Monday 12th of December, 2016
How would you fare if you had to go on a weeklong tech fast? No iPad, iPhone, or any other similar smart device – we’re sure we’d do fine if we were honeymooning in the Bahamas, but three years later with 2 (and sometimes 10 while at school) children in tow, the iPad does feel like a godsend. I sometimes wonder how we managed to live without them before they were invented.
I don’t remember the first time I handed my iPhone to my toddlers, but I do know that I LOVE the glorious, uninterrupted silence it brings. When my children are wreaking havoc on an already hectic day my first instinct is to distract (and silence) them with the iPhone. And then came the iPad.
The iPad is small, handy, and can be taken anywhere to keep the children occupied. With hundreds (maybe even thousands) of apps developed for babies to young children, this digital babysitter can be extremely useful especially on long haul flights and lengthy waits at the doctors.
But just because it can benefit a child and aid them in their development in general does not mean that it should replace an entire childhood. My position on this is that screen time should be kept to a minimum, and children should be learning to occupy themselves with their own by an interactive screen.
When you decide to let your child start using the iPad, it’s important to set some ground rules and limitations. In my home, the children only have it for a maximum of 30 minutes a day, and only when they’ve played with their toys, read their books, completed numerous paintings, and frolicked outdoors.
Tablets or any smart device (who knows what will be released next?) should not replace human interaction and playtime; activities like playing and running around outside, building things with bricks and Lego, or baking with mum should always take precedence. I’m no saint but I try my best to strike a healthy balance – and if I desperately need 20 minutes of downtime, I always have that last resort.
Your friendly neighbourhood gardener,