OneSpace Kids coding

Today’s children are surrounded by the rapid development of digital technology. Completely prohibiting children from using electronic devices is nearly impossible. What’s important is for parents to know how to help their children develop optimally in this digital age.

A recent survey in the United States shows that 2 out of 3 infants and 4 out of 5 toddlers watch movies, TV shows, or online videos. About 16% start viewing screens before the age of 3 months, and 50% by the time they are 7 months old. On average, 1 in 5 children watches more than 3 hours a day.

Although there hasn’t been a survey on children’s use of electronic devices in Vietnam, it’s clear that children are starting to use these devices earlier and for longer periods.

1. How Does Screen Addiction ‘Devastate’ Children?

1.1. Language Development

One of the biggest concerns is that screen time can affect children’s language acquisition. Until children are about 2.5 years old, their language development will not benefit solely from watching something on a screen. Research shows that children under 4 who watch more TV hours learn fewer words.

However, children as young as 12 months can learn new words from digital media if their parents watch with them and reinforce the new vocabulary. Infants and toddlers learn to speak by interacting with parents and caregivers, absorbing sounds, words, body language, and eye contact. They also need quiet time to practice and experiment with their own voices.

1.2. Emotional and Social Development

Children learn to socialize through face-to-face connections with parents and others, but digital screens can distract and hinder this connection. Research indicates that when the TV or phone is on, parents are less likely to interact with their children. Other studies show that the more parents focus on their own mobile devices, the less they interact with their kids.

There are also concerns that electronic screens may lead to attention deficits and behavioral problems. Researchers have found that infants and toddlers who watch TV may have more difficulty managing emotions and self-soothing as they grow older.

1.3. Weight Issues

Researchers have linked excessive screen time to obesity in preschool-aged children and older. A recent study found that the Body Mass Index (BMI) of toddlers increases with each hour of screen time per week. For children of all ages, physical activity is crucial as it promotes physical development and encourages healthy habits.

1.4. Sleep Problems

Many studies have found that the more time children spend in front of screens, especially in the evening, the less they sleep. This is true even for infants under 6 months old. This is particularly concerning as young children need ample sleep for development: children aged 6 months and older need 15 hours of sleep per day, and toddlers need up to 14 hours per day.

Parents should not allow any screen time in children’s bedrooms. Even small screens like phones and tablets can reduce the quality of sleep. The light emitted from screens can delay the release of melatonin, making it harder for children to fall asleep. Watching something on a screen before bed can also be stimulating and make it harder for children to sleep soundly.

2. Strategies to Help Children Use Technology Effectively

2.1. Set Time Limits

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, screen time recommendations vary by age:

  • Under 1.5 years: Children should not use screens from devices like phones, TVs, or iPads, even for educational programs or music videos, except for video calls with relatives.
  • 1.5 to 5 years: Screen time across all devices should be under 60 minutes per day. Prioritize educational or skill-developing programs.
  • 6 to 12 years: There is no specific time limit, but activities should promote healthy screen use such as education, skill development, and communication. Aim for at least 5-10 minutes of break after every 20 minutes of screen use.

Parents should regulate what their children watch, choosing age-appropriate educational content to make screen time healthy and skill-building. The ages 3-10 are particularly conducive to developing language, memory, and other skills.

2.2. Spend Quality Time with Children

“When love is measured, it’s not about how many times you do it, but how much love you put into it!” Raising children is similar: it’s not about how many times you spend time with your child, but how much love, creativity, and effort you truly invest in them.

Parents should put down their phones, step away from work, and connect with their child’s interests, transforming screen experiences into real-life activities. By doing this, parents not only reduce screen time but also build childhood memories and create family bonding moments.

2.3. Use Screen Time for Beneficial Activities

Instead of banning electronic devices, parents can guide children to choose educational and valuable apps, games, and online materials. Encourage creative activities like making videos, programming, or graphic design, turning technology into a learning tool. This not only enhances knowledge but also boosts creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills.

3. 1 HOUR OF FUN – An Enriching Technology Experience Program

OneSpace has designed a unique extracurricular program called 1 HOUR OF FUN, a safe and enriching playground for children to explore colorful technology and programming. The 1 Hour Of Fun program uses Gamification, an education method based on game principles. Through learning while playing, children not only absorb new knowledge enthusiastically but also avoid boredom.

In OneSpace programming courses, children can easily apply knowledge to create their own products, develop crucial skills like logical thinking and soft skills through individual and group projects, and master programming and computer science concepts.

OneSpace believes this will be an excellent opportunity for children to learn, create, and develop important 21st-century skills. Join 1 HOUR OF FUN to master technology and prepare for a promising future in the digital world!

Register for the 1 HOUR OF FUN program today!

Explore OneSpace’s internationally standardized technology courses HERE!