Early Intervention: Technology Use and the Developing Child

Decades of research show us that early intervention for infants, toddlers and young school age children with developmental delays or disabilities positively impacts outcomes across many developmental domains. But what do we know about early intervention in relation to the impact of technology use and the developing child?

Parents trying to find balance for their young child and technology, might be asking themselves questions like these:

*Technology is not a drug so why is my young child becoming addicted?

*How is technology affecting my young child’s brain development, communication skills, attention span, or overall mental and physical health?

*Is screen time interfering with my young child’s basic functions in healthy child development such as sleep, healthy eating habits, important parent-child interactions and signs of recognition and understanding such as eye contact, smiles and other forms of facial expression?

*If my young child doesn’t understand when technology is trying to lure them in, should devices and apps be banned for children under a certain age?

Parents seeking to understand how they can use early intervention strategies in finding balance with technology use and their developing child might consider the following:

*Spending quality time with your young child offline is the first step toward early intervention and cultivating a healthy balance between technology and every day life.

*Use verbal praise, positive conversation, or hugs as rewards for good behavior instead of screen time will result in helping a young child regulate their own emotions.

*Be aware of the addictive nature of technology designs.  Companies need to be held accountable and encouraged to change the designs of their technology devices and apps to make them less addictive to all ages.

*Become the family or neighborhood expert on how technology addiction affects the young brain and how early intervention and finding a healthy balance can positively impact young children.

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