10 reasons I want my children to grow up away from TV, computer and tablets
All our daily life is mediated by screens. Internet has conquered one by one all facets of modern life in very good and not so good ways. I would say my life is definitely better with internet. Artificial intelligence is the next big thing and I cannot wait for robots to clean our house and deal with other not so fulfilling tasks of my life. However, we took the conscious and rather difficult decision to keep our children away from all types of screens while growing up or at least until they turn 6–7.
Childhood is such a precious time where neurological and behavioural patterns (so difficult to change later on) define one’s personality. Most of us hold fond memories but also nightmarish recollections of our childhood years. Before having kids, I would not even think about how I would educate my children, neither did I have an opinion on the use of digital technology by young children. Then, I had children of my own and I still did not have a concrete idea of how the rather complex process of education would take place, but instinctively I felt I had to protect my babies and young children from screens. Not top-down as in ‘you will never ever see the TVor play computer games’ but more about organising family time and play time around things connected to the rich imagination of children and away from the highly addictive nature of TV, computers and other devices. Why? My reasons below;
- I have seen children stuck to the TV for hours, almost without moving, and just being drawn to a universe that was created by others (why would I do that rather than let my create his or her own imaginary games)
- I believe that in the early years, movement and coordination are key for the development of the child and that these skills are connected to other abilities such as speech development, autonomy and thinking
- Children’s brains are extremely receptive to stimuli and still unable to select and restrict. It seems that the flow of fast paced images does not align with the tempo of thinking and playing and the dreamy state of childhood
- One could also talk about the contents and whether the shows, games etc. targeted at increasingly younger children and babies are really age appropriate, however, my concerns go well beyond the question of content and selection
- Switching the TV on to get a break is a common attitude among parents that are just plainly tired. Although I sympathise with that, because I know how hard it is to keep on with the activity of children while juggling work and household chores, I do not think it is a way forward. I have experienced with my children that if I say they can watch TV for 10 min then they complain and ask to watch more
- Childhood is the time for imagination and creative play. Most creative skills are developed during early years. That very special time will never come back, and spending it hooked on screens is just a waste of the inherently beauty of early childhood.
- From a more pragmatic point of view, I think creativity would be a crucial asset in a technological world where automatisation and artificial intelligence will take up most routine work and therefore the value of the individual will come from their own creativity. I would definitely not want to close that window for my children feeding their growing brains with passive entertainment
- There is a misconception I believe that tries to embed technology in early years education to ‘prepare our children for the future’. This lies in the belief that if children play with computers from early childhood they will be more able to understand the technology in future. This tend to come from over 50’s policy makers that have found difficult to adapt to technology. However, by doing this they are perpetuating problems of technological adaptation. Technology changes and will keep on changing at a greater pace. Bringing up our children t be familiar with specific technology does not mean that we are helping to make them more flexible to just adapt or event be developers of new technologies in the future. Thinking outside the box, resilience and adaptation cannot be learnt by imprinting specific technologies in children’s brain
- I want my children to develop their own critical thinking and their own experiences and not live through the adventures other (adults) have created for fictional characters
- One day my children will judge how I have brought them up and possibly won’t agree with many things, but in this learning process as a parent, keeping them away from screens in early childhoods is what my heart tells me to do.
Part of the motivation behind the idea of Yoto comes from our endeavour as parents to keep children away from screens but at the same time giving them access to songs, stories and imaginative games, which they can choose and play without the help of an adult. Stories and fairy tales are a very important part of growing up and have traditionally been told through generations. Yoto enables my child’s grandmother, living thousands of miles away, to read him a book every night or sing him a song before falling asleep. Yoto gives you the freedom to choose from a wide variety of content or, even better, create your very own content for your child. Yoto is the toy in the background for children to imagine their own magical adventures.
Yoto. Playtime amplified. Find out more at yotoplay.com