Experts Worried About Tykes and Tablets

Photo (c) AP Bebeto Matthews

Earlier this year, reporter Andra Cernavskis wrote a great piece about the dearth of technology and up-to-date computers at well-performing Mission schools. The story explored the nature of technology funding in the Mission’s schools as well as the potential consequences for limiting tech exposure to modern students.

Jacinto Noriega, a computer teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary School, told Cernavskis: “The other day I was in a kindergarten classroom and showing an iPad. Within 20 minutes, they got it. Kids are fearless [when it comes to technology].”

But exposure to iPads, apps, and tablets might not be the best thing for kids, according to a recent article by the Associated Press. In the piece, which outlines some of the negative impacts of excessive tech exposure,  pediatricians and health experts worry that too much screen time detracts from other activities that promote brain development, and is “linked to behavior problems and delayed social development in older children.”

From the article:

Dr. Rahil Briggs, a pediatric psychologist at New York’s Montefiore Medical Center, says tablet usage needs to be limited for the youngest of children, because too much screen time can slow language development. And since there’s very little research out there so far, experts still don’t know exactly how much is too much, she says.

For older children, Briggs says too much tablet use can slow social development. She notes that the solitary nature of the activity means that kids aren’t using that time to learn how to make friends or pick up on social cues.

Jill Buban, dean of the School of Education at Post University in Waterbury Conn., says the more children absorb and understand technology before they start school, the more comfortable they’ll feel when they enter a classroom for the first time.

But she says even the best educational apps must be monitored by parents and limited. She recommends no more than 30 minutes of tablet usage at a time in light of the short attention spans of most young kids.

Thoughts? Observations? In-defense-of-tablets diatribes? Weigh in below.


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One Comment

  1. C. Russo

    Does this explain why all the new techies in SF seem to have Aspberger’s? (I hate to generalize, but when did the sense of humor go extinct?)

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