Recommendations to the parents

Our children working on QA of interactive children's books & apps for EduCatThe market of tablet devices and mobile applications has being developing rapidly. Even now, Appstore and AndroidMarket have a lot if interactive books, games and educative application for children, and lots of them are for the smallest kids. Most children play with tablets with a lot of pleasure. However, many parents are wary of such leisure of their kids. And their fears have reasons. Really, the child’s mentality is flexible and fragile while the unreflecting use of a tablet and unlimited access to mobile games may cause problems in family relations and even make harm to the child’s health. We are parents ourselves, and, of course, we are interested in safety of our kids and our little readers. That is why we elaborated a number of guidelines to make the communication of children with interactive books useful and amusing.

Dear parents, please read the text below thoughtfully. Please do not be careless, remember that your children are the most precious treasure that you have.

1. Time of communicating with a tablet

Problem. Children take any communication with a tablet, either watching cartoons or education, as an entertainment in the first place. That is why they are ready to spend a lot of time with this gadget. One would think that it is very convenient to the parents because they can give a tablet to their child and deal with their own matters. But this approach is very dangerous. Even the most positive and useful applications overload the child’s mentality and visual organs. Long computer games may cause visual impairment and postural disorders. If you allow your kid play with a table for too long, a moment will come when you’ll see him or her nervous, irritable and distracted. Besides, you should not forget that game addiction is a disease, the scourge of our times. Children being very young do not have enough self-control that is why they are in the main risk zone.

Solution. There is a wise proverb, work done, have your fun. The communication of a child with a computer or a tablet should be limited. And the parents should strictly see to it, literally by clock. For the smallest children – some of our applications are destined for the kids from 1,5 to 3 years old – this time should be 5 minutes or less. It is not coincidence that our interactive books have, in average, 10 pages. Five minutes is enough time to read such a book once. As the child turns older, this time can be increased, but only within reason and anyway, it should be limited. Even a toddler can understand this rule but you should keep resolve.

It is not rare that a child, especially a little one, does not want to leave his or her best toy. When you try to take the tablet from the child, he or she grizzles and bursts into tears. In such a case, you’d better stay your ground and not make concessions (“well, 5 minutes more, one more book, and so on”). Pity and mildness will be an ill service. If you cede and let your child play with the tablet “a little more”, you are sure to have a scandal next time. On the contrary, if your family members observe the rules strictly and rigorously, the children understand restrictions more easily.

2. Game according to the schedule

Problem. Even the smallest children are very cunning by their nature. That is why when they agree to follow the previous rule they may ask to “play a little” very often. But we should protect our children’s health and that is why we should keep their impulses within compass. It is not only necessary to limit the duration of each game session but also the number of such sessions. You should keep in mind that every child has a great number of other affaires that are no less important. The toddlers should walk, sleep, assemble construction sets and pyramids, do puzzles, roll toy cars, feed dolls, and at long last, just move a lot and communicate with their parents. The older children should play with peers and adults, learn a lot of new skills. Schoolchildren should study and do their homework along with having active rest. A tablet or a computer should in no case substitute all these important affairs.

Solution. The author’s two-years-old children play with a tablet twice a day by 5 minutes. In the morning, they watch some interactive book or an educative application, and in the afternoon a cartoon. We won’t impose certain norms to our readers as we understand that different specialists have different opinions of the matter. Ones will say that the tablet should be eliminated from the child’s life, the others will be more liberal. The most important is for the parents to think over this problem and choose their own strategy of how their son or daughter will communicate with a tablet. Again, such measure will allow avoiding unnecessary problems and children’s offences in case Mom refuses the child to play with a tablet. The requirement to observe the strictly established rules is less offensive that a refusal without explanation.

3. Joint game

Problem. This paragraph of the article is particularly important for the preschool children. However much you would like to immerse into your own affairs while your child is occupied with an interactive book, try to avoid it. It is very important for a little person to feel the presence and constant aid of an adult in getting new skills. Moreover, playing with a tablet is something new and not thoroughly known. The kid may turn the application off occasionally, or get lost in a puzzle or pages. In the end, it is very important and doubly pleasant for the child to share his or her joy of seeing the pictures come to life or of solving a puzzle. Any communication of a child with the world around, either through an interactive game or at the playground, should be assisted by an adult friend and helper. It makes the child feel comfortable, calm and protected.

Solution. That’s very easy, play with your child. Direct your kid, help to move the pictures, comment on the plot, read the text. Please believe that it will be interesting for you, too, because we did not have such toys in our childhood!

4. Parental censure

Problem. As we have already noted earlier, there are a lot of mobile applications for children. And not all of them are equally useful. Certainly, the employees of Apple, AndroidMarket or other grounds check the applications before selling them. But it is not very probable that a thoughtful parent will rely from top to bottom to an unknown person. Everybody has its ideas of what is useful or harmful for their kid. You may find that the graphic design, the plot or the vocalization of some mobile application is traumatic for the child’s perception. We can’t exclude the possibility that somebody may dislike our applications, too. So well, it is the opinion of a person and we must respect it because we know that the parents are the main authority for their children.

Solution. So that the new mobile application won’t become a wakener, watch it before giving to your child. Please make sure that it corresponds to your understanding of a qualitative content for children. Please let us know if you have some claims concerning the content or quality of our books! You can always write us a letter, or you can communicate with us through social networks. Your opinion is very important to us!

As we gain the experience of working with mobile applications and as we get the feedback from our readers, we will complete and amplify our recommendations concerning the communication with mobile applications. But the essential idea which we would like to place in the summary is that mobile applications do not give you a possibility to get rid of your child for a while. They will not facilitate your everyday life or give you more free time. But if you use them reasonably, they will help you to diversify your communication with your little person, and your child will get another opportunity to broaden horizons and to learn new skill. So, your family life will become a little more interesting and merry.

Veronika Rupasova, cofounder and manager of EduCat projects, PhD in sociology, mother of two children

Participants and consultants:

  • Elena Karpova, cofounder and manager of EduCat projects
  • Maria Bezulenko, art-director of EduCat author’s series, Master of Pedagogy


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