Technology and Early Development



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Developments in the area of technology have impacted our way of life in many ways. As mobile technology increasingly becomes an integral part of our lives, the question of how much time children spend watching or playing on devices dominates discussion among many parents.

This month, we will highlight some areas of development that can be affected by the misuse — or overuse — of screen time, providing parents with considerations for deciding how and when it is appropriate and beneficial to their children to fill their time with activities other than screen time.

Time to Reflect

A child’s capacity to reflect develops over time with help and guidance from adults. Reunions after school, or after other times of separation, are perhaps the most important time of day for a child to reconnect with parents. During this time together, reflecting on the ups and downs of the day provides a child with opportunities to develop a capacity to retell a story or events, express feelings about experiences, and share meaningful information with parents.

While it may seem that a child prefers to watch a show or play on a device in the car, the post-school commute is a valuable opportunity and natural space for parents and children to think and talk together about their time apart from each other. (In a similar way, the ride to school offers a chance for children to mentally prepare for their day — an opportunity often lost when a child is distracted by screen entertainment.)

Time to Ponder

Developing a capacity to wait without the external stimulation of mobile devices is becoming something that has to be consciously built into the daily routine since mobile devices are so readily available now. While it’s easier to fill wait times with a screen, there are long-term benefits to encouraging a child to fill his or her time with other mind-stretching activities. Consider suggesting guessing games such as “20 Questions” or “I Spy” during times of waiting (while in waiting rooms or waiting in line, while making dinner or while the bath is filling, for example).

Time to Work Through and Resolve Conflicts     

The use of TV, tablets and mobile phones has, in recent years, replaced many unwanted or undesirable behaviors with a quick and easy distraction. Some parents find that allowing their child to play on a device is a soothing activity that diverts him or her from, or quickly settles, a tantrum. While this may be a useful distraction in the moment, children benefit in the long run from help with understanding the circumstances that lead to behavioral disruptions. They also benefit from learning how to gain and maintain control over behaviors and impulses independently.

Time for Open-Ended Play

Open-ended and creative play, both alone and with peers, is as important in early childhood as exposure to books and other learning experiences. Outdoor and pretend play should be a part of a young child’s daily activities, and provides developmental and cognitive opportunities that screen play does not.

Impact on Social, Emotional and Academic Development

The capacities to reflect, ponder, resolve conflicts and play all have a role in a child’s development. Making a distinction as to whether a child is seeking entertainment or distraction can be helpful in determining if and when it is an appropriate use of a child’s time and attention. Carving out time to preserve important developmental experiences will help strike a balance between advancing technology and early childhood experiences that help shape a mind to become independent, resourceful and resilient.

The Lucy Daniels Center is a nonprofit agency in Cary that promotes the emotional health and well-being of children and families. Visit lucydanielscenter.org to learn more.

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Calendar

May 2019

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
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North Carolina Transportation Museum
1 Samuel Spencer Drive
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Sponsor: North Carolina Transportation Museum
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Chapel Hill Country Club
103 Lancaster Drive
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Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
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Apex Community Park
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Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Park West Village
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Cost: $15 or use class pass/membership

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Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
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Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
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Cost: $19/resident, $24/nonresident

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Herbert C. Young Community Center
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Park West Village
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Park West Village
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Cost: Free

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
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Cost: Free

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Century Center
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Cost: Free

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514 E Williams St
APEX, NC  27502
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Sponsor: IngenuiTea Brews
Telephone: 919-438-3684
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Cost: $23/resident, $30/nonresident

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101 Wilkinson Ave.
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Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
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Cost: Free

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
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Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
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Cost: $15/class, or use your class pass/membership.

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Chapel Hill
781 Mt. Carmel Church Rd.
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Cost: $5/person. Free for ages 2 and younger

Where:
The Halle Cultural Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
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Cost: $2/resident, $3/nonresident

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
Cary, NC  27513
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: $65/person

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500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: Free

Where:
Edison Johnson Community Center
500 W. Murray Ave.
Durham, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
Sanderford Road Center
2623 Sanderford Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

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Each Fourth Friday of the month join us for a night of art, film, food and fun. This is free and open to the public.​

Cost: Free

Where:
SummerStage
800 Taylor St
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Hi-Wire Brewing and abc11

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Enjoy Raleigh’s premier Japanese animation and culture convention. Concerts, educational panels, limited merchandise, unique artwork and more highlight the event. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $65/person

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Dogs, face painting, animal tattoos, a bounce house, dog contests and canine demonstrations, handmade bandannas, photo booths and local vendors highlight this annual festival to benefit the...

Cost: $15-$30

Where:
Duke University East Campus
Durham, NC


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Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: Free

Where:
SummerStage
800 Taylor St
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Hi-Wire Brewing, abc11, and Offline

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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

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Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (ages 6-under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Telephone: 919-856-6675
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More information

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Cost: Free

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American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
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Enjoy free, live performances from the best artists from around the Triangle in front of Stone Theatre as well as kid-friendly activities. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Park West Village
Morrisville, NC  27560


Website »

More information

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Cost: $65/person

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
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