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Tech at the Table

Samantha Pierotti, Journalist

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Little kids can often be a handful and hard to entertain, especially when you have other things to do. It has become a common ritual for the modern parent to hand their child an iPad or tablet when they’re sitting at a restaurant or they need to keep their child entertained. It’s an easy thing for parents to do, it keeps the kid occupied and the parents don’t have to worry about their toddler causing a scene. But just because it seems like a harmless habit doesn’t mean it actually is, kids under three using technology this often is not a normal thing, and can have nasty effects on them later in life.

Other than the rudeness factor of this situation, the toddler tech mix can shorten kids attention span. Back in the year 2000, the true human’s attention span was 12 seconds. Now, in a short sixteen years, it has decreased to eight seconds (Microsoft). This sudden decrease can only be due to technology. No one really knows what technology is doing do our brains, but shortening our attention span seems to be one of the many side effects. We also don’t know what introducing children to tablets will do, but based off of this, it seems it will only make their attention spans shorter.

The numbers of this situation are intimidating; 90 percent of two year olds are using some form of smart device in their daily life (Little Things). Technology can change a lot of things in a young child’s life, including their relationship with their parent and with others. Between the ages zero and three an infant’s brain triples in size, so a parent’s interaction with the child during that age is crucial. The way a parent talks and plays with a child helps them build pathways in their brain that allow them to interact emotionally with other people. So if a toddler interacts more with an iphone than with its parent these pathways are never built. This leads to the child not being able to form deep emotional relationships, and also affects the child’s self esteem and focus.

Children are also more likely to become addicted to technology when they are introduced at a young age. iPhones and tablets allow you to go wherever you want to go with a click of a button, and that’s why they’re so hard to give up. It is a slippery slope, because once they’re addicted to it there’s no stopping them. People will throw tantrums when you take away something that they’re addicted to, no matter how old they are. But using a smart device to pacify a child isn’t a good idea either, because with it they do not develop self regulation. These devices grant children instant gratification, but do not teach them necessary traits like impulse control or moderation. (Little Things)

There is a quote that is said often: “The children of today are the leaders of tomorrow.” Do you want your future leaders to lack self and impulse control? It can be tough to find the line between too much tech and leaving your child unprepared for the real world, but it’s a task that must be done.

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Tech at the Table