Exposure to television, computer, internet, iPad, iPhone and other electronic devices have become part of everyday life, even for many children below primary school age. Yet many experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that there should be no television and other electronic devices for children under the age of 2 and no more than one or two hours per day of media with high-quality content for older children, even teenagers. The recommendation extends to no televisions, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms, and turning off the TV during dinner.

Why such rules when these electronic devices keep even the most active child quiet and engaged, giving busy parents or caregivers some relief? The more children use electronic devices, the less they practice their language or social skills. Research has shown over and over again that a young child’s brain “… learns best by interacting with people, not screens!” (American Academy of Pediatrics).

More specifically, some of the key things that infants, toddlers, and preschoolers need are not electronic media nor structured “interest” classes, but:

  • exposure to language and sounds;
  • adults who respond to their actions;
  • the freedom and creativity that comes with play;
  • the ability to explore the world and manipulate objects around them;
  • guidance, structure, and support; and,
  • praise, affection, and positive feedback.