How young is too young to begin introducing your child to technology?

In today’s culture, it is not uncommon to see a two or three year old completely lost in mom or dad’s smart phone. Just last week I witnessed an eighteen month old pick up his granny’s iPad, turn it on and access a game that he wanted to play. The granny was convinced that he wouldn’t even be able to wake the device up, much less operate the slider and then access a specific app. Boy was she surprised.
With the world at our fingertips, literally, how should we, as parents, navigate this wild world of technology when it comes to our children?
Here are a few questions for you to ponder before handing over the latest tech toy to your child:

  1. What technology does my child NEED to have access to?
  2. At what age should I begin introducing my child to technology?
  3. How will you monitor your child’s internet usage?
  4. What technological skills will my child need in order to excel in school and in his future?
  5. Is my child ready to handle the responsibilities that go along with using this device?

Janell Hofmann said it well in her iPhone contract with her 13 year old son, “I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it.” Is that not the desire of every parent? The only way to ensure that we are raising healthy children who are not ruled by technology, but who know how to use it is to be intentional and active in this area of their lives. Just like a toddler does not understand the dangers of walking across the road without looking both ways, your child or teen does not fully understand the dangers that their fancy new smart phone or tablet or gaming device may hold. It is our job as parents to not only point out the danger, but to teach them how to keep themselves safe and to walk with them until they are mature enough to cross the road on their own.

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