(WSJ) What Happens When Toddlers Zone Out With an iPad

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Many apps for kids are designed to stimulate dopamine releases—hence encouraging a child to keep playing—by offering rewards or exciting visuals at unpredictable times.

My wife and I stopped letting our son use the iPad. Now he rarely asks for it. He is 4 and his friends aren't talking about cool iPad games, so he doesn't feel he's missing out.

The experts interviewed were mixed on whether we did the right thing. About half say they would have taken away the iPad if their kid exhibited similar behavior—asking for it constantly, whining. The rest say we overreacted.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenEducationMarriage & FamilyPsychologyScience & Technology

6 Comments
Posted May 22, 2012 at 11:15 am

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1. Joshua 24:15 wrote:

I don’t think they overreacted at all.  Their son was demonstrating dependency behavior. 

My wife is a speech therapist, and can cite numerous studies that show kids have poorer reading comprehension and attentiveness when exposed to constantly-changing A-V inputs from an early age (think computers and TV).  And, there may be negative impacts on their ability to sociably interact with others. 

Perhaps the iPad is different.  Perhaps not.  We have made Generation Y a huge laboratory experiment on the effects of being “wired,” and I’m not at all convinced that they’ve benefited from it, on balance.  Our 5-year-old daughter has been on a near-total computer- and TV-free diet since birth, and my early observations, as well as those of her teachers, is that she hasn’t been hurt by it—rather, she has a tremendous imagination, loves books and reading,  possesses an inquiring mind, and is VERY sociable.  And, she can still figure out how our computer works just fine, thank you.

May 22, 12:53 pm | [comment link]
2. Henry Greville wrote:

Printing presses, steam engines, railroads, telegraphy, telephony, light bulbs, typewriters, radio, television, hand-held adding machines, personal computers, the Internet, etc. have all changed the way people experience the world and think. The human heart, however, remains the same great concern and great marvel, spiritually speaking, as ever.

May 22, 1:24 pm | [comment link]
3. SC blu cat lady wrote:

#1. I tend to agree with you. My college students look at me as if I am crazy when I tell them to imagine something.  They seem to have very little ability to create a picture in their head - it has to be given to them and don’t change a detail other wise they won’t get it. Sigh.

May 22, 5:45 pm | [comment link]
4. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

And they wonder why so many kids have ADD and ADHD these days.

May 22, 6:34 pm | [comment link]
5. Dan Crawford wrote:

What in heaven’s name is a 4 yr old doing with an iPad in the first place?

May 23, 12:12 pm | [comment link]
6. Second Citizen wrote:

Some years ago I read a science fiction novel (and, no, I can’t remember the title) where the hero was a former cop who had dependency issues…he’d been a ‘wirehead’, had a socket installed so he could plug in stimulus directly to his brain’s pleasure center. In the course of the plot he declined to personalize (by naming) his PDA (personal digital assistant) and only solved the crime because he was not dependent on it…and those who were dependent were manipulated by their PDAs that were all tied into a central computer somewhere. Sounds like ‘smart phones’ to me. iPads can be similar.

May 24, 11:59 am | [comment link]


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