Children and technology: instructions for use

Children and technology: instructions for use
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Children and technology

Nowadays the tech it is an integral part of our working, social and domestic life children they seem to have an innate predisposition for using digital devices. However, we parents are grappling with a real revolution in the perennial search for a balanced compromise to ensure a safe, regulated and conscious use of technology by our children.

There is no doubt, in fact, that to forbid the use of tablets, PCs or smartphones is useless and in some ways also counterproductive: in a study conducted at the University of London it turned out that children they learn faster using a tablet rather than a book, this is because the possibility of interacting with a screen would be a stimulus for cognitive development by promoting learning. So how can we face this real educational challenge?

In this article

Children and technology, current data

A survey carried out by Center for Child Health found that 38% of children under 2 have already used a mobile device to play or watch a video; 63% of children up to the age of 8 use their parents' devices, while at 8 this percentage rises to 72%. Favorite content is mainly video games.

Read also: Children and digital devices, in search of the right balance

Children and technology: the risks

According to experts, the problem is not so much the amount of the time children spend in front of the screen, as much as the quality and type of content.

Very often there is no supervision by parents, who are largely unprepared, and children have free access, in complete solitude, to content, video games and videos that are completely unsuitable for their age.

Massimo Scaglioni, Professor of Media History and Economics, Catholic University - Ce.RTA, explains:

The question we must ask ourselves is no longer how long it is right for our child to stay in front of the TV, but what is the correct way to make him experience these new digital environments, also being able to count on tools already designed and created specifically to meet the needs of children. . A sort of equipped and safe digital playground to which mothers and fathers can entrust their children.

However, there are also some rumors against it. Some pediatric societies, such asAmerican Academy of Pediatrics e la Canadian Society of Pediatrics, for example, they recommend not giving digital devices to children up to 2 years of age and then gradually increasing the duration of use without ever exceeding two hours a day, for older children.

Who are the digital natives
According to published American research children under two years they know perfectly well how to operate a tablet and 38% show an innate ability to use these devices. They are the digital natives, the children of this generation, immersed in a technological and hyper-connected world since birth. Read also: 10 reasons to ban digital devices for children NOW

The negative effects of technology on children

How to understand if the use of devices is becoming alarming? Experts advise parents to ask themselves 4 questions:

  1. Is the time spent in front of technological devices under control in the family?
  2. Does it interfere with family activities?
  3. Does the use of devices interfere with sleep?
  4. Are you able to control the urge to eat while using the devices?

With these questions we will be able to understand if the use of digital devices is not interfering with our child's sleep, nutrition, normal social and school life and if it is not turning into a real addiction.

Tablet and smartphone to calm the children? Better not!
According to Jenny Radesky, an expert in behavioral pediatrics, the excessive use of digital devices, especially by young children who are calmed simply by placing a tablet in their hand, would distance them from human interactions and would not give them time to calm down on their own. Read also: Is technology bad for children? Four questions to understand if the use is excessive

When to give your child a cell phone

The doctor Giovanna Busto, psychologist and transactional analyst psychotherapist, explains:

At 6-7 years of age, a tablet is preferable to a smartphone, with content and apps selected and chosen by parents. But it is still necessary to intervene on a quantitative rule, for example to prohibit it for more than 20 minutes, and above all never in solitude, otherwise the risk is also to create an addiction to the child that leads him to isolate himself, to withdraw and to have repercussions on the his levels of attention and concentration, up to the regulation of sleep

A eleven years, then with the passage to middle School and with the need to go home-school on foot alone, it may be useful to give a smartphone as a gift, which will still be used with limits and awareness and should not be addictive.

As for the tablet, however, according to experts, it would be preferable to the smartphone, especially for younger children, because they can see cartoons and make simple games suitable for the ages, always and in any case under the supervision of parents.

What is certain is that giving the tablet in the hand of a child does not necessarily mean abandon it on the Internet without support or support. You can, indeed you must, download an App or a game together, and then see together if they like it, after which you can also play alone, but the parents will always remain around to check.

It is certainly disturbing to read that in the world one in three Internet users is a child (UNICEF data), a fact that allows us to understand well what risks our children run every day.


Children and smartphones (or tablets): 12 tips for correct use by US pediatricians

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In a world where we are all connected, even children are increasingly living in technology and with the media at their fingertips. How to behave? What limits to set? When to intervene? Exist...

Read also: At what age should you give a child a cell phone?

Television and children

Considered the babysitter of the new millennium, television certainly occupies an important part of our children's day. But we don't have to think it is harmless and even in this case it is essential to pay attention to the programs that are seen, put in filters and parental controls, set time limits.

It is good to recognize that television can also have negative effects on development, which cannot monopolize the attention of the little ones and that it is better not to put it in the bedroom.

Also read: Children under 2 shouldn't watch TV

Video games and children

How to choose the right video game for my child? Paolo Ferri, professor of teaching technologies and new media theory and technique at the Bicocca University of our city and author of the essay «New Children. How to educate children in the use of technology, without mistrust and fear "he explains:

Use common sense and carefully read the indications on the boxes which in recent years are very detailed and indicate the age range suitable for the video game according to a classification established by a US body to which manufacturers must submit their products. This is a 'downward' classification: I mean that a video game suitable for 6-8 year old players can often be used and enjoyed even by a child of 5. Obviously no video games for adults (+ 18 is written on the package). Read also: Video games and children: 10 tips for the correct use of tablets, consoles and smartphones

Social networks and children

A quarter of children between 9 and 10 and half of those between 11 and 12 use Facebook also through tablet and smartphone and never as in this case the supervision of parents is essential. They must know that sensitive information should not be shared and must defend their privacy, they must make friends only with real friends, avoid chatting or getting in touch with people they do not know, especially by virtue of the birth and spread of social networks such as TikTok .

Read also: How to protect children from social networks

But if these tips may be more or less valid for Facebook, they risk not being valid for the social networks most loved by the very young: Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp.

Since at some point it can become really difficult to be in control of everything, you have to work on prevention and on a digital education that must start as soon as the child has access to the Internet:

  • friendship is not given to those who do not know each other;
  • you do not post photos of other people without their consent, nor your photos in winking poses or in a bathing suit;
  • pay attention to what you write;
  • you look at your cell phone only after you have done your homework and no more than half an hour a day;
  • you don't keep the phone in your room at night


When to worry?

Second Alberto Rossetti, author, together with Simone Cosimi of the book "Born, grow up and post":

A parent must start to worry when he realizes that his child's real life is shrinking because of social networks. With an overall look it is possible to realize if it is a transitory problem or a greater discomfort. There is no social addiction, it is not a theorized pathology: it can be a spy behavior of a wider problem. We often forget that the simplest question is enough to open a dialogue: how are you? Read also: Teens and social networks: a handbook for parents

Photos of children and social networks

Certainly, as in every other aspect of life, theexample of parents is critical. It is difficult to demand limits and respect for the rules if we are the first to be constantly connected and with a smartphone at hand. And it is equally difficult, as well as inconsistent, to ask our children not to post their winking photos if we first flooded our profiles with photographs of our children from an early age.

As Rossetti recalls:

Showing children that there is a difference between private and public life is the first step towards a correct education in the use of social networks.

To learn more

  • Children and technology
  • Children and technology: tips for the correct use of the smartphone
  • Children and digital devices
  • What is parental control
  • How to educate children on the smartphone
  • The Alpha generation
  • How to protect children who surf the internet
Read also: Photos of children on social networks: what are the risks?

  • children and technology
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