By Nick Russo

If you haven’t done it before then I’m sure you’ve seen others do it: using an iPad as a pacifier for a child or toddler. Likely, it amazes you how quickly young children are able to manage an iPad or tablet or smart phone. The touchscreen gives them an experience unlike any other and the colors, videos and sounds pacify them.

Sometimes, parents use this to keep their child from crying or to keep them entertained while they are cooking dinner. The option to give the young child a smart device as a pacifier is too easy to pass up.

However, you likely haven’t considered the psychological effects that this can have on a child; especially, during the days of early childhood development.

After reading a blog on Bright Box, I felt compelled to share with you these important findings.

  1. Heavy use of a tablet, iPad or smart phone by a child can greatly effect their ability to get along with others. By using the electronic device the important person to person interactions decline and after extensive use their interpersonal communications skills fall behind significantly. This can become a big problem when the child begins schooling.
  2. Attention deficit disorders become prevalent because the electronic device offers immediate results and allows for their attention to jump from subject to subject. Rather, not having the immediate result of an electronic device they would be forced to be patient for a result of their action. There has been a huge climb in children diagnosed with attention deficit disorders and there is a direct link to use of electronic devices like the iPad.
  3. It’s been proven that extensive use of electronic devices before bed can greatly effect the quality of one’s sleep. This isn’t only applicable to adults but also the tiniest of children. A good night’s rest and generating healthy sleep habits start at the earliest of ages and too much time in front of a screen is only setting the child into bad sleeping habits.
  4. Creativity and exploration is deterred by too much time in front of a screen. Psychologists agree that encouraging a child to be creative and utilize their imagination and built-in troubleshooting skills is exponentially more beneficial than putting a phone or tablet in front of them. The act of discovering and interacting can increase intelligence in young children and replacing real life options with an electronic device can stunt that growth. Real play is an absolute necessity.
  5. A child that consumes too much technology begins to lack the ability to put ideas in logical order. Staring at the computer screen in suspended animation because the images on the screen move an make noises. Constant exposure to this type of animation can make printed words seem to be boring a crucial phase in a child’s learning.

It’s virtually impossible to keep electronics out of your young child’s hands, that’s a given. However, you can limit the time you allow your child to spend in front of the device.

Perhaps, finding a more traditional way to pacify your child would serve them better and serve you better as the child grows.

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