Are tablets screwing up our kids?

Child-using-an-iPad-tablet-by-aperturismo-863x576

Back in the day, when we were kids and we broke the rules, the punishment was often something like no TV for a week. Today, it’s not uncommon to see an ill-behaved, screaming child given a tablet to dry those eyes and quiet them up. (Mama don’t have time for a headache.) How does this effect children? The New York Times today reported that the impact may, in fact, be extremely detrimental to a child’s developing mind.

Of course, it’s hard to tell what exact effects the modern tablet will have on children, since it’s such a new technology. It’ll be a few more years yet before we’ll fully understand its impact. “We really don’t know the full neurological effects of these technologies yet,” explained Dr. Gary Small, director of longevity at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Children, like adults, vary quite a lot, and some are more sensitive than others to an abundance of screen time.”

So, let’s use the example of the dinner table, shall we? Is it okay to hand over a tablet to make you’re your kids behave while out in public? Dr. Small says that, due to our brain’s sensitivity to stimuli, the importance of kids having regular conversations, such as those at the dinner table, are extremely important to the development of social skills, whereas constantly being distracted by a tablet could hinder those skills.

But you might be asking: what’s the difference between kids coloring, as so many do while at a restaurant, or playing their favorite iPad game? According to Ozlem Ayduk, associate professor in the Relationships and Social Cognition Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, well…not that much. “There are value-based lessons for children to talk to people during a meal. It’s not so much about the iPad [or other tablet] versus non-electronics.”

So crayons versus tablets: which is the better option? Sherry Turkle, professor of science, technology, and society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that neither is a viable option. She argues that, even if the child isn’t engaged in a conversation with his or her parents, they then retreat into their own minds and, in a sense, have a conversation with themself.

“They need to be able to explore their imagination. To be able to gather themselves and know who they are,” said Turkle. “So someday they can form a relationship with another person without a panic of being alone. If you don’t teach your children to be alone, they’ll only know how to be lonely.”

There you have it. At the end of the day, tablets may not be the devil, as far as child development. What’s important is to make sure kids have every day, regular, distraction-free interaction.

Mobile

Need a minute to yourself? Buy some alone time with the best tablets for kids

Looking to keep those tiny fingers and brains busy? Tablets aren’t just for grown-ups, and many are kid-friendly! Here's our list of the best tablets for kids, with parental controls and plenty of tempting features to satisfy your…
Mobile

Want to watch Netflix in bed or browse the web? We have a tablet for everyone

There’s so much choice when shopping for a new tablet that it can be hard to pick the right one. From iPads to Android, these are our picks for the best tablets you can buy right now whatever your budget.
Movies & TV

Skip the flowers and sunshine this spring and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (April 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Mobile

Bigger isn’t always better: 5 of the smallest smartphones worth buying

Phones are getting larger and larger, but what options exist for the small-of-hand, or people who just want a phone they can use one-handed? In a world of phablets, some of the smallest smartphones can still pack a punch.
Mobile

Waze vs. Google Maps: Which map app should you be using?

Waze and Google Maps are two of the most popular apps for those looking for turn-by-turn navigation, yet there are some notable differences to point out. Here, we examine both to decide which offers the best feature set.
Wearables

Before buying a Fitbit, check out these Garmin fitness trackers under $100

The Apple Watch is a great fitness tracker, but it's not cheap. Thankfully, there are plenty of fitness trackers under $100, and they offer many of the same features. Here are the best fitness trackers under $100.
Health & Fitness

Google’s redesigned Fit activity tracker is now an iOS app

Google Fit has landed for iOS. The activity tracker offers the same clean design that arrived with the major revamp of the Android version a year ago, with features such as Move Minutes and Heart Points also included.
Mobile

Stunning photo shows Honor 20 will get the full Moschino designer treatment

Honor will launch the Honor 20 on May 21, at an event taking place in London. A special Moschino version will also be revealed, potentially with a Lite version, and perhaps even another model also showing up on the day.
Mobile

Leak says Huawei will supply 5G equipment to the U.K., but with a caveat

A leak from the U.K.'s National Security Council says Huawei has been approved to supply certain 5G infrastructure equipment, but not the core components related to secure aspects of the network.
Mobile

Smash your carrier shackles with the best unlocked phones

If you want the freedom to switch carriers at will or you prefer to get your phone directly from the company that makes it, you'll want to buy an unlocked smartphone. These are the best unlocked phones you can buy in the U.S.
Mobile

Google Assistant for Android and iOS wants to tell you a story

Just in time for National Tell a Story Day on April 27, Google has added the ability for Google Assistant for iOS and Android to read you a story. So now there's no excuse for not catching up with a good book.
Android

Here's how much it will cost to buy the Galaxy S10 5G, and when it releases

Samsung announced a whopping four new Galaxy S10 devices, from the low-cost S10e to the triple-camera S10 and S10 Plus. But it's the Galaxy S10 5G that steals the show, as it will be the first 5G-ready smartphone to hit the market.
Mobile

Verizon reveals 20 new cities that will get its 5G network in 2019

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it has also begun deploying mobile 5G. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network, including when it will be in your town.