Georgia Balestri’s blog Ninnanannaninnao.com came about two years ago after the birth of her daughter. We speak to her and her partner adelaide to find out if technology is a source for peace or conflict in her household!
By what age was your child using tablets and smartphones?
G: My eldest child started to use the tablet last spring, she is now nearly two years old. I wasn’t too keen that my husband had given it to her. I eventually changed my mind, because we were only using it in moderation. It became a great solution for rainy days or when it was too hot to go out. In general, we like to spend time at the park with other parents and children but the tablet is a great reserve to have for emergencies, especially at this age.
How can you use technology to entertain children without losing control?
A: Having rules is critical, it’s ok to spend some time with on a tablet, but not all day and when Mum or Dad says enough, it’s enough! It doesn’t mean that it’s always easy but we are convinced that our determination to say ‘no’ will be beneficial in the long run. For browsing we make sure that a filter is applied, so there is no danger of her watching movies or video content.
Experts argue that the benefits of smartphones and other digital devices are greater than the risks. What do you think about this?
A: I think that as with everything there are pros and cons for tablets, smartphones or any digital device. It’s up to us as parents to evaluate what is best for our children. A poll this year reported that in Australia, 68% of children aged between 3 and 17 years old spend an average 21 hours a week fiddling with smartphones, tablets and computers. That’s almost one full day a week that is spent on apps, games, videos and messages. According to some educators, young children are excellent at using tablets but seem to struggle socially and are very shy.
G: No, I do not agree with Adelaide or at least it was not the case with our daughter. She uses the tablet frequently but is also smart, intelligent, she likes to socialise with older children and knows how to count and say vowels. Maybe it’s just a matter of character or the quality time we spend together.
How does your child use digital services, do they prefer to read or watch?
A: She loves to watch cartoons in their original language, which is a great opportunity to be exposed to other languages. English, French and Russian, learning has never been so fun! She also loves to dance to the tune of nursery rhymes and songs suitable for her age.