Simone is in the studio with some tips from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) for parents who plan on buying electronic devices for their kids.
Do Your Homework. Talk to other parents, friends, neighbors-and do plenty of online research before purchasing a product. Consumer Reports and Common Sense Media offer detailed ratings and recommendations, as do many tech magazines and websites. Consider the types of activities your child will be doing on their device, as well as your own priorities-such as available parental controls.
Get Acquainted With the Device/Product First. Many devices for kids include a wide assortment of parental controls. Take time to familiarize yourself with the device and test out controls yourself before giving it to your child.
Set Ground Rules. The ideal time to make a family technology agreement that covers parameters for when, where, and how devices are to be used is when you give the gift. You may want to cover your approach to passwords (do you want to know the passwords to all their accounts?), as well as how technology should fit into overall daily life (i.e., it should not replace outdoor/physical activity time nor family time).
Think Beyond Time Restrictions. With the exception of very young children, restricting the total amount of time spent on technology is not necessarily always the best approach. The "ideal" time may vary based on the individual child, the types of activities the child engages in while using tech (passive vs. active), and a variety of other factors. Consider other approaches, such as setting up tech-free zones in the home (e.g., dinner table, bedrooms).
Make Time for Co-Viewing/Use. Devices are great at keeping kids occupied while parents get other tasks done. However, it's also easy to over-rely on them. Try to carve out daily time for using technology with your child. Ask them show and explain to you what they're doing online, play a video game with them, or watch what they're viewing on YouTube with them.