For many families, technology has become the foundation of at-home learning, but there are potential dangers.
“We started having to pull back the reins a little bit and say okay we can’t monopolize our time all on our iPads,” said Madeline Gugich, a mother of two.
The Gugich Family has 6-year old Ainsley and 4-year old Clay, both well equipped to handle electronic devices.
“They’ve gotten used to it where they can work ipads and iphones better than probably my grandparents can,” father George Gugich said.
Daughter Ainsley Gugich added, “I like to learn math and do science.”
Even at a young age, children can tell what content is appropriate.
“Staying off YouTube. Staying off YouTube why? Because there’s bad shows you don’t want to watch.”
Madeline Gugich added, “A parent or somebody that had a mask on, you know, just kind of scare, scare them in different games. What did you call them Clay? Game master shows, and he talks us about it and said, I don’t think this is what I need to be watching.”
“I told you this is a bad bad show,” Clay Gugich said.
Pediatrician Dr. Stephen Sanches with the Baton Rouge Clinic recommends limiting the amount of non interactive screen time.
“There’s a difference between, say sitting down with a child, watching a football game or watching an Elmo sing-along or something where you’re interacting with your child while you do it versus just passively sitting there zoning out to other cartoons, ” Dr. Sanches said.
Madeline Gugich added, “It’s stimulating the brain of some sort, not just kind of taking up time and watching fantasy little videos that they’re pretending that they’re living in.”
As children get older, reinforcing proper online behavior through conversation and parental monitoring is essential.
“As a parent you’re there to teach your child what is safe and what isn’t and tha parameters to know how to stay safe,” Dr. Stephen Sanches said.
“You’re going to do the same thing with their exposure to the internet. Younger children and middle aged children need very limited unsupervised access to the internet, because unfortunately in today’s day and age, that’s up on the internet finds a way to find down even when they’re not trying to find it. And then as kids get older and teenagers and they do need a little bit of freedom, you know, learning ways to know your child and know how much close monitoring they really need.”
George Gugich added, “Just making sure the content they’re watching is not toxic or damaging, that’s a pretty important piece to this whole ordeal.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics reccomends that for children ages 2 to 5, to limit screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programming.
Dr. Sanches also pointed out during the COVID pandemic, parents have to do what works best for them.
“The biggest thing has helped parents is at this point, depending on your own situation. These are not normal times, so do the best you can. I mean we want to minimize it. But these aren’t perfect times, but doing the best you can within the same imperfect situations.”
Madeline Gugich added, “We sometimes find ourselves negotiating or trying to come up with some kind of reasoning as to why, why are you doing this instead of just let’s put our iPad away. They’re trying to have fun, I want to do this. So in a lot of situations, they’re not happy when we tell them that they got to put their iPad down.”
George Gugich added, “It’s all a matter of making sure that they’re not constantly on their iPads because you know they certainly have freedoms, and the internet is limitless so it definitely requires some monitoring, and they see what what we’re doing all that time they don’t quite understand it but you know that’s why we decided to essentially not do tablets, phones at the dinner table. So, you know, just to kind of instill that that family time at dinner. Just for all of us to be able to sit down and talk about our days.”