Digital Addiction on Children

Hi,

May I know your thoughts on using Ebook for toddlers. I saw this article, https://thewiredshopper.com/print-books-vs-e-books-whats-the-future-of-reading/, but as a homeschool mom, I am hoping to have some validation from fellow homeschool families, if its ok, to let my 3 year old toddler to use Ebooks.

Probably the question running on my head is if I start using Ebooks or any form of online learning, am I leading my son to be digitally addicted?.. It may sound really paranoid, but I just want to make sure, I am not opening the doors for a possibly digitally addicted child.

Thank you in advance for your feedback

1 Like

Welcome to the forum! As with all things, I’d say it’s about moderation. I prefer print books for my kids, but I do let them watch a few TV shows after their chores and school are done. The important thing is to set limits and be consistent with them.

3 Likes

That’s an important concern these days! Not letting your kids have their own devices (i.e. phone) too early may be one of the most important good moves you can make. It’s only just now becoming super apparent how damaging this constant access has been to middle school / junior high students (especially girls - but I wouldn’t hesitate to apply this to guys too). And modeling your own mastery over those tools (modeling for your kids what it means to not let all this flashy tech be the master over you) might be the toughest challenge for some young parents.

2 Likes

Dear Mitchie,
Welcome to the forum. I have a few shared experiences that I hope are helpful. First of all my daughter graduated from K12.com school which is completely on-line learning from kindergarten. Have a look at their model to see how they integrate social events into the homeschool environment if you have not already.

I had read somewhere that 50% of American’s have some type of addiction sex, drugs, rock and roll, gaming, prorn, social media, etc. So, for me, addiction is something to be vigilant about, regardless of the activity.

Finally, I was at global CEO event in Denver a few years ago and a mother asked the 20 something presenter what she should do about her son addicted to gaming. The young CEO said “I was that kid, and I just sold my first gaming company for a half of billion.” Addiction can just a passion that should be supported and not frowned upon.

If you have not watched Eva Vertes on TED, please do. (TED is not a bad addiction to have…)
Best Wishes, Shawn

1 Like

This is akin to fueling kids dreams of being millionaire professional athletes. Sure … there is nothing wrong with cultivating big dreams. But 99.9% of us will sure be glad that we had a ‘back up’ plan!
image

2 Likes

On the positive side of using online resources … it’s better that your kids get their exposures to that under your care, than for you to attempt being “totally safe” with some sort of puritanical avoidance. That would just set them up to acquire explosively addictive exposure once they are away from you. Using ebooks and other good electronic resources in healthy controlled ways can be just the vaccination they need to help battle and guard against future addictions.

1 Like

Dear Mervin,
You have taken my comment in the wrong way, so please bear with me. When my 13 year-old daughter wanted to go to Hollywood and become an actress, we sat her down and asked why? The answer she gave us was: “I think I can help more people this way.” So, my wife and I supported her vision. We moved her from Bermuda and 14 to Hollywood and she began her life as an actress, as an emancipated minor living on her own in Hollywood.

The reason that we as parents agreed to do this, was because we wanted her to have no regrets to look back on, and that at this age, what is a year? By seventeen she had decided not to stay in the business, but her learning in these three years were priceless. It made for the best possible college essay and got her into any college she wanted to go without taking the SAT. More importantly, it gave her the resilience to survive her stroke and her kidnapping. I am convinced that had we coddler her, she would not have come through both of these events in the way she has.

The biggest problem in modern society is that we do not give children the opportunity to fail and we don’t use failure as a teaching moment. Most worry about the result and don’t care about the process. Life is journey and my experience is the best learning for a child can be achieved when they are doing something they love.
Best Wishes, Shawn

2 Likes

I don’t think there is any reason to fear that letting kids be exposed to tablets and smart phones will somehow automatically lead to addictions. But there has been a good deal of research done on how reading on screens affects the wiring of the brain differently than reading physical books, and there is some evidence that pre-schoolers and emerging readers benefit from physical books in ways that e-books cannot provide.

If you are interested in reading more about the topic, there is a pretty fascinating book my sister-in-law had me read a while back called Reader Come Home. It’s written by a former English teacher turned nueroscientist. She advocates for a “biliterate” approach that helps children become fluent readers on screens and with physical books, because people read differently in those two modes and different areas of the brain are activated and developed. It would be bad for society to lose the benefits of what she calls “deep reading” that is developed through linear reading of pages in longer books, but kids also need the skills associated with screen reading to function in the digital age.

So, I guess my summary would be e-books aren’t evil or dangerous, but you shouldn’t use them to completely replace physical books.

3 Likes

One time when I brought my youngest, Akito, to the library around four years old he joined this other family reading a book. The mother was astounded when she realized Akito could read and she asked me how I managed to teach him. I explained that Akito learned to read all by himself from watching tv programs on public tv stations which teach children to read. She replied with consternation that she didn’t allow her children to watch TV. My point is that when you reject new technology then you are going to find that you loose advantages along with whatever bad things you are trying to avoid.

As for e-books opposed to physical books… this is an area where a stubborn rejection of the new is not going to pay off because no how much I personally hate it, the trend is that these are rapidly replacing books made from paper. I would strongly advise encouraging the greatest adaptability so they may be prepared for whatever future lies ahead.

1 Like

thank you so much. I appreciate your input. I will surely visit the sites you sent.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.