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Today we are going to talk about a topic that is a common concern for today’s parents: How should children interact with technology? What standards should we as parents set for them? What are the risks?

This is a complex subject, which has many nuances, so I am going to try to offer a small general approach, about which you can then ask me in the comments if you are interested in knowing more.

Use of technology according to age

The risks that new technologies pose to children are many, and differ according to age. For very young children,  screen use may have effects on psychological development , for example in their attentional capacity (since they get used to continuous stimuli that diminish their capacity), in their capacity for self-control (because they do not learn to manage frustration), etc. For all these reasons, the WHO (World Health Organization) published this year a guide in which they recommend that children  Por todo ello, la OMS (Organización Mundial de la Salud) ha publicado este año una guía en la que recomienda que los niños less time is preferable. This means no television, mobiles, tablets…

However, we live in an age where screens are ubiquitous. Even if we as parents want to impose this discipline, it is difficult for them not to have access to these technologies around them. But in any case, the important thing is to reduce exposure as much as possible.

According to WHO, children should never be exposed to screens. children under two years of age, and no more than one hour a day for children between 2 and 4 years of age.

Educating young children to use screens

As they get older, they will need to be introduced to the screens, guiding them to teach them how to use them.  It is important not to use screens as a “babysitter”.” , i.e. not to use them when the children are nervous, when we want them to eat, sleep, etc. Children have to learn to manage their emotional states on their own, and for this they need to experience these emotional states and acquire the tools to regulate them, which they will learn from their parents. Las pantallas sirven como parche, pero interrumpen la adquisición de esas herramientas tan importantes para el futuro desarrollo.

On the other hand, children and adolescents are like exaggerated mirrors of what they see us doing, so if we want our children to acquire self-control in their use of screens and reduce it,  we must also reduce the use we make of our products in front of them. .

It is important not to use the screens as a “babysitter”, i.e. not to use them when children are nervous, when we want them to eat, sleep, etc.

Risks in adolescents

As they grow older and approach adolescence, other risks appear, such as the possibility of overexposure on social networks, without being aware of the dangers, or cyber bullying. It is true that parental control programs can be applied to our children’s cell phones, but it is easy for them to learn how to neutralize them. Therefore, it is important that they learn to use cell phones and computers in a positive way before they reach this age.

Technology opportunities for children

It must also be said that the new technologies not only generate risks, but also  also offer new ways of learning , or to play in creative ways. They offer the possibility of getting in touch with other people, perhaps cousins who live in another city, and can allow us to spend quality time with our children, sharing things that interest us both.

Therefore, the important thing is to teach our children to use technology in a healthy way. In this sense, do not be afraid to establish rules, children need limits, and they need you to set them. Don’t use screens as a substitute for conversations and difficult moments with children; both they and your relationship with them need those conversations. Mark spaces and times free of screens (perhaps lunches, dinners, trips, etc.), both for them and for you. And accompany them in the use of technologies at the beginning, show them how they can use them to connect, call together, teach them how to use them to play, draw, learn, etc., and talk to them about the dangers they can bring, always leaving space for them to ask you questions.

Gabriela Sosa

Gabriela Sosa

Soy psicologa sanitaria. Me gusta ayudar a los jóvenes; por eso trabajo con niños y adolescentes en riesgo de exclusión social. Para ayudarles a saber cuáles son sus metas mientras les acompaño en el apasionante camino de la vida.

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