Emotional and Interaction Skills
A 2-year-old should pay attention to things that help them learn their native language – and help them interpret people’s expressions and actions: interaction skills. This type of content is rarely available when using media.
On the contrary, the child is left alone with media, and they become – a consumer instead of an explorer. They get exposed to content – but they can’t have an interaction.
The essential learnable content to a toddler under the age of two – is a result of interaction. Someone needs to talk to the child and respond to their initiative.
The child might point at something, and the adult should explain – what it is and what it’s used for, maybe show the object to the child. This type of interaction is beneficial to a child’s brain development.
In this video, professor and neuroscientist Minna Huotilainen discusses why media content may be problematic when a child is learning emotional and interaction skills.
A child is drawn to fear. They seek exciting and interesting things. To learn about fear and cope with it, a child needs an adult’s support. The adult’s role is to identify how much information a child can take – and how far into scary territory they can go and come right back.
Now, if we enter the world of media and one-way communication – there might be scary content that the child cannot stop – or their self-regulation isn’t saying that it’s too scary – or moving too fast. If the adult isn’t there, the child sees too much scary content.
It’s crucial that the child can speak to an adult. They can’t always say – what happened or what they think of the scary content – but the fear is visible in the child.
Mundane activities help dissolve the situation. You can start emptying the dishwasher, and the story will slowly come out – about what has just happened. An adult is an important partner to a child in cases like this.