The team at building toy company Click-A-Brick heartily agrees with tips offered by blogger, former primary teacher and children’s learning expert Lisa Bradburn about how to limit children’s time spent with technological gadgets to avoid having them become dependent on them for their entertainment.
Kids who spend too much time in front of screens grow up with little to no imagination or sense of reality outside of video games and fantasy worlds, Bradburn says in a blog post on her site The Toy Hunter.
She recommends taking the following steps to ensure children don’t spend too much time interacting with electronic devices as they grow and develop:
Don’t allow a child under the age of two to engage with any tech devices at all.
Allow a maximum of one hour to be spent on tech devices for children under 12.
Make sure children do not interact with tech devices for at least an hour prior to bedtime and tell children bedtime stories.
Do not allow any family member to bring a tech device to the dinner table during mealtimes.
Find alternative activities for children that reward their progress, encourage problem solving, tell stories and encourage teamwork.
“Some computer games require coordination and dexterity,” Bradburn said in her post. “In our day, we exercised these skills in maze puzzles, jack straws and marbles. These games are still available and there are modern day equivalents, too.”
Co-Founders of Click-A-Brick Jason Smith and Georg de Gorostiza say they agree with Bradburn and also the American Academy of Pediatrics and several other organizations that recommend limiting children’s time spent with technological devices in favor of having them play with non-tech related games and toys instead. The entrepreneurs say it’s important for children to learn how to use their own imaginations and classic toys like building blocks do just that.
“It’s tempting nowadays for parents to simply hand their children their phone or tablet to keep them occupied without really thinking about how it will affect their children in the long run,” Smith said. “But, kids are learning at such a rapid pace when they’re young, if they’re introduced to tech gadgets too early, it’s going to affect the way they interact with the world, often in a negative way. I remember seeing a video a few years ago of a toddler and someone hands her a magazine. She tries to swipe the magazine as if it’s a tablet and when it doesn’t react the way a tablet does, she tosses it aside. That’s indicative of how technology influences children’s brains. That little girl already knew how a tablet operates, before she even knew how to open a magazine to look inside. She had no interest in exploring the magazine because the tech gadget already showed her how anything tablet-shaped ‘should’ work.”
In keeping with Bradburn’s recommendation to introduce children to classic toys that will stimulate them on par with video and computer games, Smith and de Gorostiza recommend the Click-A-Brick 30-piece Feather Friends set as a good beginner’s set to introduce young children to building toys. The recently announced 30-piece Dino Pals and Mini Machines sets, along with the 30-piece Animal Kingdom Safari set would also be ideal for young children while the 100-piece Mighty Machines and Army Defenders sets are good for older children.
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