My 18-month-old is very interested in the computer. Are there any programs to help her start learning about the computer at this age?
Young children are very curious by nature. They may seem to be interested in technology, but often it is because a parent is using a computer, talking on a cell phone or fiddling with the remote control to the television.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has long supported a "screen-free" environment for children under 2. When it was originally created in 1999, the AAP policy statement addressed only TV exposure. The group included video in an updated statement this fall and warns that heavy media exposure is associated with delayed language development in young children.
Does this mean your child should never touch the family iPad or computer? Not really. Parents should carefully consider their child's use of other screens-computers, iPads and even cell phones. Digital books and games designed for very young children can be entertaining, but should always be combined with adult interaction. Electronic play in this age group should be the exception, not the rule.
The best thing you can do to help your child develop a love of learning and prepare her to explore computers and technology as she grows is by following three simple rules:
Sharon Cindrich is the mother of two and author of American Girl's A Smart Girl's Guide to the Internet and A Smart Girl's Guide to Style.
Sharon Cindrich is a mother of two tech-savvy kids from Virginia Beach. Learn more at sharoncindrich.com.
See more of Sharon's stories here.