Tablets and smartphones are still relatively new. It may not seem that way because they have become such a large part of our daily lives, but the technology is still quite new.
There is a lot of debate about whether children should use touchscreens and when they should start using them. Here’s what you need to know about introducing children to touchscreens.
What the Experts Say
There is a lot of advice about when kids should start using screens and for how long they should use them for. There are no set rules, but the general advice is to avoid screen time under two years old and to limit it to a couple of hours a day when children are of school age.
But the most important thing is that kids spend more time away from screens than on screens.
The screens themselves are not typically considered harmful, but there is a risk that kids end up spending all their time using a tablet or phone and don’t develop the other skills they need like cognitive skills and social skills.
You can find some good stats here on a recent study that provides some more insight into children’s use of touchscreens.
How and When to Start Introducing Children to Touchscreens
As far as your child’s age goes, it’s up to you as the parent when you decide to let them start using touchscreens.
Perhaps more important than when you start using them is how you start using them. Parental supervision is recommended, and the best option is to use a smartphone or tablet together.
Start by downloading some age-suitable apps like reading, drawing, and painting apps, which will be more suitable than just downloading Netflix.
Internet-connected devices present risks, so if there is a parental control setting, use this to provide another layer of protection.
Finally, don’t ignore reading physical books and playing with real toys. Try to make touchscreens a part of the overall play experience rather than the only ‘toy’ your child plays with.
Some of the Best Tablets for Kids
When you are introducing children to touchscreens, tablets are usually the best option because they offer value for money and sturdy designs. There are also a number of tablets designed specifically for kids, and here are some of the best:
– The Amazon Fire 7 is one of the most affordable options. For this reason alone, it’s a great choice. You can even get the ‘Kids Edition’ version that comes with extra protection, and you can add parental controls too.
– Kurio tablets are also good. The Kurio Advance and the Kurio Tab 2 are both suitable, and these are aimed specifically at young users.
– The LeapPad3 is another good option for kids due to its small size and lightweight design. The software has also been specially designed for children.
Decide How Your Kids Should Use Touchscreens
When introducing children to touchscreens, you have to decide what is best for your child in your circumstances.
The truth is, touchscreen devices are still so new that there are no rules as to when your child should start using them. But the general guidance at the moment seems to be not to allow too much tablet time, to use touchscreen devices together and to choose fun and educational apps.
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