This blog post may step on some toes but having hard discussions is important. Computers are a terrific learning tool, even in preschool, if used in ways that are appropriate for young children. I do not use computers or hardly any screen time at my place because I know it is being given at home. When using software we should apply criteria developed by experts on computer use with young children. I’d like to share this criteria with you as you look for software for your child to use at home… Software is also video games .
When considering a game, ask yourself if it is:
Age-appropriate for the child? The software or game should provide realistic expectations for young children, the subject should be interesting and involve a child and an active way – not just a drill and practice
It should be designed to give the child control. The child is an active participant, initiating and deciding the sequence of events rather than simply doing tasks that have one right answer.
The software should be easy for the child to understand. For children who are not yet readers, instruction should be given by the computer synthesized speech function or a feature a picture.
The game should be relatively easy for the child to use alone! Good software for young children should function smoothly with a minimal amount of adult supervision.
And last but certainly most important is the violence content of games. For this section I’m just going to copy and paste from commonsense media.com –
Although experts agree that no single factor can cause a nonviolent person to act aggressively, some studies (though not all) suggest that heavy exposure to violent media can be a risk factor for violent behavior. Children who are exposed to multiple risk factors — including substance abuse, aggression, and conflict at home — and also consume violent media are more likely to behave aggressively.
While exposure to violent media is only one of several risk factors, it is one that parents have control over. As parents, we can make a choice to consistently expose our kids to media that reflects our own personal values and say “no” to the stuff that doesn’t. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends Common Sense Media as a resource to guide media selections.
There are so many great benefits to media and technology, including the potential to teach valuable skills. Doing research about TV shows, movies, or games before your kids watch, play, and interact with them will go a long way in helping them avoid the bad stuff.
That’s some hard reading but so relevant. If you were seeing changes in your child’s behavior one of the first things you might look at is their screen time or their game time and what actually has been put in their little brains.