I’d like to give some updates to two of the earlier blog posts that I made.
1. “COMMON CRITICISMS”
One of my first blog posts looked at the criticisms frequently leveled at the idea of teaching babies to read:
I’ve since added a new frequently-heard criticism that I had overlooked when I first made that blog post:
“Won’t My Child Eventually Learn To Read In School Anyway?”
You can read the blog again for this update or see this Forum Post where I copied/pasted the additional section.
2. “TV = BAD?”
The blog post I made after that looked at the criticisms sometimes leveled against “screen time”, including the TV, computer monitors, etc., and mainly based upon recommendations that were made by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2001:
Earlier this year, The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) came out with a draft position statement regarding the use of technology with young children. Originally published in 1996 and entitled “Technology and Young Children—Ages 3 to 8″, the paper has now been revised to include the ages 0-3:
“Technology in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8″
I’m very pleased to see a statement that is finally taking into account the actual reality of the current world we live in. Far from “recommending against screen time” for very young children, it thoroughly recognizes the benefits that technology can bring to our children’s education. In fact, it says:
“Early childhood programs have an obligation to use technology to bridge the digital divide.”
Even though it may seem contradictory to what the AAP recommended, I believe there is absolutely no conflict at all. And that’s because I believe the AAP was never really against the use of technology in the first place, but (as I wrote in that blog piece) it was addressing the typical problems of children watching TV, ie. questionable content and lack of interaction.
Consistent with the AAP recommendations, the new NAEYC position statement also talks about how we must use our judgment to assess whether a particular piece of technology is appropriate, and the importance of interaction (as opposed to passive viewing).
Unfortunately, there are some who seem to be dead set against young children having any form of ‘screen time’, regardless of the benefits it may bring. A case in point is the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. See their latest petition against the NAEYC position statement.
Like I always urge people who are apprehensive of change and new things: instead of fearing technology, let’s embrace it. Don’t look at it as necessarily replacing how we used to do things, but treat it as a supplement. Sure, there may be inherent ‘evils’ in things that are new, but instead of throwing out the whole thing, let’s use our discretion to reap the benefits while minimizing the negative elements.
KL Wong is the Founder and CEO of BrillKids, and also father of Felicity, aged 5. He can be contacted at KL(at)brillkids(dot)com.