Friday, October 9, 2015

Not My Child

Yeah...so I am definitely one of those parents that swore my child would not use a mobile device until they were at least five. Let me just tell you how well that's going.

Truly, my intentions were good and I have zero negative or judgmental thoughts about parents who allow their young children to use a device.

For the first 16 months of my son's life I traveled for work and he joined me. That meant long car rides (5-7 hours) and long plane trips (5-10 hours or longer with layovers). That also meant packing entertaining toys and hoping that he'd fall asleep on the plane.

In the end, the toys we packed could only hold his attention span for so long. I downloaded a handful of Fisher Price apps and introduced them to him. Now, at 18 months, he is proficient at choosing which he apps he want to use, finding them, swiping between pages, and using the home button when he's done or ready for a new app.

Yup. My 18 month old is part of the 38% of 0-2 year olds that has used a mobile device. And no, I don't feel like a hypocrite.

I have chosen the apps for him (Fisher Price, Disney, Sesame Street); apps that meet his developmental needs and interests. I have organized them all in one place limiting the possibility of him clicking somewhere he shouldn't. My husband and I are right there when he's using apps; monitoring what he's watching, engaging with, and clicking.

In the end, it's us trying the apps out for their educational merit and monitoring the time he spends on them. After all, there's been research done that young children's eyes are not developed yet for lengthy screen time. How do you monitor your toddler's mobile device use?