When is it safe to let kids use gadgets?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 13 2015 11:46 PM

MANILA - Experts said too much gadget use has both physical and emotional effects to children.

In an interview on DZMM, Tanya Franco-Velasco, a family life and child development expert, said children below the age of two should not be allowed to use gadgets.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics, they discourage media use as young as below two years old. Kasi what you always see is, kapag kumakain ka sa labas, mga baby naka-iPad 'di ba? Sa restaurants or nasa kotse, naghihintay. Below two years old, it's really discouraged," she said.

She added that those between the ages of two and five should only be allowed to use gadgets for 30 minutes.

"'Pag beyond two years old, we actually limit it to less than 30 minutes. 'Pag two to five years old po," Velasco said.

She further explained that instead of letting young children use gadgets, parents should interact with their children.

"Depende po talaga sa age ng bata 'yun. Base po sa mga research, 'pag below two years old, dini-discourage po talaga ang paggamit ng technology kasi ang pinaka-importante po sa age na 'yun ay kausapin mo 'yung bata. Let the child entertain herself using real interactions," Velasco said.

According to Velasco, excessive use of new media, or gadgets, can have both physical and emotional effects to children.

"Meron po talagang epekto ang paggamit ng too much, or excessive use of gadgets to the… sa health po ng bata. In terms of health consequences, ang effect po sa paningin ng bata, 'di ba masyado po 'yung ilaw na nae-expose sila 'pag sa gadgets. Tapos sa kamay din po, hindi po nade-develop ang fine motor skills nila," she said, adding that some children find it hard to use pencils and other writing instruments because they are used to using touch screen gadgets.

She also said some children tend to have shorter attention span due to excessive gadget use.

"Pero ang pinakanakaka-bother po more than the physical is 'yung socio-emotional, or 'yung epekto sa character ng bata. Marami na po kaming mga estudyante na madali pong ma-bore, o madaling mainip. 'Yung attention po, 'yun po talaga 'yung alarming," Velasco said.

For Velasco, it is important for parents to limit gadget use for younger children, especially since they will eventually get more time to use gadgets as they grow older.

"Kailangan po, may limit talaga. Depende po talaga sa age ng bata. Of course, habang tumatanda, sinasabi po ng research na, habang tumatanda po 'yung bata, mas lumalaki po 'yung opportunity niya na gumamit po ng media o screen media. Kailangan po tanggapin natin 'yan," she said, noting that parents can devise a family media use plan to monitor their children's media use.