The internet can be a dangerous tool, but like everything in the world, the story of the internet also has its brighter side. The internet helps us connect with loved ones, meet new people, get informed, and learn new things about topics of interest. Adults generally have no problem filtering the content they consume.

By typing topics or interests into a search engine, they easily get exactly what they want to read or hear. However, when it comes to children, we encounter a problem. Children who are not yet in school cannot write, cannot read, and the youngest ones cannot even speak, so they consume content on the internet through random clicks on visually appealing icons.

Screens are not conversational partners.

One-way communication, or communication through clicks, is not communication. Children at an increasingly younger age begin to be interested and calmed by looking at phones and tablets, and more and more delay the moment when they will speak. This results in an increasing number of children who start the first grade with a poor vocabulary, unable to verbalize needs, initiate and maintain a conversation, as well as with difficulties in pronouncing certain sounds.

Why do we allow a powerful tool like the Internet to regress us instead of advancing us?

An increasing number of cases are recorded where a child’s first word is in English or another foreign language in which they consume content from the internet. Parents find this phenomenon cute because they do not recognize that it is a result of their insufficient dedication and conversation with the child.

One of the most common reasons why technology is given early to children’s hands is that parents are tired or preoccupied, or both. Although the feeling of being overwhelmed by the responsibilities that parenting brings is completely justified, choosing the “easier path” will not pay off in the long run. There is a high probability that a child who is not talked to will develop attention disorders, speech impediments, social anxiety, stuttering, and the like.


Prevention is better than cure also applies in this case.

A parent must find time to engage with their child. Small changes in the schedule, new habits, joint rituals, and games can be a good start to strike a balance between time spent online and time spent in joint, two-way interaction.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Buy a book for your child that is suitable for their age, then read to them, or tell a story that will be accompanied by pictures from the book. After a few repetitions, the child will learn the story, and then you can motivate them to retell the story themselves. If the child is still small and does not use full sentences, you can point to pictures in the book and say the names of the concepts. For example: “This is a bunny” or “Where is the bunny?”
  • Ask your child to tell you how they spent their day. Motivate them to go into details by asking additional questions.
  • Draw a family together with your child (you can also use a joint photo), then ask them who is who, what their names are, what color their eyes are, and so on. Adapt the activity to your child’s age.
  • Imitation game – imitate animals or cartoon characters.
  • Create a certain environment or scenario like a pastry shop or supermarket, and then start the game. In this way, you teach your child the basics of interaction like “good day,” “thank you,” “what would you like?” and so on, which will be useful in real life.
  • For children who are still too young to speak, motivate speech and listening development with praises and questions. For example, when a child points at something they want, grab the object and ask: “Do you want the bear?” Then give them the toy and confirm “This is the bear.” It has been proven that the speech apparatus develops best in children who are talked to from birth.

It is very important that the parent does not lose patience in interaction with the child. Children need support, motivation, and a stimulating environment to develop properly and show their potential. Learning activities and quality time with a parent should be a positive experience and a beautiful memory, not an additional source of dissatisfaction and frustration.

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