Originally Posted by SuperStar
Actually, I'm still conflicted about letting her on the computer so much (probably around 1 hr. a day, sometimes 2). I'd love to hear other's opinions or experiences with this.
Personally, I'm in favor. Both my kids have been interested in the computer practically from birth, because it plays an important role in the world around them -- dh and I use it to make a living, find information, shop, play music and movies, create images and stories, etc. (In fact, my 9-month-old is drawn to the bright colored light and likes to sit and type -- not bang -- on the keyboard while looking up at the affect produced on the screen.) In keeping with our "continuum" approach to Grace's attempts to join in our projects, we gave her an unplugged keyboard on a mini desk right next to the big one when she was 1yo. At 2yo, she showed an interest in using the mouse, so we gave her some simple clicking games. Before 3yo, she became interested in making the letters on the keyboard appear on the screen. When she found out we were typing emails that said something, she wanted us to tell her the letters to type to make her favorite words. That's how she learned letters; later she learned to write them only because she felt like typing at times when the computer wasn't handy.
Now she uses the computer for many purposes, much as dh and I do, but a lot of the time it is still in conjunction with interacting with a grownup. In any given day, she uses it anywhere from not at all, to longer than the 2 hours you mentioned.
In my mind, the computer is just another tool. It's not an end in itself, and it's not an *alternative* to interacting with real people, reading paper books, making non-digital art, building with real stuff, writing with pens, exploring real natural environments, etc. But as long as a child continues to do all of those other things, I don't see how an hour or two spent at the computer can hurt.
Here are some benefits I see:
- My dd can attach her digital paintings or scanned artwork to an email and get grandma's reply the same day, while she still remembers what she said in the original email.
- She can relate to film in an age-appropriate, super-interactive way, much as she relates to books: freely stopping the movie to point, discuss, replay a particular scene over and over, etc.
- She has amazing access to information, which is especially important in light of the crumminess of our local branch library. For example, recently, when we were discussing cheetahs, dd asked to see a movie of a cheetah running. She knew we'd be able to find that on the web.
If your dd is using the computer exclusively for starfall, then a lot of that doesn't exactly apply...but still you could ask, why does she like it? What is she getting from it that distinguishes it from similar things she could be choosing to do instead?
|I'm leaning towards trying to keep her off of it but I don't want it to turn into the forbidden fruit.
If you don't suggest it, and you subtly steer her toward appealing alternatives, maybe she'll move on to another interest. She probably will anyway, once she's had her fill of ABC's for now.