Several surveys across the world, found that “children age eight and under spend an average of about two-and-a-quarter hours a day with screen media.” While digital media can be fun and informative, caregivers must be intentional in regulating their own and their child’s media consumption.
To better understand the types of technology available to young children and how children utilise those technologies, surveys have been conducted on a large sample of parents. The survey included families with varying levels of income, parents who received varying levels of education and families from diverse backgrounds.
Through the survey results concluded that 98 percent of children age eight and younger have access to some type of mobile device in their home, with 98 percent having access to a television, 95 percent having access to a smartphone and 78 percent having access to a tablet. In fact 42 percent of the families surveyed reported that their child now has their own tablet device a drastic increase from the reported seven percent, four years ago. Through these developments, children now spend more time consuming digital media per day than they do reading or being read to.
Risks of Excess Exposure
All media types, from movies and television shows to social platforms and gaming apps, expose consumers of all ages to a variety of content and messaging. While digital devices can be fun and incorporated as learning tools, they also pose challenges to the early experiences of young children by:
Increasing the likelihood that a child accidentally views violent or inappropriate content
Reducing the daily total time spent outside and being active
Limiting children’s early opportunities to develop relationships and social, emotional, and communication skills.
With these risks, parents and caregivers must be intentional in monitoring the media content their children consume and the daily total time spent inside on digital devices. However, families must go one step further. Caregivers must also model healthy media behaviours themselves, integrating the same practices into their daily lives that they’re teaching their children. It’s critical that families establish a healthy balance between their offline and online activities.
Safe and Disciplined Online Learning
To tackle the issue of accidental inappropriate media access and create a balance between media based learning and offline activities specially in times of lockdown, Little Brooks Education launched Little Brooks Online. A subscription based learning channel exclusively for Preschoolers with daily video based learning plans and interactive worksheets. A series of resources for families and children include:
Age appropriate learning programs starting at 2 years
Structured curriculum based approach
Daily video learning content created by Early Childhood practitioners
Free short videos and activity printable for whole family