Today, the world is emotionally connected and work –driven through technology and using the internet and digital apps has become the way we communicate. Here’s how you can help your child be net-savvy and yet enjoy playing with toys and games as he shares many innocent moments of childhood with friends.
Here are some suggestions to map out your child’s digital diet through every stage of development.
Newborn to Infanthood (0-3 years)
During this growth phase, it’s best if the child is only exposed to toys and non-electronic items. Let him play with plush toys, vibrant playthings which stimulate his visual, tactile, audio ability along with his hand-eye co-ordination. To begin with, you could familiarize him with sounds of a cell phone, baby songs and even allow him to watch rhymes on television. Digital diet can be limited to half an hour daily or 3 hours weekly, with several breaks in between.
Young Childhood (6-12 years)
Children at this age get familiar with numbers and can dial calls by themselves. Their interest in television, music & cartoon videos, video-games increases. Many kids also learn how to click pictures using their parents’ smartphones and use video calling apps. Allow young kids to explore these digital avenues as these enhance their general knowledge, vocabulary, cognition and communication skills. Ensure the channels he watches are a balance of information and entertainment. Keep a constant watch on them or supervise them every now and then to check everything’s ok. Digital diet for young kids can be limited to 2 hours daily or 8-10 hours weekly, with several breaks in between.
Teens 13 years +
Teens are the most exciting time for growing kids and they get conscious of their appearance and social circles. Cell phones, tablets, TV, pc are all common gadgets for teens to discover themselves, their world and also to enjoy the moment. Allow your child to have a web presence by having their own account on email, social media platforms like facebook, twitter, instagram where they can read, write and share information. Ensure they discover their own unique personality rather than blindly follow a celebrity lifestyle which is not suited to their age or emotional health/well-being as at this stage teens are highly impressionable. Digital diet for young kids can be limited to 3 hours daily or 10-12 hours weekly, with several breaks in between.
Do’s and Don’ts / Things to Remember
- Ensure your kid takes several breaks in between and cuts-off from digital media as it can be very exhausting for a child’s (and your) overall health and well-being.
- Ensure the screen your child is enjoying media on is a large screen from a distance. Smaller screens or watching from very near could strain or hurt his eye-sight.
- Keep a watch on the content they are exposed to, to ensure they don’t get too carried away or too addicted.
- Block or restrict channels which have explicit content on the browser settings of your phone, TV or pc.
- Gadgets can never replace the pure joy a toy brings, so ensure your child is surrounded by playthings as these are a constant reminder of the innocence of childhood.
Which are some of the ways in which you have set up or are deciding your child’s digital diet? Share your feedback with us and get featured on the blog.