You’ve probably heard it, perhaps from an older family member. “Those online games are bad for kids’ eyesight… those games lead to violence… those sites aren’t safe.”
Here is ta closer look at online games, which I’ve found to be safe and fun ways for kids to learn preschool and kindergarten skills. Let’s take a look at each of these statements and examine the real situation with online toddler games.
Online games aren’t any worse for children’s eyesight than television, movies, or video games. Keep in mind that any activity is bad for eyesight if it’s done excessively and without a break. Fortunately, toddlers have short attention spans and rarely stick with an activity for more than 15 minutes. Use that natural time frame to your advantage and plan to allow your toddler to play a game for about 15 minutes at a time.
Online toddler games are, for the most part, very non-violent. Many sites are linked to educational companies and entertainment companies, and the last thing they want to do is alienate toddlers or parents by putting up games that are violent. Your toddler should be playing games that are simple and friendly, and leave the grown-up games for older siblings and adults. If you need to set rules around this in your home with older children or adults, then do so to protect your toddler from being exposed to violent games.
Online safety is a big deal, but there are ways to ensure your toddler’s online safety. First, you need to understand that there is no reason for a toddler to be “surfing” the intern alone. This is just like you were going to the park or to the store, and your toddler needs your supervision and help to have a safe, fun experience.
There are plenty of tools you can use to filter out inappropriate content for young children. The simplest method that I’ve found is to set up a file within your “bookmarks” in your browser menu. Label the file with your child’s name (and use all capital letters, since these are the first letters that toddlers learn to recognize). Then put a handful of site bookmarks into the profile that have your personal stamp of approval. Once you’ve shown her how to find these bookmarks, your toddler will love being able to go to her own area and select the site of her choice independently.
So the next time someone asks you about online toddler games and whether they are bad, use this information to help you confidently answer and even help them with a few tips of your own!