A four-year-old, screen time and learning

by Pamela Madonsela
Baby Yum Yum - Screen Time
Reading Time: 3 minutes

My toddler’s favourite item in the house must be my phone, we co-own it.

Not sure when she figured it all out, but she can navigate the smartphone like a pro, from YouTube kids to answering the phone and playing her favourite songs, the other day I had to apologize to my WhatsApp contacts for the unclear voice notes she sent. 

As a parent, I feel bad for too much screen time but on the other hand, she has learned so much independently and continues to learn. 

My 4-year-old daughter only started school 2020, but during the lockdown, she was home with us for most of the time and we try to do activities to stimulate her inquisitive mind in between virtual meetings. But to be honest, in most cases, she is on my phone watching cartoons and sing-alongs on YouTube kids and I was surprised at how much she has learned over this period, to the extent that we got her a smartphone that she can use, we do monitor and have parental control for safety reasons.

Also see: Screen time: how much is too much? Expert digital parenting advice

We have seen that she has developed a lot of educational skills when it comes to language use, social interaction, colours, maths skills, and a lot more for a toddler not forgetting to mention drama skills, she imitates everything they do.

These are some of the things we have picked up from her:

  • At home, we speak in IsiZulu, but she learned and was able to construct sentences in English before she could even start school
  • She knew the different colours red, yellow, orange, blue, green, and pink to mention a few
  • She points at items around the house and names them, five senses and the names and sounds animals make
  • The sing-a-longs are a favourite in the house, from twinkle, twinkle little star to rain rain, go away.

As parents, we are sometimes concerned that she is spending so much time on her phone and try to monitor her and introduce other things that she can do to entertain and learn at the same time. We have also thought of investing in a much bigger tablet, which is easier on the eyes.

Child safety and screentime

To ensure the safety of their child online, parents must install parent control apps to be able to monitor and restrict certain content from being viewed by their kids. This may be content that you feel is inappropriate for their age.

Here is a step-by-step guide to set up parental control for YouTube Kids 

Ensure your child’s safety on YouTube kids with these 5 easy steps.

Step 1-. Once you’re in the app, tap on the padlock icon in the bottom right to set up the parental controls.

Step 2- Choose a set time limit to set a timer for your child. They can only watch videos for that amount of time. After that, the app will be locked. 

Step 3– In the Padlock menu again tap on Settings and then tap on the home screen age level, there you can choose the age of your child which will restrict the videos they can watch.

Step 4-Still in the settings tap on the switch to turn on Pause history. This will prevent the app from using the videos that your child has watched to suggest new ones, in case any inappropriate videos are watched, this prevents new inappropriate videos from being recommended.

Step 5– If you do see a video that you want to report and isn’t suitable, tap on the three dots as the video is playing and you’ll be given options to block that video or report it.

 These are other Parent Control apps you can download 

  • Google Family Links
  • Parental Control Screen Time Website Blocker
  • Family Time Parental Control

Related Articles