I remember the evening very clearly: We were out with my in-laws at a very popular Chinese food chain restaurant. It was packed with people and from the time we arrived until the time we got our food, it took almost two hours.
And my son, who was only about 22 months old at the time, was quiet and contented when the food finally arrived - all because he was playing an animal noise matching game on my phone.
Did I hand him my phone right away? No. We talked, played hand games, colored, read a book, folded paper into origami shapes, told him a story, played with the fleet of cars that lives in my purse and about a dozen other things to keep him occupied before I finally handed over my phone. I do not regret that moment - it kept him calm in a loud and difficult situation.
After that night, I started to wonder if he was too young to have access to technology. So, I was interested to read that 38% of children under the age of 2 use mobile media. Yes, I am aware that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends
that parents should bar all screen time - including mobile devices - for
children under 2, but I also recognize that the world is rapidly changing.
When my son does get his eyes on a screen - be it television or a video game on my computer - it is almost always educational and it is under parental supervision. (And I am trying really hard for it to not be my phone.) Do I slip up? Of course.
The important thing is that my husband and I discussed media use in our household and came up with a policy that works for us, and I encourage you to do the same. As our son has gotten older, the rules have changed a bit. But as long as we communicate those changes to him, I think we are doing OK.
What about you? What age did you introduce your child to technology? And what is the policy in your household for screen time?