How iPads Impact Child Development

In a world where technology is rapidly advancing many are beginning to “plug in” to the Smart Technology sooner than ever. “Technology’s impact on the 21st century family is fracturing its very foundation, and causing a disintegration of core values that long ago were the fabric that held families together”, stated Cris Rowan, contributing writer for Huffington Post.

LeapPad 2 Explorer by Leap Frog Tablet for ages 3-9. Photo Taken in Wal-Mart Shopping Center. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
LeapPad 2 Explorer by Leap Frog Tablet for ages 3-9. Photo Taken in Wal-Mart Shopping Center. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

According to pbs.org, “for school-age children, a smartphone or tablet can give them an additional learning layer, beyond the traditional classroom or book.” Fulton County Schools Kindergarten Teacher, Paula Gehring says she uses the iPad in conjunction with her normal lesson plans daily to “motivate the children.” Gehring continues by saying, “many parents park their children in front of TV, computer, Kindle/Nook/ iPad instead of interacting with the children and their social skills are suffering.” This makes it harder to get the children to “share” the devices when used for learning in the school.

Cris Rowan, Pediatric Occupational Therapist, contributing writer for Huffington Post, and Author of “Virtual Child – The terrifying truth about what technology is doing to children”, says that she “unplugged” her “son Matt when he was 12…threw out his TV, cancelled cable, tossed the Commodore 64 and Atari.” Rowan also tells other “parents that ANY exposure to technology is detrimental to cognitive, physical, mental and social development.”

InnoTab 2 Display at Wal-Mart in Fayetteville. They are marketing tablet learning to children at an early age. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden
InnoTab 2 Display at Wal-Mart in Fayetteville. They are marketing tablet learning to help with child development. Photo Credit: Amanda Golden

Movement, touch, human connection and exposure to nature are four very critical components that are “necessary to achieve healthy child development” Rowan mentions in her article. And by choosing to “unplug” her children at an early age, as adults, they both feel “technology is largely a waste of time”. When technology is involved the skills needed for a child to develop are “grossly limited”.

However, South Carolina Parent, Keenya Glover, says that her 7-year-old son’s “iPad is considered his voice.” He began using it 2 years ago and she has seen a “tremendous boost in his level of communication.” Glover goes on to say that because her son is special needs, he is not able to communicate so the program he was able to use at school at an early age “enables him to communicate at school and home.” She continues by saying that if her son had not been introduced to the iPad at an early age; he would not be as far as he is now with his communication skills.

Nyjel Glover outside in South Carolina. Photo Credit Amanda Golden
Nyjel Glover a special needs child who uses the iPad to communicate with his friends, outside in South Carolina. Photo Credit Amanda Golden

According to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation, “The world for an autistic child is full of imagery, rather than words. On an iPad, an autistic child can create a sentence or even story using a series of images. By doing so, the child can communicate with parents, caretakers, and instructors without frustration. Since the iPad is mobile, children with autism can take this communication tool wherever they go.” Since the iPad is a portable device that they can take wherever they go; the autistic child will constantly “have ways to calm, focus, and learn while on-the-go.

 

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