PARENT PICKLES: The benefits of media for kids
THERE'S much debate and discussion about the impact of media on children, and in a previous column we looked at the danger of too much technology - specifically too much screen time.
While there's an issue with too much screen time, you can also use media as a positive influence on your child.
In our modern world there's an increasing amount of media confronting your child each day.
They'll continue to be surrounded by it as they grow older and it's important to help them make good choices.
MEDIA AROUND BABIES AND INFANTS
For younger children media can be used to help them stay connected with loved ones.
Maybe their grandparents live far away? A parent is on a business trip? It can be great to use video chat to give them quality time together.
That said, if the child is under 18 months age it's advisable to limit their screen time to only these video chats with loved ones.
Even between the ages of 18 months and 2, any use of media should always be accompanied by an adult.
HOW CAN MEDIA HELP THEIR DEVELOPMENT
There are plenty of TV programs, YouTube videos and computer/mobile apps that can help your child with the literacy, numeracy and social skills.
Some obvious examples of TV programs are shows such as Sesame Street or Playschool, but there are also newer shows such as Yo Gabba Gabba that help with social skill development.
Do your research when it comes to YouTube clips, mobile apps or computer games, and ask whether they will help your child develop? Is it helping them with letters or numbers? Is it teaching good social behaviour?
AS YOUR CHILD GETS OLDER
As your child grows older, there are more opportunities to use media to benefit your child for intellectual, educational, social and creative benefits.
For example, you could try to have your child watch television shows based on books and, if they like the show, encourage them to read the book.
A range of computer games can help your child develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, while other games can help them practise social skills such as taking turns and co-operation.
A great example of how media can help with creative skills is a YouTube channel run by a father and daughter on How to Draw My Little Pony and other fictional characters.
This not only teaches you how to draw, but is an activity you can join in with your child.
JUST REMEMBER NOT TOO MUCH
It's important not to give your child too much screen time.
You want to be playing with other children in person and outside getting fresh air.
It's also important that you bond with your child away from the computer screen.
So make sure you balance their screen time with plenty of non-screen time.
Next week we will look further into the topic of media, looking specifically at teenagers.
HELP AT HAND
Our WBHHS child health team is available to support local families with any child health issues that they may be having. You can visit the team at the Margaret Rose Centre, 312 Bourbong St, Bundaberg; The Village 34 Torquay Rd, Hervey Bay or the Bauer-Wiles Building 167 Neptune St, Maryborough.
Alternatively, call your local WBHHS child health team on:
- Bundaberg - 4150 2700
- Fraser Coast - 4122 8733
- Childers - 4192 1133
- Gin Gin - 4157 2222
- Gayndah - 4161 3571
- Mundubbera - 4161 3571
- Monto - 4166 9300
- Biggenden - 4127 6400
- Eidsvold - 4165 7100
Even if you just want to have a chat and a bit of reassurance, the WBHHS child health team is here to help!