Technology Tools and Interactive Media
During the earliest years, infants and toddlers interact primarily with people. Their interactions with toys are usually in the context of human interaction as well. They need to freely explore, manipulate, and test everything in the environment. Increasingly in today’s world, this includes the exploration of technology tools and interactive media. Children of this age are drawn to push-button switches and controls. Technology tools that infants and toddlers might use must be safe, sturdy, and not easily damaged. If technology is used, it must be in the context of conversation and interactions with an adult.
- Allow children to explore digital materials in the context of human interactions, with an adult as mediator and co-player. As with shared book reading, use shared technology time as an opportunity to talk with children, use new vocabulary, and model appropriate use.
- Avoid passive screen time. While some parents may claim that baby videos calm an otherwise fussy child, there is little research to suggest that infants and toddlers learn from watching videos. If infants are distressed, they need the comfort of a caring adult, not an electronic toy.
- Use technology as an active and engaging tool when appropriate to provide infants and toddlers with access to images of their families and friends, animals and objects in the environment, and a wide range of diverse images of people and things they might not otherwise encounter (photos of children from other countries, for example).
- Incorporate assistive technologies as appropriate for children with special needs and/or developmental delays.
- Make digital audio or video files to document children’s progress.