The article “Increased Screen Time: Implications for Early Childhood Development and Behavior” discusses both positive and negative developmental and behavioral consequences of engagement with technology in early childhood. As for the advantages of digital engagement, the authors determined that infants can successfully imitate the actions or body language of the people that they see on the screen. Also, children older than two and a half years old are able to learn the language and acquire basic literacy skills without parents’ help. Moreover, some TV shows are found to facilitate kids’ social-emotional development. However, although there is some evidence concerning technology’s positive influence on early childhood development and behavior, the authors state that more research is needed.
Despite its advantages, the early age technology usage also has some drawbacks, which are mostly related to large engagement time. Radesky and Christakis (2016) maintain that excessive digital exposure leads to cognitive, language, and emotional delays and is associated with reduced attention. Additionally, the scholars found that there is a strong link between the kids’ exposure to violent games and aggressive behavior. Furthermore, engagement with technology can cause such health problems as insomnia and obesity. As a result, the article under review concludes that in order to enjoy the advantages and avoid disadvantages of technology usage during early childhood, parents should promote healthy digital habits.
What I Learned
Although the article provides a lot of new information regarding the role of technology in early childhood development, I would like to concentrate on three points that I find the most interesting. First of all, I was surprised to know that “media multitasking starts at less than 4 years of age” (Radesky & Christakis, 2016, p. 828). It reveals that human beings can be taught this skill – which I thought necessitates almost fully developed cognitive abilities – at the early stages of their lives. Secondly, it was interesting to discover that most of the apps that are marketed as educational programs for kids actually were not developed by or with the help of specialists in neuroscience. This finding implies that educators should be more attentive to the educational digital programs choice. Last but not least, I find the information concerning the high correlation between parent and child media habits increasingly thought-provoking. It signifies that whenever educators face problematic technology usage, they should primarily examine the parents’ digital behavior.
I think Radesky and Christakis could successfully analyze and structure all the research-based evidence concerning the positive and negative outcomes of technology engagement in early childhood. However, the article showed that the current knowledge of this phenomenon is far from being sufficient. For this reason, it is hard not to agree with the authors that more research is needed. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of facts presented that can be incorporated into my future professional practice. For instance, now I know that it is necessary to inform parents concerning their digital habits’ impact on their children. Also, I should accurately choose the educational platforms as many of them may not be as effective as claimed.
While reading the article, I had one question regarding the excessive usage of technology. Although it is known that heavy engagement with digital platforms is associated with developmental delays, it is still unclear why it happens. On the one hand, the reason can be that more time spent using technology reduces the involvement in other activities crucial for kids’ socialization. Conversely, it can be explained by some features of the technology, such as blue light exposure. Therefore, it would be interesting to know whether developmental delays are caused by either of the aforementioned factors, both of them simultaneously, or maybe some other reasons.
Radesky, J. S., & Christakis, D. A. (2016). Increased screen time: Implications for early childhood development and behavior. Pediatric Clinics, 63(5), 827-839.