Long before a baby is born, technology impacts its life. From a sonogram that gives us the first visual connection to our baby, to the fetal monitor that helps deliver that baby safely into our arms, technology is present.

But like a well-sharpened knife that can help prepare a beautiful healthy meal, it can also cut your finger. And although technology is not inherently good or bad, it’s incredibly seductive to both adults and the children in their care. The first step in managing our new world is being aware of all the ways technology impacts our children’s lives. Only then can we have a conversation and make intentional choices about how to use it responsibly.

Read the table below. Where do you fit into the picture?


Baby Monitor

Keeps baby safe

Lets you hear your baby’s voice and babbling,
     singing, and talking

Thinking your child doesn’t need you because
     he’s not crying.

Playful awake time is the optimal learning time!

Toy with Electronic Melody

Use with your baby, move from side to side to
     encourage eye tracking, and  following sound
Talk about it with baby while using

Toys just left with baby to discover on his own.
     Although baby will respond to sound, it’s really just
     sound- not “music”

Electronic Toys for Babies

Play with baby, showing him or her how to push a
     button to make lights or sound work, getting excited
     when baby does it

Showing baby once how toy works, then leaving baby
     to play on his or her own

Cell Phones

Minimal use, especially when it comes to texting.
     Children need and want to hear your voice!

Talking on the phone instead of texting. Just hearing
     your voice gives your child a wealth of information

Continually texting or watching the screen

When children talk to parents while they are texting
     there is little or no eye contact and minimal oral
     language being shared.

Apps on Mobile Devices

Using apps that teach letters, numbers, patterns, or
     “finding” games

Sitting next to your child and offering comments as he
     plays “Wow! You found the square!”

Using the “Passback Effect.” Passing electronic devices
     to your children to simply keep them busy. Of course
     there will be times when this is necessary, but
     shouldn’t be the norm.

i PADS, Tablets, E-Readers

Great for answering questions that come up when the
     child is most curious “Where do the ants live?”
There are great apps for learning, and interactive
You can make your own E-books from family photos,
     using free or inexpensive apps.

Simple repetitive games that only require a child to keep
     doing the same motion to get points and play again.
Games for “creative” play that have limited choices
Using regularly just to keep the child occupied


Age-appropriate, and occasional. Best shared as a
     family so you can discuss as you watch.
Used in the car on special occasions, like long car trips-
     but not as norm. Time in the car is the great
     conversation time!

Getting into the habit of putting it on whenever you’re in
     the car. Creates distance between you and your child
     and eliminates one of the best talk times!
Watching so often that child expects or even and
     demands a movie.


Limited watching of age-appropriate shows, and with
     adults as the norm.
Having discussions and watching together can be great
     for everything from vocabulary to story-telling skills.

TV that is on all the time, or more than it is off.
TV in child’s room
TV that is unmonitored by adult, with viewing of age-
     inappropriate shows.


Sitting with your child in your lap while looking at
     digital photos of family and friends, or reading or
     playing together.
Skyping with friends and family

Sitting a child at a computer and putting on a game that
     requires nothing more than pushing buttons, using as a

i PODS and Music Players

Great for singing and dancing along, and setting or
     changing a mood!
Music to sleep by is a comforting ritual for many
     children, allowing them to self-soothe.

Volume that is too loud and can damage young ears
Music that’s inappropriate for children
Having music on all the time, so that it becomes a white
     noise and leaves to space for talking or singing