Hazards for Preschool Computer Use
Is your tot already computer savvy? What parents needs to know about the risks of computer use for young children.
What You Need To Know
There’s no debating the benefits that computers can bring to our lives. But at what age should your child learn about the other mouse? Many researchers do not recommend computer use for children under 3 years of age. During that time, experts say children learn through their bodies.
Even over the age of 3 child health professionals are concerned about the potential physical, emotional, social and intellectual hazards that computers may pose to the young child.
- Musculoskeletal injuries/Vision Problems: Hours at the keyboards and repeated movements may overload children’s hands, wrists, arms and necks which could damage their developing bodies. Computer use may tire and irritate eyes, putting additional strain on a child’s developing visual system.
- Lack of exercise: Computers could replace physical activity time.
- Social isolation: Computers can distract kids from personal bonds with caring adults.
- Squash Creativity: Over-use of computers could stifle creativity, stunt imagination and lead to little self-discipline and motivation.
- Negative Exposure: Playing online could expose a child to online violence, pornography and other inappropriate materials.
How You Can Help
When you do allow your child to use the computer, here are some good rules to follow.
- Be involved. Select software, music and websites carefully.
- Set time limits. Experts say one or two hours per day. This includes TV, movies, video and computer games. The younger the child, the shorter the time limit.
- Be aware of ratings for computer games. Use the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) ratings systems. (http://www.esrb.org/index-js.jsp)
- Computer time should not trump reading, hobbies or creative play.
When used properly computers can be a valuable educational tool. Use it incorrectly and it just doesn’t compute well for your child.
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