Indisputably, children nowadays are growing up in the presence of digital technologies as these have become part of our daily lives. Currently, children have access or are exposed to devices in their first year of life, either by observing indirectly from a distance or have direct access when parents of close relatives offer them devices.
Key question therefore is on which way can preschool children come in contact with devices such that this will not have important negative consequences on their development? In fairness, it must also be acknowledged that there are advantages in the use of digital technology in the early years of childhood. On this question, we search for answers together with guests as we debate about this. On the roundtable, we have Giuliano Jelovčan, Professor of physical education lecturer on pedagogy faculty (University of Primorski), Karmen Metoka, Univ. dipl.soc. Pedagogist, counselor worker and in kindergarten and teacher professional subject tutor at SŠ Izola, preschool subject teacher; Marto Semic Maršič, Dr. med spec-pedriatist, long year leader of developmental Clinic in ZD Koper; and, with Dr. Matejo Gačnik professor of defectology in the area of surdo-logo who is employed in Centre for Communication, Hearing, and Speech Portorož, and in the faculty of pedagogy, University of Primorska.
We introduced to the audience, the guidance for parents on healthy use of digital technology in preschool period which was prepared in Logout. Guests with their professional sectors provided evidence why it is important that in early span of childhood, use of digital technology is appropriately limited, and that we offer only content appropriate for children’s age. Key emphasis from the guests focused on healthy development of preschool children which encourage appropriate development of the brain, body, and strong children immune system. They recommend everyday physical activities on fresh air for at least 60 minutes intensive physical activities per day offered to children through playing. We explain the meaning of appropriate encouragement for development of speech and how important it is that the use of technology is not or does not substitute interaction with parents. We also deliberate on the meaningful and importance of sleep for children especially when in the case of dysfunctional or inappropriate use of digital technology. There are also many other consequences which children faced because of excessive stimulation with internet content e.g. in high irritation, impaired or actually lack of attention, experience of fear because of inappropriate content and so on.
At the end of the event, we did not forget the important advantage that digital technology brings into our life and also for young children we should still be careful at exposing digital technology in preschool area. Children are very vulnerable as this is a sensitive time of development of their fundamental area of life which can only evolve at appropriate stimulation from the environment. Guests concluded that if parents encourage full development of children, there would be almost no time in a day children would make use of digital devices. There was a good response from the visitors as they spoke about how important it is in a public space to address topics that are connected with the use of digital technology in preschool areas and other areas of childhood. The message is to make parents aware that they have to teach their children about healthy, moderate, and creative use of digital technology.
We thank Cultural Education Association PINA, that we can carry-out this event in their place, all visitors and of course, guests in the round table debate for multidisciplinary working.
Author of photograph;Primorske novice, Tomaž Primožic / FPA