A child’s very first words are always special. Often they are “mom” or “dad”. The first words from little Felix were “play iPad”. Early on, in situations like long car rides, he was given the tablet to pass the time and give his parents a little downtime.
Do children nowadays have too close an attachment to media such as tablets or smartphones at too early an age? Shouldn’t they rather be kept away from it as long as possible, as there are also many dangers and risks lurking here, especially for children?
These questions are on the minds of many parents. As children are born into our digital world, it is nearly impossible to shield them from media. They already come into contact with it from birth in everyday family life. In addition, the foundation for children to use media responsibly and reflectively is laid in childhood and adolescence.
Therefore, you should not ask yourself what can be done to keep children away from media, but rather how to best shape children’s (inevitable) first media contact.
You probably also have a laptop, smartphone and game console at home and these devices are accessible to your child. Children are curious and want to know at an early age what exactly is happening on the screens. Better than bans is to accompany them in their media use – by watching picture books together on the tablet, playing games on the smartphone and listening to children’s stories. Be sure to include age-appropriate content.
Children can only become confident in their use of media if they are accompanied and supported in their use. Together with you, your child can gain experience in a protected setting. As a parent, you are there immediately if your child doesn’t understand something or gets scared about certain content. Not only do you model values and morals to your child in and with the media. Your child learns many important things with you, such as how to select interesting and suitable content from the large Internet offering, how to process it, how to critically assess it, and how to question it. Also encourage your child to work creatively with media themselves and not just consume it! You can find suggestions for this here, for example.
As a general rule, it is recommended that children 12 and under not be left unsupervised when using media. Depending on age, there are different tips for rules about times of use and advice from experts on how much company your child needs depending on age. If you want to learn more, take advantage of our Guided Tour.