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iPads add to complexity of the perfect-parenting equation

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 2:37 p.m. MDT

A child tries the iPad in the Apple store in the Lujiazui Financial District in Pudong, Shanghai, China.  (Weng lei) A child tries the iPad in the Apple store in the Lujiazui Financial District in Pudong, Shanghai, China. (Weng lei)

Just a little more than a decade ago, parents only had to worry about the effect electronics were having on their children's minds and social skills if the children were sitting beneath a TV screen in the living room or perched in front of a desktop computer playing Solitaire.

Today, it isn't uncommon to see 3-year-olds using their parents' iPads and iPhones to watch "Dora the Explorer" in the car or color at the grocery store using their fingertips.

Hanna Rosin, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, addressed the growing number of chubby hands holding advanced digital devices and the effect that technology is having in a piece titled "The Touch-Screen Generation" last week.

In a world where more than 40,000 kids' games are available on iTunes and the majority of the top-selling apps in iTune's "Education" category target young children, parents are torn between helping their children become digitally savvy students who reap the educational rewards of apps while avoiding turning their minds to mush.

"... As technology becomes ubiquitous in our lives, American parents are becoming more, not less, wary of what it might be doing to their children. Technological competence and sophistication have not, for parents, translated into comfort and ease. They have merely created yet another sphere that parents feel they have to navigate in exactly the right way," observes Rosin.

Rosin's article looks at the benefits and dangers of different types of games and programs on children of various ages. Based on her research, Rosin came to her own conclusion about media use.

"There are legitimate broader questions about how American children spend their time, but all you can do is keep them in mind as you decide what rules to set down for your own child."

Read Rosin's complete article on The Atlantic.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company