Children prefer to play with tablets rather than traditional toys.
Children prefer to play with tablets rather than traditional toys
Two-year-old children, who can’t yet speak well, can handle simple applications on a smartphone without any problems – according to a report prepared by Common Sense Media organization. A study commissioned by LifeProof, meanwhile, shows that two-thirds of children in the UK are more likely to play with their parents’ tablet than with their own toys. Are we being born into a new digital generation?
According to the latest information provided by the Consumer Electronics Association*, already more than half of Poles have a smartphone, and a third own a tablet. Not surprisingly, mobile devices are increasingly starting to be used by children as well. Often it is the presence of children that is the impetus for adults to buy a tablet – this is admitted by nearly half of parents whose kids happen to use the device.
Tablet a favorite toy..
Why parents are choosing to provide their youngest with smartphones and tablets? Four in 10 parents admit they use a mobile device as an “electronic babysitter” to keep their child entertained. Nearly two-thirds of parents, meanwhile, say their youngster prefers to play with a smartphone or tablet rather than their own toys. And a third note that the child shows interest in technology “to be like mom and dad”.
Interestingly, up to 90% of parents also point to the educational value of mobile devices.
Research indicates that nearly one-third of parents of two or more children see a difference in the development of their youngest child who has been exposed to new technologies from an early age, compared to an older brother or sister who grew up without such gadgets. 75% of parents, on the other hand, believe that the ability to use new technologies is now a key element contributing to a child’s development.
It’s great to see how many parents are using smartphones and tablets as educational tools for their children – says Steve Daverio, managing director at LifeProof, a manufacturer of protective cases for smartphones and tablets. – Our UK research shows that more than half of parents note that their young child is better at using smartphone and tablet apps than they are. This shows the trends and real predisposition of children to acquire knowledge with modern tools, he adds.
Such predispositions are also recognized by Polish researchers. A study conducted by the Institute of Pedagogy of the University of Gdansk** shows that children’s fascination with desktop computers is slowly coming to an end. They are too boring, difficult to use and unintuitive. Kids, on the other hand, love touch-enabled devices, which are slowly becoming quite natural to them.
Which leads to funny situations: a young child tries to enlarge with his fingers a picture in the newspaper or a tree seen outside the window.
Researchers from the University of Gdansk agree that mobile devices have great educational potential, and using them is intuitive and simple. What promotes playing together, learning, helping and supporting each other, more than competition.
Parents who allow young children to use smartphones and tablets see positive changes in their development. Among the most noticeable ones, they list: the ability to quickly distinguish colors, shapes, numbers and letters, more proficient language learning, interest in reading, and even gaining self-confidence.
…and maybe something more?
The change in attitude towards the use of mobile devices is also an opportunity for children with various deficits and difficulties. Applications for tablets and smartphones encourage creative thinking and help replace a lack of manual skills.
There are already emerging applications aimed at children with developmental or behavioral disorders (including Down syndrome, autism or ADHD). Such programs are based on simple games and a system for tracking the child’s progress, even up to a few years back. Each of the available games is based on exercises that are used on a daily basis in the therapeutic process.
Such an application is not a substitute for professional therapy, but can help achieve better treatment results.
What about safety?
Giving a smartphone or tablet to a child provides both entertainment and a learning tool. However, we must not forget to control what applications and websites our kids have access to. Not all online content is suitable for young children, and downloading some programs or games can expose parents to large costs.
That’s why it’s important to determine at the outset what applications can be installed or who to talk to via instant messenger.
It is also worth thinking about protecting the device itself. 20% of the parents participating in the survey*** admitted that their child had damaged the casing or screen of a smartphone while playing, costing them as much as 570 zlotys a year. The most frequently indicated cause of damage, was dropping the device on the floor or flooding it with liquid.
– We know that such accidents happen, so we have developed a line of cases that are resistant to drops, water, dust or snow. One of them was appreciated by parents themselves and awarded with a special certificate – notes Steve Daverio. – In addition, the LifeProof cases are designed to maintain the device’s slim shape and provide users with access to all functions. Thanks to this you can, for example. comfortably and without fear to take photos underwater or hand over the smartphone into the unsteady hands of a small child, he adds.
Importantly, a properly selected case can ensure the safety not only of the device, but also of the child. When a toddler accidentally drops the phone, there is no fear that he will smash the screen and cut his skin with pieces of glass.
See also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6mzP0GG07Q
*Research conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association in Poland in 2022.
**Research of the Institute of Pedagogy of the University of Gdansk conducted in Poland in 2022 among parents of young children.
***The research by Lifeproof was conducted in the UK in 2013, among adults raising at least one child.