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By Martin Lamarque

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About this blog: I have lived in Belle Haven since 1997, and work as an interpreter in the emergency department of a county hospital. My main interest is to help improve society by way of giving families the support and information they need to ra...  (More)

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iPads, notebooks, cell phones, etc. Are they damaging your toddler beyond repair?

Uploaded: Apr 6, 2014
Like almost everyone else, I sometimes judge people based on stereotypes.
On my flight home yesterday, the couple sitting in the seats behind mine looked educated, and as the unmistakable product of upward mobility. Their beautiful little boy seemed well taken care of; at least on the outside.

But as soon as they heard instructions to get ready for take off, an iPad came out, and for the remaining of the flight, one could have forgotten that there was a little person sitting just a couple of feet behind; except for the loud noise of explosions, the familiar sounds of destruction, and the rapid changes of scenes coming out of the iPad, that kept that poor toddler's eyes and mind glued to it.

A few days before, I had seen a man sitting at a Starbucks, self-absorbed in his cell phone, as he held an iPad in front of his baby, and a bottle propped against the stroller, to keep it in the baby's mouth.

Unfortunately, these are not rare scenes. You see them everywhere, more and more, and with younger and younger children. The repercussions of which are still far from being pondered, let alone understood by a society eternally pursuing convenience, and willing to pay for the right to emotional detachment from other human beings.

Although the rewards are enormous, being a parent is not an easy task.
I happen to believe that most people set out to have children with the intention of providing them with good lives. Unfortunately, our society doesn't provide much in the way of training and support for such a crucial job.

Under these circumstances, when things between new parents and their toddlers get hard, despair sets in and become willing to buy whatever out here promises to save them from having to deal with emotions. Like iPads and all kinds of new devices that may keep a toddler quiet during an airplane ride, but that eventually sets him up for behavioral challenges later on. Because a newcomer to the world is not going to learn gradual control of emotions and self-regulation from a device that is likely interfering with the natural development of his neural pathways. A process that took nature millions of years to design and perfect.

By the time parents realize-if ever-that by allowing such harmful devices to affect the young mind of their child, they likely will be dealing with bigger issues than the ones they were trying to avoid by keeping their kid mesmerized with an electronic device.

Comments

Posted by RW, a resident of another community,
on Apr 10, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Agreed 100%. The American Academy of Pediatrics is pretty clear that children under the age of 2 should experience no screen time.

Children learn through interaction with adults and other children. They learn by putting things in their mouths, touching them with their hands, manipulating them, looking at them, really interacting with them. Screens, even touch screens, offer an interaction that is linear and not a "true" interaction. I have major concerns for the social development, emotional development, physical development, and problem solving skills of the children who were raised with lots of screen time.

Caveat to this...I have no children-by choice. So, I don't fully understand the relief that parents get when their children are glued to their screens. But, I know that it takes a lot more work to meaningfully engage with your child than it takes to stick a screen in their hands.


Posted by RW, a resident of another community,
on Apr 10, 2014 at 9:06 pm

Agreed 100%. The American Academy of Pediatrics is pretty clear that children under the age of 2 should experience no screen time.

Children learn through interaction with adults and other children. They learn by putting things in their mouths, touching them with their hands, manipulating them, looking at them, really interacting with them. Screens, even touch screens, offer an interaction that is linear and not a "true" interaction. I have major concerns for the social development, emotional development, physical development, and problem solving skills of the children who were raised with lots of screen time.

Caveat to this...I have no children-by choice. So, I don't fully understand the relief that parents get when their children are glued to their screens. But, I know that it takes a lot more work to meaningfully engage with your child than it takes to stick a screen in their hands.


Posted by RW, a resident of another community,
on Apr 10, 2014 at 9:10 pm

A comment so nice, it posted twice.

Sorry about the double posting.


Posted by Martin Lamarque, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Apr 11, 2014 at 2:47 pm

@RW
Thanks for reading my blog, and leaving a comment—3 times!
Yes. Raising children is a very demanding job that doesn't get much recognition, nor support.
To stay hopeful and thoughtful, parents need breaks from so much work. But more importantly, we need to find the joy and enjoyment of having those little ones in our lives. Unfortunately, most mass-marketed messages we get depict children as a big burden, and that the goal is to find ways to make them disappear.
Unfortunately, many parents have bought into this negative view, and in doing so, have denied themselves the great joy children can be. The sort of realization that would make their job easier and enjoyable.

We haven't made the connection between relying on quick patches that may help us pretend our child doesn't need us, and the higher price we are bound to pay later in life when their unconnected and desensitized child grows up.


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