Most families I know typically talk about ways to keep electronics out of the hands of their little ones. And although I can see that push, I can’t say that I wholeheartedly agree. We live in a world of technology. It’s all around us and our children are growing up with this innate ability to process and understand concepts that are being presented via the use of technology. That being said, let me give some of my family’s background…
My children do not rely on technology to learn and the use of any screen time is relatively new for them. With my husband in pediatrics, we very closely followed the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Media Use Guidelines until our children were 2 years old…which meant my kids did not watch ANY television or electronics before the age of 2. I actually remember counting down the days until I could turn on an educational show for them to watch. Once they turned 2 years old, my kids were simply not interested. They were just too busy to sit and watch anything. At that point, their imaginations were starting to take off and they just wanted to PLAY. It could also be because there are three of them and they always have a playmate. Not that I’m complaining – this is what we wanted, but I do remember my husband and I asking the kids to PLEASE sit and watch something (anything) to give us a break, albeit short. 😉
In addition, we never got into the habit of letting our kids use our phones or iPads. And because we’ve never allowed them, they don’t ask and don’t expect to be able to use or even see our phones – ever. While yes, this is a big win for our family, this can also a downfall. Our kids are growing up in an environment that fosters the use of technology…we WANT our kids to be interested in educational games or programs that could teach them their letters, or numbers, or Spanish, or really anything. We’ve tried – and until now, we haven’t been able to find anything that they’ve been excited about.
And while I may be talking about healthy screen time from a different angle than the norm, let’s face it – healthy screen time is healthy screen time. Our kids need it…just not too much of it. I’m also a firm believer that our kids need INTERACTIVE screen time, not passive screen time. I believe we should sit and watch a show with them or play the games with them. Does this always happen? No! But I still believe it should happen that way the majority of the time. So just what are those healthy limits? Here is an excerpt taken from the AAP’s website:
Among the AAP recommendations:
For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they’re seeing.
For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.
For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.
Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.
Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.
This is where OSMO comes in as a HUGE win for our family. OSMO is an award winning game system, designed for children ages 4 through 12, that connects good old-fashioned play time (drawing, pretend cooking, card games) with modern technology through the iPad…which closely aligns to my families’ core values. We needed to find a program that would hold my kids’ attention, be engaging, while continuing to expand their budding imaginations. Not an easy task…so I’m absolutely thrilled to have found this in the OSMO gaming system.
My kids are now ASKING to use the game system and for the first time, I am needing to pull them away from technology! Truthfully, I’m shocked (and a little thrilled). OSMO offers several different programs (Words, Pizza Co., Tangrams, Coding Jam, and Numbers – which the former Math teacher in me is waaaaay too excited about!!). My kids have been playing Monster with the Creative Set (which comes with the Newton, Monster, and Masterpiece Apps) and they absolutely love it. The Creative Set needs the OSMO base, and my kids are able to set it up by themselves! They are engaged, interacting and laughing right along with Mo (the OSMO Monster). The Monster App also fosters their creativity because Mo can make what they draw actually come to life on the screen…and they have gained more confidence in their drawing abilities because of it! My kids are mesmerized by Mo and it’s adorable to watch. Not only am I excited to see how much they will learn and grow from this program, but I’m also excited to watch them embrace the technology that is already all around them…at a healthy level of course. 😉
This post was sponsored, but all opinions are my own. To learn more about the OSMO, click here.