TODDLERS' NATURE, NURTURE AND THEIR ENGAGEMENT WITH SMART PHONES AND TABLETS

Grace L. Nneoma Egbuonu, Yang Yingxiu

Abstract


Children who are twenty-four months or less may be self-regulating when it comes to their engagement with digital devices because of their naturally short attention span. From a six-month observation of two children with parents who hold opposing views to early technology exposure (nurturing practices), in their digital and non-digital engagements, the researcher reveals that concerns about exposure of children below 18 months to digital devices needs to be given some more consideration in research. This observation was born out of an interest to find out plausible reasons for the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation that children below 18 months be prevented from exposure to all forms of screen media apart from participating in video calls (AAP, 2016). The study employed the qualitative research methods of observation and interviews since the aim of the study was to make meaning of AAP’s recommendation from a natural and real-life environment in a microsystem where technology was readily available to these toddlers. Data from the study revealed that children at this age are naturally interested in exploring their environments regardless of nature, nurture and technology. They always longed-for opportunities to go out, engage in activities and interact with people or just admire nature and marvel at their ability to identify objects and materials in their environment. Parents’ perspective on digital exposure was revealed as a moderating factor in the toddlers’ use of technology. Though, temperament and attention span seemed to play noticeable roles in their level of interaction with people and objects involving digital or non-digital engagements. Alad loved to watch children’s programs on smart phones. Ghan on the other hand was always quick to grab the phones or iPads and go for the nearest garbage bins with a wide grin on his face. This action by the Ghan could be interpreted to mean that he wanted to eliminate all distractions, and have you focus on him while he engaged in non-digital play. A form of digital play that he favored was dancing while music played from the digital devices. Though he did not like this activity to be prolonged.

 

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toddlers, nature, nurture, engagement, digital devices

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References


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