Technology and young children

As technology plays a greater role in our children lives, the number of parents concerned about its use is increasing. Parents are worried about the impact that technology has on their children’s social, emotional and physical development.

One negative seen with the over-use of screen time is that it means our children have less time for real life social interactions. We know that children develop communication, social and cognitive abilities through interactions with caregivers. They need face-to-face engagement to learn skills like reading verbal and non-verbal cues, turn taking, empathy and more.


Recent research has found a direct link showing that the more screen time a toddler has, the less social skills they have. Particularly in the areas of relating and interacting with others. As well as helping others and compliance with directions. Furthermore, the higher the amount of screen time, the more disruptive social behaviours (bullying, bossiness and non-compliance) were seen.

It’s important to remember that technology will always play a role in our children’s lives. They will use computers at school and ipads and other equipment in their workplaces. To be able to keep up with the changing technological world is important for our children’s growth and development. However, how do we know when it is becoming too much?!

So what can parents do?

Below are a few tips to ensure that your child has an opportunity to develop socially and emotionally. 

Enforce time limits. Children under 2yrs should have less than half and hour. Preschoolers shouldn’t have more than 1 hour per day and school aged children shouldn’t have more than 1.5 hours.

Be a good role model for your children. Minimise your own screen time as much as possible. Particularly when you are interacting with your children, meals times and bed times.

Talk, interact and play with your child. Engage in child led play (see previous blog post on child-led play), take your children to playgroups or other social events and set aside time each ay for each child. As little as 10 mins with each child has been shown to be beneficial.

When you do use technology, use it together as a family.

Contact Q and A Parenting for more information-

How young is too young for technology?