How bad are games on the ipad, iphone? My four year old loves playing any game on my iwhatever. What limits, as in the amount of time, should I impose on such a device. Surely playing educational games though can't be all that bad?
Electronic devices are without a doubt an enormous part of our lives and our future lives. The progress our society and they way we use these devices is travelling in gigantic leaps every year or two. Obviously our children are caught in this revolution and it will certainly be part of their future.
How bad are games for children? Good question and the science is out on this at the moment. Why? Simply because we do not have the long term studies yet to give us that evidence either way. What we can do is look at the research that has been done on similar electronics – television & computers and look at how our kids are developmentally right at the moment.
This current research shows us without a doubt that using an electronic device for hours is not good for us in a number of ways. For our brain, for being able to concentrate, for skipping or shortcutting other vital and important developmental processes that we are designed to do – over tens of thousands of years. For example, crawling, the hours that a baby spends crawling have many, many implications both physically – coordination, muscles growth, strength, and the co ordination of the left and right hemispheres of their brain – all which are used for a huge number of others tasks or setting the building blocks of other skills like, reading and writing years down the track.
We know that electronics are changing the structure of our brain and our Skelton in not so good ways. My advice for iwhatevers is the same for tv, your baby-toddler has so much to learn about their world in the early years so no electronics in the first two years of life. None. Tough I know. Then at the age of 2 years, 30 mins a day max.
I certainly suspect that future research will definitely show us that children have learnt widely from educational games, intellectually - the question I believe will be have they learnt in other ways, eg. To follow verbal instructions, social skills, development skills, inner ear balance, co-ordination? We also know that the green and blue light emitted from such devices interferes with certain chemicals/hormones being released in our brain so no devices an hour before bedtime so as to not interfere with the release of our sleep hormone. This goes for parents too!!
My thoughts: A baby can sit in a highchair while out for dinner and play with a toy animal, a wagon and load sugar sachets into it or they can sit on a device and flick or drag. Choose the wagon. A child can sit at a doctors surgery and use a device to wait the time or they can read a book. Choose the book. Give them the world, rather than an electronic world inside a device would be my strong advice. Teach them real life social skills not typing skills.