Although this debate topic is not necessarily negative, it is fundamentally a new way to understand the world and it only require some care.
The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) advises against allowing children under 2-years old to use tablets, cell phones, computers, and TVs by themselves. They suggest that parents should always be there when they use them. After that age, children can be allowed to use games and apps that promote their cognitive development without adult supervision.
Technology should not replace human interactions or be used as a tool to distract the babies while their parents are busy; it should be a medium through which they can establish a connection with the world. The AAP also recommends avoiding at all costs using playing with tablets, computers, and cell phones as a reward, because baby tech has more important uses than being just entertainment.
Another important recommendation is to avoid considering technology as a reference of reality. Think of how, for adults, it is not the same holding a videoconference than talking to someone close to us over a cup of coffee.
In her book Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years, Luisa Cotto, an educator with a MA in Teaching Technology, mentions that the point is not to keep children apart from technology, because they have been immersed in it since the day they were born. The parents’ task is to teach them to make good use of it and to endeavor to constantly monitor how they use it.
Likewise, the author stresses that parents should seek to use technology as a complement of their children’s interests, be there when their children use tablets or cell phones, ask them what they are doing, be creative, connect the device that their children are using to real life, seek age-appropriate apps, and set a good example of how to use technology.
SOURCES: American Academy of Pediatrics; and Digital Media in the Early Years by Luisa Cotto, Ed. Routledge, NewYork, 2015.