Watch Out, Baby!

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I both work and we have our 2-year old daughter in a lovely home daycare. We really like the provider—she makes organic food for all the kids she takes care of, and does a lot of fun activities with them. But we recently found out that she also has the kids in front of the TV or playing video games for several hours every day. It’s so hard to find good-quality, affordable childcare these days, plus our baby really loves her caregiver. How bad is it for toddlers to watch a little TV?

A: Unfortunately, the whole issue of babies and TV is far from being black and white. The official position of the American Academy of Pediatrics is that kids under two should have as close to zero time in front of screens as possible, and kids older than two should limit screen entertainment to an hour or two per day (not including time on computers that are being used for homework, of course). The point is that children should spend a lot more of their time interacting with other people than with electronics.

In an ideal world—where most of us don’t happen to live—that’s definitely the right approach. But we all have situations that call for a little rule bending, and an hour of TV while you’re taking a shower or making a phone call probably won’t cause any long-term damage. And neither will the parental magic trick most of us perform when trying to tame loud or restless kids: pulling out the tablet or smartphone and putting it gently into those little hands.
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Toddlers on Technology + Raise the Child You’ve Got


Patti Wollman Summers, co-author of Toddlers on Technology.
Topic:
Helping parents grab the reins of their digitod’s digital technology.
Issues: Secrets to managing touchscreens in a toddler’s life; choosing apps in tandem with your child’s learning style; creating balance between screen time and real-life activities; the latest research on the effects of screen time on young children’s brains.


Nancy Rose, author of Raise the Child You’ve Got, Not the One You Want.
Topic:
Why everyone thrives when parents lead with acceptance
Issues: Understanding and accepting your child’s core traits; What you can and can’t change about your child; the power of acceptance; building a healthy parent-child connection; raising your children to be the best, happiest selves.

Learning with Your Kids? There’s an App for That

As fun—and educational—as iPads can be, when it comes to parents playing learning games with their children (as opposed to kids playing by themselves and turning into zombies), there really isn’t an app for that. Until now. TigerFace Games has developed a number of learning apps that allow parents and children to either compete or [...]

The ONLY Pregnancy App for Dads–”Mr. Dad on Pregnancy”

mrdad on pregnancy -- the ONLY app for expectant fathers

mrdad on pregnancy -- the ONLY app for expectant fathersWell, after a few delays and tech hiccups, my new app, “Mr. Dad on Pregnancy” (based on my bestselling book, The Expectant Father), is out. It’s engaging, informative, and a lot of fun. Plus, it’s the only app out there specifically aimed at dads (and those who love them).

I’d love to get feedback from all you dads and moms. Your reviews and recommendations would mean a lot too.

You can download Mr. Dad on Pregnancy here. goo.gl/bBR6v   If you’re interested in reviewing the advanced versions, I’ll be delighted to reimburse the full purchase price.

Finally, we’d like to do a Spanish language version of the app. If you know of a good translator, please let me know.

Parental responsibility? Apparently there isn’t an app for that either.

I guess it had to happen sooner or later. A group of parents who can’t seem to take responsibility for their own behavior is suing Apple, alleging that iPhone and iPad apps are too addictive. According to court documents, Apples games are: “Highly addictive, designed deliberately to be so, and tend to compel children playing them to purchase large quantities of game currency, amounting to as much as $100 per purchase or more.”

Excuse me? Highly addictive? Compel children to purchase? Who owns the iPhone or iPad? Actually, a better question is who’s paying the bill? I hate to sound harsh, but if you authorize your child to make charges to your iTunes account–which is the way the vast majority of apps and their associated charges get billed–you’re on your own. What ever happened to just saying, “No”?

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Privacy? Sorry, there’s no app for that

Think about all the apps you have on your phone, iPad, and anything else. And have you ever looked at—I mean really looked at—the privacy policy for those apps? Well, if you did, you’re certainly in the minority. I don’t think I’ve ever read the fine print (or any of the print at all) on most privacy policies. I just check the box and move on. After all, what harm could come of it?  [Read more...]