Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How young is too young?

How young is too young? Well the answer depends on what we're exactly referring to. With respect to technology, well that answer depends on how young we're talking. Now that answer doesn't seem certain at all. According to an article in the Washington Post titled 2- to 4-year-olds are most frequent users of educational media, study finds, we may be talking as young as 2 to 4 years old. Now here's the fun part of the answer. These 2 to 4 year olds are actually the "most frequent users of educational technology". Interestingly enough, since this age group is likely to be home with their parents, the study mentions how suddenly there is a boom in the educational technology world to reach out and market to these children. As a result of these promotions, the companies say this is all for the good of our children and their minds.

In the beginning, I thought this was absurd. Initially, the only thought that kept running through my mind was "How could we expose our babies at such an early age to technology???" However, as I read on, I thought maybe this whole "starting technology at a young age" isn't so bad. Here's why. Well the sooner these children learn to navigate the various tools that exist the better. Also there is an educational benefit. While we adults may use technology to socialize and "waste time" these children may be making critical connections and learning profoundly. As an Early Childhood Family Education advocate, we have to recognize that it is between the age of birth to five that these children learn the most. So I guess the need to reach out to children under five isn't crazy at all. In fact, I believe this may be the only time in their lives that children watch and engage with nothing else but educational tools. According to the same article, as children age, the less time they spend watching and engaging with educational shows. Therefore, here is our route to creating skilled but smart and engaged children. I guess the saying "you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover" is something I would insert here as a lesson learned.

In case all of this didn't make sense, think of Sesame Street. An educational show that teaches children all types of lessons from numbers, letters, to even how to eat healthy. Now if our children are able to learn the most at this age period, imagine how advanced our children could become by the time they reach school. I believe this marketing could really help us in becoming stronger in areas of Math and Science. 

Here's the article I was referring to, Please feel free to take a look. It's very interesting! 


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