Target: ZERO to THREE, National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families
Goal: Reduce young children’s exposure to Smartphones and other electronics, by promoting education about this important issue.
Smartphones have become the modern pacifier, with parents often handing over their phone or tablet to soothe their crying babies and toddlers. The Japan Pediatric Association (JPA) is so concerned about this growing trend that they have launched a campaign to raise awareness about its potential harmful effects. The JPA President explains, “When children become upset, many parents give them a Smartphone to keep them quiet. But if parents do this, they have fewer chances to communicate through pacifying their babies while watching how they react.”
Young children need real-life interaction in order to learn how to effectively communicate, and replacing this human interaction with a machine impedes their ability to communicate with people in the long run. Parent-child interaction also fosters learning and cognitive growth, and televisions and other technological devices just don’t measure up, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Allowing young children access to Smartphones and other devices is risky, not to mention the potential long-term health risks associated with a love of sedentary activities, and the access to inappropriate content via the Internet.
With 40% of children under the age of two using mobile devices, and 70% of children over the age of 8 having regular access to these devices, the problem is very real and needs to be addressed. The amount of time children spend on mobile devices on a daily basis has tripled since 2011, with the majority of time being spent playing games, using apps, and watching videos. Even so-called “educational apps” are controversial, with many advocates questioning the educational validity of the content.
Encourage ZERO to THREE, a national organization for parents of infants and toddlers, to campaign against the use of mobile devices by educating parents on the potential risks and dangers of their use by young children.
Dear ZERO to THREE,
The use of mobile devices as a way to soothe children who are upset, or to occupy their time, is a rapidly growing problem in the U.S. and all over the world. The Japan Pediatric Association is campaigning against the use of mobile devices by young children, citing the evidence that young children need real-life interaction with their parents in order to develop effective communication and healthy social interaction skills. Access to these devices from a young age can also encourage a sedentary lifestyle, leading to health problems down the line, and can hinder learning and cognitive development, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Campaign against the use of mobile devices by young children in the U.S. Educate parents about the risks and potential dangers of frequent access to mobile devices for children, and offer healthy, alternative means of soothing children and occupying their time. Your efforts could make an important difference in little lives everywhere.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Steve Paine via Flickr