Children under 18 months should not be exposed to technology – IT expert

Mrs Oreoluwa Lesi, Executive Director, Women Empowerment Technology Centre (WTEC), an NGO, has advised that babies under 18 months should not be exposed to technology because of its adverse effects.

Lesi told Our Reporter on Monday in Lagos that early exposure of babies to technology would likely slow down their speech and ability to relate with people.

She added that the American Academy of Pediatrics had similarly advised that up to the age of 18 months, babies should have zero screen-time, other than video-chatting with family.

The WTEC executive said that results of more research being conducted into child use of technology were fairly mixed.

“We have to be more realistic because nowadays children between ages one and two have access to mobile apps through the use of phones and tablets.

“They even know how to swipe the screen to get to the next page, the only thing we can do as parents is to limit their screen time,“ she said.

Lesi said that physical activities such as reading stories to children and human interaction would always play a very important role in a child’s development.

The entrepreneur said that technology should not replace or be detrimental to human interaction but could bring new educational experiences to young children, giving the right environment.

Lesi noted that there was the tendency of busy parents to hand their phones to their babies to keep them busy while they continued with their schedule.

“It is really important for parents to monitor what they are watching; babies could easily click on YouTube and start watching what they are not supposed to see,“ she said.

The WTEC boss cautioned that even while watching YouTube Kids, parents also have to use restraint as some of the cartoons shown on the app depicts violence.

She said that for instance, a cartoon where one character stabs the other was inappropriate and should not be watched by a little child.

”If you want your child to watch YouTube kids sit down and monitor them,“ Lesi said.

We reports that the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2017 moved away from recommending a total screen ban for kids ages 18 to 24 months to parents choosing high-quality programming and watching it with their children for better understanding.

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