So will a child who plays with crayons at dinner rather than a coloring application on an iPad be a more socialized person? Ozlem Ayduk, an associate professor in the Relationships and Social Cognition Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, said children sitting at the dinner table with a print book or crayons were not as engaged with the people around them, either. “There are value-based lessons for children to talk to the people during a meal,” she said. “It’s not so much about the iPad versus nonelectronics.”
This is something we struggle with all the time. Our daughter isn’t much interested in the iPad any more (she used to love Garageband) unless you are Facetiming with someone. However, TV, will instantly calm her down — but she typically only watches for 45 seconds at a time before she moves on to playing, glancing back and dancing when ever a song is heard. We still feel guilty every time the TV goes on, or when we give her an iPad to distract her for 10-15 minutes.
It’s a tough call to make for a parent, when all you want to do is the “right” thing for your child, but “we” are not alone. We are dealing iPads, but every generation of parents before us has had something like this they struggled to deal with. Toys, play-pens, bouncers, walkers, and so forth — the problem is not new, but that doesn’t make it easier to solve.