Appropriate Media Use in Early Childhood

In the world of parenting we have multiple motivations for introducing our children to electronic devices. It is important to remember that even though we live in a digital driven society the most important thing we can do as parents is interact with our children and ensure that what they are being exposed to online is age appropriate and acceptable. If safety measures are not put in place then inappropriate content more often than not can be accessed simply by two or three clicks of a mouse. The good news is there are multiple ways you as a parent can protect against this;

Tablets and Phones:

Today most children are very familiar with smaller more portable electronic devices as these devices are becoming more and more popular and simpler and simpler to use. These devices can all be password protected. Be sure to set up a password to prevent your child using your device without your knowledge. You can also prevent access to the app stores by keeping your password secret. This way you have full control of which applications are ultimately downloaded to your device. Some devices even come with time usage restrictions whereby parents can allocate specific periods of time that their child is able to use the device.

Desktop Computers and Laptops:

In many ways desktop PCs and laptop computers pose more risks than portable devices as they are more susceptible to pop up viruses and malware. For this reason it is critical that a good quality antivirus software is installed to help combat this. You can also purchase software that restricts the access to any websites other than the ones specified by yourself. This type of software is usually inexpensive and gives you peace of mind knowing that inappropriate content will not suddenly pop up in the middle of your child's homework project.

When selecting media it is important to look for the following:
-  Will my child have an interest in the media content?
-  Is the media age appropriate for my child? As a tip, use YouTube Kids instead of YouTube.
-  When does media become a distraction and a detriment to the healthy development of my child?

The key to the use of electronic devices in early child hood is moderation. There are many great stimulating games, puzzles and educational applications available today which can do wonders for a child's educational development. However overuse can actually work against a child's development both socially and academically.