Technology in the Early Childhood Years


 It is very common for parents to ask about policies in early childhood programs relating to technology and technology usage.  When speaking of technology we are encompassing a broad area including television, video games, smartboards, iPads, and social media.  Although some research suggests that some preschoolers are familiarized with digital devices before becoming familiarized with print (Hopkins, Brookes, and Green, 2013), there is no body of scientific evidence proving detrimental long-term effects.  In fact, major changes in the brain resulting from screen time is highly unlikely. (Mills, 2014) Early childhood programs can effectively integrate technology to reinforce fundamental skills, encourage physical movement, and make real world connections.

Unsure about how much screen time is too much for young children?  Check out these guidelines established by the World Health Organization:

0 minutes/day for children younger than 2 years of age

Infants (under 1 year of age)

  • should experience interactive floor-based play
  • 30 minutes of prone time (tummy time) for those not yet mobile
  • 14-17 hours of sleep (0-3 months) or 12-16 hours of sleep (4-11 months)

Children 1-2 years of age

  • 180 minutes of physical activity 
  • 11-14 hours of sleep
  • No greater than 60 minutes of sedentary time (including stroller rides or sitting)
  • No screen time for one year olds
  • Less than an hour of screen time for two year olds


60 minutes or less for children ages 3-4 years of age

Children ages 3-4 years of age

  • 180 minutes of physical activity
  • 10-13 hours of sleep
  • Less than an hour of sedentary time
  • No greater than one hour of screen time   


In conclusion, follow the ancient adage:  “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”   Providing stimulating and engaging opportunities throughout the course of day promotes these healthy habits.  By doing so, children will not request nor miss screen time. The easiest way to achieve this… lead by example.  Turn off your cell phone and computer and read a book, play a game, or exercise.  The gain to all is well worth it!

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