Nowadays, there are so many apps you can get on your phone for preschoolers and young kids. Some parents use these apps to keep their child quiet, other parents balk at the idea of their children getting sucked into the tech-addicted era so early. Personally, I let my 4-year-old son play with my phone only as a reward or if I’m at the bank. Here are some pros and cons to consider before letting your child play with your phone apps.
PRO: Apps can potentially help develop young minds. Studies have shown that most of the stuff we learn while we’re very young is not well retained. It’s important to learn how to learn, how to arrive at answers and figure things out. There are some really well-designed apps that can support that learning process.
CON: The thought of handing over their connection to the world terrifies a lot of parents. Sometimes we baby our phones more than we baby our babies. When my son was younger, he decided to give my phone a bath. It was a sad day for me. I suggest putting a lock and password on just about everything you don’t want deleted or changed. This can be very difficult and time consuming on a lot of phones. So just consider what your child may do with your precious gadget in his or her hands.
PRO: Apps are very cheap. A lot of them are free and most are under $3. Consider that the next time your child whines that they want a new toy. Downloading a new app on your phone will probably keep them more occupied for longer, and it’s cheaper.
CON: An app you’re considering may be labeled “educational,” but don’t take that so much to heart. Parents are all about having little geniuses, but just remember that most of the “educational” apps are going to be things that you could very easily do one-on-one with your child. And always make sure the app is in your child’s age range because if not, your child could find it too difficult and get very frustrated.
PRO: If you need your child to sit quietly and occupy themselves, letting them play with your phone will work. The transformation is honestly magical.
CON: Kids will get hooked on playing with your phone, which is unhealthy. If your child becomes addicted to playing on your phone, this means that they can get stuck in a virtual world. They may not be as interested in real-world play and that is critical for development.
PRO: There are a lot of phone apps that are great at teaching your kids basic knowledge. There are apps that make animal noises with pictures so that your child can connect the animal with how it sounds, like a See n’ Say. It’s the same concept, but your phone is a lot easier to carry around.
CON: Your child probably won’t want to give you the phone back. Good luck receiving your calls, texts, and emails. Your kid will ignore them and he or she will not tell you that you received anything. If you’re waiting on an important call or something, I suggest you don’t hand your phone over to sticky-fingers.