Gables Montessori Blog


It is difficult to imagine today’s world without computers and more than that, thinking about education and entertainment without them. In the case of children, computers are learning tools that capture their attention and time, making them spend hours of activity in front of a screen. However it is good to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of this trend and in some cases, it could be necessary to organize schedules, especially in the case of the younger members of the family. According to research, academic growth is one of the advantages of the use of computers, not only because the child can acquire and process information more quickly but also because he develops better writing and reading comprehension as he gets exposed to multiple and varied contents.  Also a toddler can develop motor skills using a mouse and pressing keys, these movements are similar to those required for coloring or drawing. Hand eye coordination is also a benefit of these activities. Another advantage is entertainment. There are a lot of sites the toddler can visit to play games, they are educational in many cases so, it is a safe way of recreation, for many parents, away from the dangers of the outside world.

But not everything is wonderful. Computers also have their disadvantages. Long periods of isolation of children in front of a computer either playing or learning limit their social interaction which is needed to improve attributes such as empathy. Too much stimulation can also be overwhelming for a toddler; colors, sounds, images, movements and continuos action could make a child irritable and hyperactive. Another associated risk is the vision syndrome. Too much exposure can cause harm on eyes, computers require motor skills from these organs that must focus and refocus all the time, moving back and forth as the child reads or plays. In addition, all the devices with viewing screens emit blue LIGHT (“high-energy visible light” or “HEV light”) that can cause eye damage later on life. And finally, a problem related with the toddlers´ health and maybe the most studied one is the lack of physical activity. A kid staring at a computer is a kid that doesn’t go out, that limits his moving and capacity to build strong muscles and expose his body to bad postures.

What should parents do? Parents, teachers and caregivers have a huge challenge in controlling and supervising the use of computers. Some advices can be useful: don’t let the screen time substitute the physical activity; set reasonable rules; turn out the computer and any device and make your child play outdoors, draw, listen to music or sing; allow your child play game computers “with” others instead of “against” them; find opportunities for your child to try something new he likes (as sports), keep on eye on the content of web sites your children visit, correct the posture when your kids are playing or studying, and the most important, set a good example by limiting your own tech time, turning out your devices in moments to be enjoyed with your family.

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