Digital Technology For babies,
Help Them Learn At An Early Age.
I-Pad Babies And Digital Technology Are They Developmentally More Advanced?
For some progressive new parents, carpe diem means seizing every waking moment today to make sure their babies will be successful tomorrow. For these parents, success is digital. Some child development experts share the belief that the sooner children become computer-savvy, the quicker they will be acclimated to this brave new digital world. Few would argue about the importance of digital technology in preparing children for school and life in general. But how soon should a baby's brain be hard-wired to technology? Here are a few points for your consideration.
Digital Technology for Babies: The Pros
Technology for children has the ability to help with:
1. Fine-tuning motor skills. Pushing keys on tablets and other devices helps them to learn to manipulate and grasp other objects. Some maintain that this is as valuable to developing manual dexterity as doodling, finger painting, or playing with other toys.
2. Eye to hand coordination. Technological help with this level of brain development is commensurate with babies learning to catch balls, use scissors, and assemble puzzles and building blocks.
3. Cause and effect. When babies learn to manipulate computerized devices, they also learn to recognize the types of responses their actions can produce. This explains why babies really enjoy playthings that also satisfy their sense of control. This could include everything from a musical motion activity jumper by Baby Einstein or a tablet to pop-up books, and any device that includes a lever, switches, or buttons.
Digital Technology for Babies: The Cons
1. Over stimulation. It is easy for babies to become overwhelmed and frustrated by too many sensory inputs. A cacophony of loud sounds, blinking lights, dizzying colors, and a jumble of animated figures can become mental clutter. This can cause sensory overload and make a baby cranky. Monitoring the amount of computer time is a must for small children.
2. Lack of focus. Kids who become too enamored with computerized stimulation could later have difficulty focusing on quieter things such as drawing or reading. This can prove problematic when it comes to less high-tech interactions such as those between teacher and students.
3. Deficient social skills. Children who spend a great deal of time interacting with technology can become desensitized to human contact. Face to face interaction with other people, including other children and adults may become difficult. Building social skills and the ability to empathize is an important human attribute to develop as early as possible.
In this day and age, the real question is not whether or not a child should become computer literate, but when. Following are some tips for parents who are considering purchasing hardware, software, or other types of technology for babies.
1. Control the controls. Ensure that the controls are developmentally appropriate. Young babies who are struggling with fine motor skills such as those needed to use a mouse need guidance. Therefore, the devices should be age appropriate so that with little effort, babies can use them successfully.
2. Look for educational value. Software and hardware should have educational merit. In addition to developing creativity, games and other electronic toys should have an educational component or include an open-ended type of creative play. For instance, simulation can assist children in learning to plan ahead, perform basic math, and consider consequences. Some games offer the ability to learn about personal and animal care, biology, and pet care responsibility. Fun games can also reinforce literacy, science, math, and social studies.
3. Encourage exploration. Technology for babies should also foster a sense of adventure and encourage exploration. Look for games that offer no right or wrong answers or specific path. For instance, drawing and design programs help to develop creativity to motivate learning using the child's own imagination.
You know your baby. Let your parental instincts tell you when technology is right for your little one. And you can test-drive some products by trying out free demos before making any commitments to software, hardware, or other devices. It is important to know what you are exposing the baby to so that you can guide them effectively.
Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell hopes this information will make it a little easier for parents to make technology choices for their babies. She encourages them to use a musical motion activity jumper by Baby Einstein as a good starting point in the development of motor and cognitive skills in their little ones.
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