No baby has yet marched out of the delivery room that starts a navigation system in the smartphone World to conquer. But undeterred, the longing for the perfect child lets babies wither in front of the screen.

baby laptop

From Hänschen to digital Hans

Pregaphones were just a (clumsy) attempt to keep little geniuses developing in efficient to steer paths. It skilfully plays with the desire for perfection, the longing to bring the perfect child into the world.

Today im Head Many parents have adopted the saying: "What Hans doesn't learn, Hans never learns again." Which means: Nothing can fall on the offspring soon enough - and an "early support industry" (Ralph Schumacher) provides offers that prepare Hanschen for the fight for survival.

The temptations of the early-spring industry

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And this struggle is being fought more and more with computers. Therefore, the educational card always stands out in advertising, for example for the product “My first laptop”, recommended for the age group 12 to 36 months.

This brightly colored ugliness made of plastic "offers varied play and learning fun for little explorers," says the manufacturer. The toddler simply presses colored buttons and the corresponding symbols light up on a display. "Numerous melodies and a sung song provide additional entertainment," continues the advertisement. "The agile children's mouse also promotes your child's fine motor skills."

The first laptop - good for development?

If you don't give in and press the buy button, the following arguments should convince you: The product is good for "language development", "sensory perception" and "exploration and curiosity". All under the heading: “For the development of your child”. Who else can No to say?

But we say: no. Our thesis is: A childhood without a computer is the best start to the digital age. Paradox? Confusing? Yes, but we will show in the course of this series how this statement can be substantiated.

The genius of tomorrow?

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Against this background, it seems questionable what the Company Brill-Kids in America worked out: The Little Math Learning System. It is intended for babies under the age of two and a half and is intended to use flash cards to convey mathematical quantity concepts. The advertisement says: The child would immediately learn “mental calculations”, which can perhaps be translated as “mental arithmetic”.

It also says: "It will be a confident mathematician for his whole life." Yes, there is actually the job title “mathematician” in the English original!

The longing for brilliant babies

Other products are called: Little Reader and Little Musician… No wonder that the company's claim is: “Kids are brilliant!” But such a program only hurts. It's like starting with the third floor when building a house. In this way, children are completely overwhelmed.

Brilliant Babies? There it reappears, the longing for the perfect child that wins several Nobel prizes. Brilliant babies later become brilliant scientists, artists or managers... who doesn't fall for that Idea who came with the Pregaphone or Ritmo Pregnancy Audio Belt can now ease their guilty conscience.

A childhood without a computer - the best start into the digital world

We will think about how Hänschen develops into a Hans who handles digital media confidently - and who knows how to use the great opportunities of digitality. Because for us applies: "What Hänschen does not learn, Hans can learn in peace." The buzzword of deceleration should find its way into the education debate, because digital media in particular can undermine learning processes with their speed, sensory overload and superficiality.

And that's especially the case with small children: "If you explain something to them, they just go to sleep," explains neurobiologist Prof. Gertraud Teuchert-Noodt, "and this sleep is very important because it Brain plays a lot.” The Success of learning is dependent on an “inner rhythm”, slowness in the learning process is an advantage. If you mess up this rhythm, you won't be able to "get school classes on the right track with an hour of yoga," says the emeritus neurobiologist.

Medial drum fire for toddlers

But what happens once the children are born? They are exposed to a media barrage that we in our Everyday life no longer perceive. This is how Helga Theunert and Kathrin Demmler describe the situation in which small children grow up today:

"The Mother breastfeeds while watching TV, father rocks baby to sleep while he's in Internet doing research, the big brother is looking after the little sibling while he is playing a computer game... such situations are part of everyday family life.”

Child-friendly distraction?

Sounds harmless, but it's not, as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states. According to a survey, 90 percent of American parents are already trying to keep children under the age of two happy by using electronic media. As a result, the AAP has tightened previous warnings and published recommendations on how parents should use electronic media so that children under the age of two are not harmed.

60.000 American pediatricians and surgeons have organized themselves in the AAP. In a nutshell, the doctors' organization writes: "The AAP advises against children under two years of age using electronic media."

Media Decrease Talking Time

The doctors rely on 50 studies that have examined since 1999, such as television and videos on children under the age of two act. How does the AAP arrive at its recommendations? Let's just consider the everyday life of parents who sit in front of the TV and let their children play in the same room. The first Effect is obvious, as the AAP writes:

“Toddlers are unlikely to pay close attention to a television program unless they understand it. But the parents are busy. The television may only be a background medium for the child, but for the parents it is in the foreground. The TV distracts the parents – and reduces the interaction between parent and child. The growth his vocabulary depends directly on the ›talk time‹ with his parents or on the time his father or mother talks to him. If a lot of television is watched in a household, this can change negative affect the child's language development simply because the parents are likely to speak too little to their child."

How do you really encourage babies and young children?

So if you really want to encourage your children and do something good for them, you should take one thing to heart: don't start them until as late as possible - one usually speaks of one Age from the age of three – are exposed to the media influence of screens and mobile devices.

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