Of course, for my extreme behaviour, he does compensate by giving R some time on our micromax pad, or lets her play with his smart phone. I remember telling him very clearly that I wouldn’t want R to touch his smart phone before she turned three and true to his word, he didn’t let her touch it until she was three. It was more to do with the fact that smart phones are bloody expensive and she is a kid who keeps dropping whatever is in her hand. He couldn’t afford to spend too much money on smart phones..after all his wife was losing one (non smart) phone a year eh?
Jokes apart, here are my points why I feel children should not be given access to smart phones until they turn 5 or 6
1. Radiation – It’s harmful, can hinder with brain development and can prove to be dangerous.
Counter argument – We have wi-fis and cell phone towers everywhere. Is there truly a place in this world where there is no radiation problem? That’s true as well.
2.Imagination – I do feel that anything audio visual hampers imagination in children. For example, I believe in kids listening to music because they can still use their imagination to have their particular images in mind. Or read books, or even picture books, because it still empowers them to think on their own. In picture books, they can visualize the characters walking, dancing, etc etc…but when you see an audio visual, often, you can’t really use your imagination…like I had written earlier, my Amma is not a big fan of watching the Ramayana on TV, because every time she thought of Rama, her childhood picture of Rama had changed to the guy who played the character of Rama. Same with me. I am not too keen about watching the HP movies, because it seems to hinder my imagination of what I thought Hogwarts would be like!
Counter Argument – Preethi, my cousin tells me, that my logic isn’t really true, because from her personal experience she has seen her daughter S tell stories based on what she sees on the video..and she tells about cousins of ours who used to play a LOT of video games and yet have gone on to be awesome music composers…so yes, she substantiates her arguments with examples. Again, she does mention that she is all for unstructured play and free time for kids, and also that you should give a smart phone only for a limited time like half an hour a day or something..but she is not against giving smart phones to kids…ah well!
3. Social Skills – Well, I do believe that when kids are put together not doing anything really specific, they do develop their social skills. Personally, I would have my child play with her friends in daycare than bring her home and let her play with the pad or the phone
Counter Argument – What about kids who want to sit in a corner and read books? Aren’t they considered non-social? …
4. Content – Even if parents allow their children to play with the smart phone, I think it is very very important to find out what their children are seeing or playing. Most parents don’t seem to understand that concept at all. Everything that R does on the smart phone, or like Preethi says, S does on Preethi’s smart phone is vetted by us. If it’s puzzles, words building, children songs, it should be okay.
I really can’t think of a counter argument for this one!
Finally, after all this, I think I am okay with a child playing with a smart phone for a limited period of time in a day, as long as the games aren’t violent (does anyone else find this angry birds violent, or am I the only specimen on earth?) For example, RD lets R play with this frog game on his phone occasionally. and yes, we have used the smart phone/pad as a tool to keep her engaged in places where we can’t entertain her with anything else…
So what’s your opinion on that?