Technical Toys Helpful in Moderation For Tots
COLUMBIA - While companies create more advanced technology, even toddlers today can tackle scrolling skills and punching buttons. There are iPads, smart phones, computer games, e-readers and electronic toys available for little tikes. KOMU spoke with an infant toddler expert and found when it comes to learning, parents need to keep balance in mind.
Erin Denson has two girls. Kaylen is five-years-old and Maeve will be three in March. Both girls use their dad's iPad, mom's iPhone and the computer to play games, both for learning and entertainment purposes.
"They're young but you know, they're kind of advanced regarding the technological aspect with the internet and the iPad, my iPhone," Denson said.
With the world wide web available with a click of a mouse, the number of games to choose from is endless.
"We were introduced when Kaylen was about two to a website called Starfall. And so we started her on the computer so she could learn her letters, her letter sounds and then it started with her early reading and she's just caught on," Denson said.
Jackie Bacino, an instructor at MU for infants and toddlers in the Human Development Department, said she's seen a wider use of technology amongst young ones.
"Yeah, there has been an increase in computer games and electronic toys, I think are always popular for infants and toddlers," Bacino said.
Although youngsters like Maeve and Kaylen can use an iPad or other tablets, Bacino said playing on a tablet is not a time consuming activity for their age group.
"I don't think it would last very long. I think that toddlers' attention span is quite short," Bacino said. "Tools like light up toys and music toys can promote hand-eye coordination or cause-effect behavior, it really doesn't replace the social influences as human beings interacting."
The Columbia Public Library has four computers specifically designed for tots with 24 different games to test your toddler's skills.
"I'm a computer preschooler. He can do as much as on a computer as I can," grandparent Carl Daleen said about his four-year-old grandson, Truman.
Since these little ones can access the internet, there's the issue of what children may find on the web.
"I just always make sure regardless that I'm in the room with them when they are on the computer and then the iPad. We don't let them get onto the Internet. They don't know how to buy applications," Denson said.
Bacino said it's all about balance.
"If technology uses educational programs, then it can support a greater cause but I think that the balance of entertainment and stimulation is important to be mindful of," Bacino said.