skills that will be of use in its teen and adult years.

Image of little girl on floor looking at tablet

3. How they interact with it: not all children are the same

Make the difference between learning on a tablet and having fun. Some children use them more than others, but they also better understand and respond to how this device works. Most importantly, there are numerous applications that are age appropriate. At this age, children should learn to complete tasks because this is a prelude to learning work habits, so if you notice that your toddler is switching from one application to another without completing the previous one, it’s time to leave the tablet. The break can take a day, seven days or longer, judge for yourself what is best for your child.

If your child is not reacting positively to the educational aspects that tablets can offer, then maybe that kind of learning is not for him/her. Not everyone responds to technology in the same way, maybe you can try some different apps or using it together. Sometimes the break from using a tablet can last up to a month and if your child doesn’t ask for it after that period, maybe it is a good thing. Listen to your child’s interests and help it develop in a way they are reaching for.

4. What to look out for

The trouble with not taking care of how long your child is using a tablet can produce certain problems. It can change how children and parents respond to each other. If the question of how much the child is using technology is getting in the way of your relationship, maybe you should switch focus and conversation by removing the problem altogether. It is the same if technology is becoming too addictive for your kid.

Another problem that you need to keep an eye on is your child’s sleeping patterns. If it refuses to go to bed on time or secretly uses the tablet all night, then it’s time for more control. There are numerous tablets available on the market today that can be adjusted to shut down at certain times of day and night, and to shut down after a certain number of hours of use. Sleep is very important for the development of children and therefore, special attention should be paid to this.

The thing is, children usually copy their parents. The way you respond to cell phones, your child will too. You should watch your behavior while using technology; avoid shouting, excessive use, and having it turned on while spending quality time with your children. Technology should be used with moderation and care because in the end it is just a door that helps us form relationships and gain knowledge.

How to protect your child from harm?

There are several key features that are considered important when buying tablets for children. In addition to the needs you consider your child to have and on the budget set for it, you should consider the characteristics of the tablet itself, which, above all, should have an option for “parental control”, or a web search filter that will prevent the child from going to “undesirable” sites.

Social networks are quite popular among younger population even though they were not meant to be used by them. For example Facebook has an age restriction for 13 year olds and lower but that doesn’t stop children from creating fake accounts for them. Internet bullying can be a problem so some kind of control over your child’s usage of the internet is desirable. Turning off the Wi-Fi when it is time for dinner, homework, family time or sleep is quite beneficial and will give you some control over your child’s technology usage.

Digital games on tablets and mobile phones seem to be created just for toddlers: they are easy to use by simply tapping your finger on the screen with a multitude of vibrant colors, interesting characters and imaginative animation that can even sustain young children for a long time. However, it is certainly not advisable for the youngest to spend too much time with such applications. Parents should limit the time their children spend in front of the screen from one to two hours a day, as well as encourage them to play more and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

In addition, parents need to be convinced that children have fun while using the apps, because of the potential for loss of interest in a particular activity. The trouble is if you are asking yourself are tablets bad for toddlers you should know that losing interest surely is. It guides them to an idea that in life it is quite easy to switch from one path to another and that doesn’t teach the child any responsibility or tenacity. With this in mind, educational applications can fulfill their purpose – to provide the youngest users with the opportunity to learn through play and enjoyment.

Author: Stan Marsh
Author: Stan Marsh

Hi all, I’m a toy reviewer, a father, programmer and an occasional sketch artist from Washington D.C where i live with my wife and wonderful 4-year-old daughter. Although i have a bachelor’s degree in Child’s Psychology, i didn’t pursue a career in that direction. Nonetheless, the experience and knowledge i gathered during my studies helped my tremendously with life challenges.

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