Kids Apps, Good or Bad For Our Children?

0

Posted by Sarah | Posted in Children's Learning, Directed Tasks, Early Years, My interest | Posted on February 28, 2013

We were asked to wrote a piece about something that interested us. I decided to stick with the theme of ICT and look at an issue which was being featured frequently in the media. It is also something I have some personal experience of.

There has been an explosion in apps flooding onto the market place for mobile phones and tablets all aimed at our children, but how good are they for our children to be using?
It’s amazing how many children are able to pick up the latest phone or tablet and begin swiping away to access games and apps on the devices. Even the youngest children appear to have developed the ability to swipe the screen as soon as they are able to get their hands on a device! This video demonstrates this!

Many of these apps are marketed as being of educational value to our children, but are they really a good thing? The use of these apps and games is dramatically increasing the amount of screen time our children are getting. Is this preventing them from developing other skills and interests such as being outdoors or reading? Are adults partly to blame for this rise in screen time if they themselves are role modelling the frequent use of these devices and apps?
Professionals have been warning for a number of years that the amount of time children are spending in front of televisions and DVD’s has been increasing, and now they are warning that the new generation of gadgets is increasing this further. I read a very interesting article recently which discussed the rise of children’s apps on the markets. Part of the article discussed research carried out by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggested for children 2 years or younger all those screens can have a negative impact upon children’s development. It suggested unplanned play is a better brain booster for our youngest children in society.
Many parents admit that providing their child with the opportunity to play on a tablet or phone, they are able to take care of other tasks they may need to do for example cooking the dinner. But should we be allowing these gadgets to become babysitting devices and does this increase both the child and adult’s dependence upon them? I admit I have allowed my children time on their tablet and games console to get work done and it is very easy to allow these play times to go on for longer than originally planned because it’s keeping them quiet. However as a parent I also see the importance of my children playing in the garden, being creative and sitting quietly reading. I can see how a child sitting for hours on end could impact upon other areas of their development for example physical development, but I can also see the benefits too. Both my children enjoy being able to use the Internet, my oldest son to do maths homework online for example and the younger one to access CBeebies to practice his phonics.
If you go online for example to the Google store or Apple store it is quite obvious just how many apps are available for children. There is everything from teaching your baby words in other languages to nursery rhymes and story telling apps. It is interesting that some apps which may be considered adult apps are advertised alongside our children’s apps such as Angry Birds.

   
There have also been recent articles in the media about parents receiving huge bills for apps children have downloaded themselves whilst using smart devices. Is it too easy for children to download these apps or is this partly the fault of the adult for not supervising enough what the child is doing? Many of the apps children are able to access entice children in with a free download but the children are encouraged to buy further parts to the game for example furniture for imaginary houses. Children are also given options to buy their way through to the next level using payments through the phone, again creating high bills for unsuspecting parents.
With more and more apps and devices hitting the market is this a trend that will continue to grow? Are we exposing our children to more ICT and technology than they actually need? And is all of what they access really a positive experience for the children? These are arguments that many people have different views upon but one thing the many agree upon, is that allowing our children to have some access and experiences with ICT is a positive thing for our children’s development as long as it is supervised and time controlled.

To access the article I read about kids apps follow this link:http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-11-17/business/35281254_1_app-stores-smartphone-samsung-galaxy

To access an article on the cost of these apps follow this link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21042379

Write a comment