There has been a significant increase in the number of portable electronic devices in the average household. It only stands to reason that our children are becoming tech savvy at a very young age, either by watching parents create smart phone pictures and videos documenting their lives or being introduced to portable tablets offering brightly colored, interactive diversions. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) cautions against the overuse of television and media and recommends that it be avoided for infants and toddlers under two. Researchers and early learning educators are finding, however, that with positive guidance and age-appropriate applications, tech play can be both encouraging and educational.
Tablets and phones with appropriate learning apps offer far more interactive choices than the passive TV and computer programming of the past. Toddlers are engaged to reason out correct responses and encouraged to continue even if an incorrect response is chosen. Scenarios can be played over and over, offering the benefits of repetitive learning, one of the key components in how our brains retain information.
The key that makes tech play truly beneficial for our toddlers, however, is in how we help them apply what they have learned in real-life settings. Applications that teach ABC's or word recognition can be followed up with visits to the library or time spent just reading together. Enjoy a trip to the zoo, using the information your toddler might have learned about animals. No tech device can replace the social and nurturing aspects of time spent together.
Horizon Education Centers offer early learning initiatives and educational programs for children aged 18 months up to 12 years.