Too young for technology?

August 17, 2011 2:04:05 PM PDT
Adults love smartphones and tablets - and so do kids. However, child experts say too much tech time can rob children of the chance to develop social skills.

"If they're on the cell phone or on the computer they're probably not outside playing, and they're not engaged in physical activities. They may not be interacting with other people, their family or their friends, developing those social skills," warned Kate Eshleman, Psy.D of The Cleveland Clinic.

There really isn't a specific age for parents to decide when a child can get on a computer or have their own cell phone. One size definitely does not fit all, and it is up to parents to decide if the child is mature enough to handle it.

Parents should supervise the child and teach them how to use the technology appropriately. Dr. Eshleman also says it's good for parents to show kids how easy it is to find or see something they're not supposed to.

"We oftentimes hear stories about kids connecting with adults that are not safe. So, that kind of thing does happen. But even browsing websites, typing in something that seems innocent or benign, you can oftentimes find a website that is really inappropriate for young kids," said Dr. Eshleman.

It is always a good idea to make tech time or "together time" for parents and young children. Also, it is important to make sure you have software blockers installed to protect children from inappropriate websites.