Tag: ipad



As technology rapidly infiltrates our lives, many believe we are in danger of raising a generation of overweight and unmotivated children who have no concept of how to play creatively.
According to mother of three, Teresa Johnson, the overuse of technology is already affecting many children’s ability to socially interact with their peers.
“You have to wonder what is wrong when you organise a play date and kids as young as 2 yrs old refuse to play with your children because they would rather play Xbox or their iPad,” she says. “I don’t see a problem with older children using technology in moderation, but some of the kids I have seen are not even toilet trained, yet they know how to search YouTube and show little interest in normal kid’s games such as ‘hide and seek’ or ‘tiggy’.”
On the other hand, Jacinta Riley is proud of the fact that her 3-year-old daughter is already computer literate.
“Provided you monitor their usage and have all the appropriate safety software in place there’s really no reason to hold them back,” she says.
“There’s no avoiding it these days, so it’s important to be educated as a parent, so you can foresee any possible dangers.”
And in terms of using electronic devices to keep children occupied, Jacinta believes it’s no different from handing them a colouring book and pencils. “There are times when it’s simply unavoidable,” she says. “I’d much rather give my child an iPad for half an hour than suffer the consequences. It’s not only disruptive to me, it also inconveniences other people when children are constantly whinging and throwing tantrums around them.”
In addition to the social implications, perhaps the most important factor to consider when introducing a child to technology is safety. Not only do we as parents need to consider the exposure to inappropriate imagery, we also need to be aware that the earlier a child becomes accustomed to social media the sooner they are potentially at risk of anti-social behaviour such as cyber bullying.


Now with recent surveys revealing that Australian children are amongst the youngest and most prolific internet users in the world, It’s more important than ever to be well informed.
According to recent study, AUkids Online, the average Australian child starts using the internet at just 8 years of age – making them amongst the youngest in the 26-nation survey.
In addition to this, a report released by Senator Stephen Conroy titled ‘Tweens, Teens and Technology Report’, revealed that children are adopting technology much faster than expected. In fact, 67% of tweens (children ages 8 to 12) currently use a social media site while more alarmingly, 13% have admitted being “friends” with people they don’t actually know online.
Like everything in life, technology requires balance. While it’s important for children to be educated and entertained – there has to be limits. We also need to ensure that in our quest for a minute’s peace, we aren’t depriving them of the opportunity to learn those old fashioned virtues such as courtesy, patience and self-reliance.
For more information on the “Tweens, Teens and Technology Report” visit: www.mcafeecybered.com/cybered


The average Australian child is spending 11.5 hours online each week, according to the latest Neilson survey. This amount has increased three-fold since 2007 and there are no signs of slowing down. Teens aged 13 to 15 spend an average of 18.7 hours each week online, which is equivalent to more than three days at school.

And while some of this time may be spent researching for school papers, there is no doubt that online gaming and social media come into play as well.

Are Our Children Too Connected?

A study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 69 per cent of children went online to play games while 48 per cent of children aged 12 to 14 spend time each week on social media sites.

Mobile internet growth among young mobile users has grown by 600 per cent since 2007. And 81 per cent of kids and teens are hoping online after school but before 6pm.

Family Time Vs. Facebook Time

What this means is that more and more families around Australia are choosing to connect to their screens rather than each other.

“As screens become more and more universal we are starting to reflect on how technology is influencing relationships with our children and partners,” Ms Laura Demasi, Research Director at Ipsos Australia says.

“Personal screens and shared screens, such as televisions, are completely different. There is no social interaction with personal screens. And this is the concern.”

With the rise in fear of Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) a term being use to explain the impact technology is having on children’s development and temperament, it is clear that cutting back on our online addiction is something all families need to consider.

However, DeMasi adds, “Despite these concerns about technology, Australians are still hugely enthusiastic about electronic devices and definitely not about to give up their screens.”

Personal electronic devices, such as smart phone and tablets continue to be among our most used appliances (75 per cent) across all age demographics. But, unsurprisingly, it’s not just our kids who are addicted to the internet.

Anti-Social Media Among Adults

Parents are just as bad with online addiction, claims, Pew Research Center as more and more parents are turning to social media for parenting-related information and social support.

The most common form of social media for parents is Facebook, with 75 per cent of parents actively participating in liking, sharing and commenting.

28 per cent of parents use Pinterest; 25 per cent use Instagram and 27 per cent use LinkedIn. Twitter ranks as the fifth most popular form of social media with 23 per cent of online parents using it.

Of course, many parents, myself included, are guilty of using all five (and often all in the same day).

The Communication Gap

Despite the fact that social media brings people from around the world together, it also have the opposite effect for those living in the same household. The Pew Research Center discovered that 25 per cent of married adults have text their partner when they were both home together, rather than simply walking ten meters to speak to them.

And 9 per cent of adults in a committed relationship even admit that they have resolved an argument with their partner online or via text message rather than speaking face to face about their concerns.

Cutting Back on Your Connection

Origin’s Energy Expert, Anne Armansin, says while technology will forever play a role in Australians’ lives, everyone could make some simple changes to the way they use it to ensure quality family time doesn’t suffer as a result of being too plugged in.

“Parents should try to set some house rules for the amount of time their children spend using a device, and help them understand why this is important.”

“There are also several apps out there that can help people realise how much time they’re spending on specific devices, and allow them to unplug from your device for a nominated period of time.”

Plugged In But No Longer Present

Social media networks and online interactions are host to a wide range of human experiences; they help connect people with one another in both good times and bad. But there is no denying that they can lead to online addiction.

The bottom line, DeMasi says, is “the more time we spend on our screens, the less time we interact with each other.”

There have been several times when I have looked up from my phone and caught my husband on his phone, and my children on their iPads. Sure, we are all in the same room. Sure, we are enjoying one another’s company. But, the scary reality is that, while we are together, we are spending this time alone.

Try and disconnect every now and again and reconnecting with each other through fun activities.


Research into the effect of excessive screen time on oral language development and later schooling success is still in its infancy, but the more a child is engaged with technology, the less they are interacting with humans.

This results in fewer opportunities for children to listen to and engage in conversations which are fundamental in learning to speak and communicate effectively. These early interactions provide children with the opportunity to build their vocabularies, understand social rules of language such as turn taking and asking questions as well as understanding body language and facial expressions.

Health authorities have become concerned with the boom in the use of technology by young children. It is feared that there will be serious knock-on effects in the areas of education and health which has prompted the Australian Department of Health to issue guidelines regarding screen time for children aged under five years.

The guidelines are:

  • Children younger than two years of age should not spend any time watching television or using other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games).
  • For children two to five years of age, sitting and watching television and the use of other electronic media (DVDs, computer and other electronic games) should be limited to less than one hour per day.
  • Infants, toddlers and preschoolers (all children birth to five years) should not be sedentary, restrained, or kept inactive, for more than one hour at a time, with the exception of sleeping.

Between two and five years of age, children are like sponges. They soak up all the oral language input and learning new words (sometimes words we wish they didn’t learn) at an incredible rate.

At two years of age, children should have a vocabulary of 50 words and we should begin to see them combining two words together to get their needs met and to express themselves such as “more milk” or “Daddy home”. In order for this development to occur adults need to spend time engaging with their children in play, book reading and conversation to model how communication works.

Linking oral language skills and reading and writing

It is heavily documented in the literature that there are strong links between oral language skills and a child’s ability to read and write. In fact, a recent study has indicated we can predict how good a child can read and spell at 11 years of age based on their oral language skills at age two.
With all that being said, technology is here to stay and there are some very real benefits of using technology to supplement children’s language and literacy development.

Obviously, reduced screen time and more time interacting with your child will prove most beneficial in developing their communication skills. However, the following strategies can be utilised to enhance your child’s oral language when they are engaging with technology:

  • Introduce new words around the game they are engaged in.
  • Expand on their utterances. For example if they are playing a game about animals and they say ‘dog barking’, you can expand on that and say ‘Yes. The dog is barking at the boy’.
  • Have your child predict what will happen next.
  • Pause their game and ask them to retell what has just happened.