Taking a Stand Against “Electronic Parenting”

Recently I have observed a disturbing trend of “electronic parenting” amongst adults with young children.   If you eat out during the weekends, you will find many parents using smart phones, gadgets or other electronic media to ‘mind’ their kids while the adults are eating or talking amongst themselves.  While I have nothing against the popular use of smartphones, pads or gadgets amongst adults or even older children for keeping abreast of current affairs or for ease of communication. I do, however, feel that a line must be drawn when electronic devices become a tool to discipline the toddlers and often even babies, to keep them quiet in public.

What happened to the good, old-fashioned days when parents actually had conversations with their children around the dinner table?

If parents knew the research they would be shocked: What determines academically successful children is the amount of language they hear from adults in the first few years of life. “The single most important predictor of future intelligence, school success and social skills is the number of words a baby hears each day1.

Quality time for conversations with our children has diminished considerably with the exponential growth of technology. We, as parents, should be good role models for our children and set positive habits from an early age. Reading with them is one of the easiest and most effective ways to do this. Discussing their favourite books or how a certain story resonated with them can bring about whole new levels of understanding and depth with your child, even as young as two or three.

A local research paper, published in 2005 in the Journal of Early Education & Development, pointed out the importance of some early home literacy practices for reading achievement, even among children who are already receiving formal literacy instruction because the samples for this research is based on Primary Two (around eight years old) students.  Parents’ self-reports of asking questions during story-telling with their children are associated with better reading achievement in their children. The result has shown a strong relationship between individual measures of home literacy and reading development.

The research has given us some understanding that parents do carry an important role to look after the young minds by reading with them and not leave them alone with electronic media.  So let’s not leave any children behind for the opportunity to enhance their language development through reading aloud.


[1] Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children by Drs. Betty Hart and Todd Risley. Blakemore & Ramirez(2006).Baby Read-aloud Basics: American Management Association.

Media Use by Children Younger Than 2 Years by the American Academy of Pediatrics

Lau, Jasmine Yuet-Han and McBride-Chang, Catherine(2005) ‘Home Literacy and Chinese Reading in Hong Kong Children’, Early Education & Development, 16: 1, 5 — 22

Percie Wong, Trainer of Bring Me A Book Hong Kong

Source from Bring Me A Book