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Babies and Screens

by Beverley Paine

Evolution. Technology is evolving us. Will our bodies cope? Or is WALL-E prophetic?

Screen technology is here. We adults use it with incredible frequency throughout the day. Our babies and toddlers and children see us using it as a natural part of our lives and naturally thing it is a natural and normal part of life, something they need to do.

A baby lying in a cot or on the floor watching mummy engage with a screen knows that engaging with screens is just another thing that she has to learn how to do. When she is in mummy's arms and mummy engages with that screen, the baby naturally reaches for the screen, keen to get to know it, what it does and how it works. First thing baby will do is drop it - does it do the gravity trick? Then she'll learn what it is made of by putting it in her mouth. Then she'll poke it, the way mummy does. It's interesting because mummy uses it, not because it has any intrinsic value as an educational object or communication tool.

In my grandmother's day, in my mother's day, when my children were babies, babies looked to see what the adults were doing and naturally sought to copy those behaviours, do what the adults do. It's the work of children, it's called 'growing up'. And toy manufacturers (once society realised there was a business opportunity and money could be made from selling playthings to people who had moved from subsistence incomes and had cash to spare) started making little brooms, tea sets, pedal cars, etc.

Is it safe? Is it good for baby? Will it promote healthy development? These are values that shift and change from generation to generation. As a kid of the TV generation I remember the warnings about square eyes and limited imagination, 'zombies' we were called. The advertising definitely affected my generation. My dad (in his 80s) talks about how going to the cinema every Saturday in the 1930s shaped his thinking and how Hollywood changed the values of his generation. I think the effects are both large and small, personal and cultural. Perhaps that's just evolution at work.

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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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Welcome to the
World of Home Education
and Learning without School!

We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!

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