I believe that each child is a unique individual. So their learning and coping processes, as well as talents and skills, are all different. And we have applied this perception on Dindin’s use of the tablet.
In our case, we have researched about kids’ exposure to digital and electronic devices, such as the TV and the tablets. Because of our research, we did not start our daughter Dindin on educational videos until she was seven months old. We learned that exposing very young infants to the tube at an early age may increase the risk of autism. And so we avoided that.
We also avoided bringing Dindin outside during mealtimes when the TV is almost always on because based on our readings, we learned that commercials, as compared to children’s videos, have very fast movements for children’s eyes to follow. After all, they have to say a message in just a few seconds so TV commercials are designed to work fast. But a baby’s eyes are not yet so developed and so this early exposure may distort their vision.
As for the tablet, we delayed the use until she was over 3 years old. For one, we had budget considerations. But even if we had extra money for it, we still would have delayed buying an iPad for Dindin’s educational apps because we thought that it was too early. We would want her to have a well-rounded childhood where she is exposed to physical play, fun time with friends, time for art, and many other things, aside from getting stuck for hours in front of a tablet.
I think Dindin was already 3.5 years old when we bought the iPad and started using it. We had some games, especially Princess dress up and cooking games, but we also had stories, bible stories, and many other educational apps, including medical documentaries from the Harvard School of Medicine. We limit her use of the iPad and we regulate the apps that she would use, such as no more games during bedtime, only a couple of bible stories.
So far, the discipline of regulating her iPad use has worked on her. There are times that she would try to bend them, but we remain firm.
So for us, we believe that everything can be a tool for learning as long as it is used in moderation and with careful parental supervision. Anything and everything will be just as bad and will have adverse effects if not moderated.
Aside from these routines, we try to balance her schedule as much as we can. She has play time outside, intentional playtime with friends and their kids, and playtime with new kids in common play areas (like fun houses in malls). She also has time for art, as we provide her with materials like crayons, pens, pencils, water color and lots of scratch paper so that she can doodle all she want.
All these, I believe, contribute to the total development of our daughter.