Two articles came to may attention this morning discussing an issue that has concerned me for some time. Namely, do young children spend too much time with screens? Those of you who know me must be aware of my passion for technology. I was an early computer user on an IBM mainframe in 1969. Later I owned a Commodore 64 and then a string of Macintoshes and i-devices. My toys had their own website long before the web was an everyday part of our lives. Still, in looking at my toys, I hope you realize my commitment to old fashioned, high touch, natural toys powered by manipulation and immagination.
I am concerned at the number of very young children who seem to be handed a touchscreen babysitter on a daily basis. Scientists and researchers are just beginning to study this and report their findings, and the early signals are troubling.
Articles titled “Are Touch Screens Melting Your Kid’s Brain?” or “Infants ‘unable to use toy building blocks’ due to iPad addiction” showed up in my morning surfing. These articles scare me. I realize the science is very preliminary, but these are our children and some caution is probably a good idea. Please make sure your kids have art materials, building blocks and other manipulatives and have plenty of time outside in the woods or at least the sandbox. And limit their time with screens, screens of any type.
“The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses.”
― Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder