"Say cheese!" It is a phrase that has been uttered by parents for many years as they have tried to snap pictures of their children. Not so long ago, once a camera's film ran out, pictures were taken to be developed, and a few days later, you would be able to see your pictures. It was a process that was not immediate and involved patience. It is also a process that is foreign to young children today with the evolution of digital pictures and smartphone photography.
Parents snap countless photos of their children with their phones, often on a daily basis. Children know that they can see these photos immediately. While the many pictures available may be appreciated by relatives and family far away, there are other implications that may be surfacing about how toddlers approach the world.
CBS News recently ran a story about the growing influence of digital photography, videos and immediate feedback on toddlers today. Even app companies have come out with products to enable toddlers to take better "selfies" of themselves. The immediate photo or image in some circumstances is creating an instant gratification issue with children wanting feedback in any form right away.
Even though there is a lot of discussion surrounding the potential harmful effects of technology on children at a young age, Dr. Bukstein, DePelchin's medical director, points out that there are a few advantages:
- Using technology from an early age and understanding how to use various forms such as apps, computer programs, etc. increases familiarity with this medium
- Technology can also increase a child’s creativity as they learn to manipulate and think of new ways to interact with the technology device or application provided to them to use
Dr. Bukstein points out that like problems with all forms of technology – including TV – parents have to be cautious about a child’s overinvolvement and obsessive behavior resulting from its use. Particularly for younger children, interactions with the Internet are particularly problematic due to the potential for unsupervised communication with strangers. Children should always be monitored and supervised – even when they are “seemingly” safe at home.