[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Tech companies have fooled parents. Through clever marketing that suggests that certain apps contribute to child learning, parents have been convinced that iPads and tablets are a great companion for young children. However, most of these marketing claims are unsubstantiated by research. The truth of the matter is that screen time is much more likely to negatively affect child development.
During the first two years of life, children primarily learn by interacting with their environments. They explore unlocked cabinets and crawl up stairs, they scribble on freshly-painted walls with crayons, and they seem to find a way to make any situation messy. The ages between 12 months and 2 years is an especially difficult time for parents, and the desire to put a tablet into the hands of a curious kid so they just sit still is extremely tempting.
The fact is, exploring exactly what your child is supposed to be doing at that age. They push boundaries and watch your reactions to learn what is appropriate behavior and what is not. The problem with letting an iPad electronically babysit your child is that he or she changes roles, from an active learner to a passive observer. Some studies suggest that tablets can promote learning in older children, but screen time only hinders development for children under 2.
In fact, language development suffers the most. Babies learn a great deal of language through watching adults and mimicking their facial expressions and sounds. Research shows that watching videos on a screen does not produce the same benefits for young learners as human interaction. Reading to your child will make a much bigger difference than listening to an iPad, even if you watch it together.
If you want to give your child the best head start in life, put down the tablet and go play.