How Do iPads And Tablets Affect Children’s Development?

Animation by Avi Ofer

Now this is a heavy question on a lot of parents and educator’s minds, children now more than ever have access to screens, how is this affecting the development of skills of the younger generations? There have been similar fears throughout history of the dangerous impacts of technology on learning, one such panic was that the invention of the printing press (C. 1440), which made books and information widely available was thought to ruin people’s minds! In fact these worries are as old as time itself, with each generation reimagining the risky influence of technology on mind and brain. Socrates famously warned against writing because it would “create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories.”

But is this just another irrational fear like that of the printing press or is there some substance to it? In a recent UK study they found that every hour infants spent on such devices was linked to a 16 minutes less sleep, but then previous research by the same team found that babies and toddlers who used iPads had superior motor skills to those who did not. Dr Smith said it was difficult to give clear advice to parents about the pros and cons of using devices, but he said it was sensible to allow almost no screen use for those below the age of 18 months, apart from “video chat” such as Skype and avoid use before bed.

Is it just that growing up in a world full of screens is just different and not worse than in a world with just books or radio, surely its just another dimension of information and its just about keeping a good balance?

Tell us what you think in the comment box below.