Growing Up Digital and the Barnard Center for Toddler Development

by Molly Scott

Could this have been you?

The Barnard Center for Toddler Development is an extremely unique and important aspect of the college. They foster toddler development through holding pre-school-like classes for young children while teaching parents about their child’s development. Barnard students also conduct research in the Center in some of their developmental psychology classes. The Center gives Barnard students a great opportunity to learn about toddler development, as well as being a major contributor to the psychological field.

On Thursday night, the Barnard Center for Toddler Development sponsored a talk called “Growing Up Digital: Keeping the Human Connection.” Rosemarie Truglio, who is the senior vice president of education and research at Sesame Workshop, a non-profit educational organization associated with Seasame Street, gave the talk as part of a series of events held for the Toddler Center’s 40th anniversary. Truglio also helps create what content appears on the educational television program Sesame Street. She spoke about how parents and toddler caregivers (that means us Barnard babysitters!) can use technology to help, not hinder, educational, emotional, and social development in toddlers.

Rosemarie Truglio from Seasame Workshop

At the talk, Truglio stressed the importance of using educational apps to teach children about the alphabet, numbers, and more. She also talked about how parents and caregivers should interact with the toddler while they play these learning games in order to foster their learning and to “keep the human connection.” Many toddlers, nowadays, not only watch educational programming on television, but also play educational games on the computer, iPhones, iPads, tablets, and other technological devices. It’s pretty fascinating to think about how many devices toddlers can learn from, considering that only eighteen years ago the most we Barnard ladies could do was watch TV shows like Sesame Street, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, and Barney. Truglio recommended that toddlers get no more than two hours of screen time (preferably interactive and educational screen time) per day.

I think this a great concept for us college students to follow as well. Obviously we may need more than two hours, but if we use the majority of our screen time for essays, homework, and school emails,  we may feel a lot less stressed out and be more productive. For example, if we limit our Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social networking time and try to focus more of our screen time on schoolwork, thus spending less time in front of the computer at all, we may feel that we were more productive that day.

Molly Scott is a sophomore at Barnard and Girl Talk editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.


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