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I have a toddler who is a very savvy iPhone and iPad user. Every time he picks up a phone I cringe. I don’t even remember how he learned how to use it but Caleb knows what folder is his, where his apps are and how to use it better than most adults.
Despite what some may think, my husband and I believe it is incredible that at his age he can operate it as well as he does. And, when I mean operate, the boy knows how to find all of the educational apps and videos. He knows his alphabets and knew them out of order well before two years old. He can also count to almost 100 and we take no credit for this.
My husbands plays an interesting game with him. He will say 1 and Caleb will say 2 and he will say 3 and Caleb will say 4. They continue with this to about 80 and Caleb does it effortlessly. I thought nothing of it but one day Caleb’s teacher told my husband that it takes a lot of effort for a child to think in that type of back and forth sequence and Caleb does it without a thought or having to concentrate on it.
Although I am pretty happy with the educational videos that my son is watching, I know what goes in his ear and eye gate during this time of his young life could influence him for the rest of his life. One video could open a door of curiosity way before it’s time for Caleb and we must protect him from that happening.
We had one scare about a year ago. Caleb was on YouTube watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse videos and Nate heard something that didn’t sound right. When he grab the phone, it was Mickey and Minnie in the bed and Mickey was about to take off Minnie’s clothes. Yes! Someone created a video like this, targeted our children and posted it to YouTube. What kind of sick mind is that?
Well, Nate removed YouTube immediately from his iPad and now Caleb only has access to YouTube Kids. He knows the difference but doesn’t even ask for YouTube. We still allow him to look at it on our phones but we are monitoring very closely. We haven’t seen anything like this since.
It is very important to have some sort of monitoring so that you may be able to be fully aware of their actions while they are connected to the Internet or mobile apps. However, for toddlers, I’ve found that it is as simple as placing a few apps they like on the iPad, iPhone or Android. Sorry, we are an Apple household and know very, very little about any other devices.
On iPhone and iPads, you can enable restrictions. You can find it in the Setting app.
I commend people who are able to keep television and gadgets away from their children but it’s just not a reality for us. I work in Digital Marketing and my husband is in business and a writer. Caleb is exposed to all of it but we want to ensure that he is protected from the dangers of it. We also want to take advantage of his savviness and continue to educate him on the digital landscape so that he can use this knowledge to hopefully create a lucrative career for himself if he desires.
I want to hear from you! What safeguards have you put in place to protect your toddler while he or she uses mobile phones and apps?