It’s a digital world we’re living in.. even for babies. This became alarmingly clear to me today when I observed Annabel playing with my iPhone. She not only already knows how to slide it open, but even mimes putting it to her ear and babbling!
Seeing how comfortable Annie is with my phone got me thinking about the relationship today’s kids/toddlers/babies have with technology. My four and six-year-old nephews, for example, seem to always have their heads buried in their parents’ cell phones playing games, and in the moments they don’t they move over to their Wii or the computer. This seems to be par for the course with all of the other young kids I know as well. In fact, as I think about it, I’m hard pressed to remember a single conversation I’ve had with any kid of late that hasn’t revolved around video games or technology.
I’m not judging anyone’s parenting on this issue (especially since Annie already has more game apps on my phone than I do), but I do worry that our kid’s investment in all of this technology might be a cause for concern. After all, while we are all used to it, I can’t help but think a time traveler from the past would be pretty disturbed by what he saw in 2011. I can imagine him having the following conversation upon returning to the past:
“The future is a very frightening place. Men and women soar like birds in a contraption they call an ‘airplane,’ and a strange, otherworldly being known as Lady Gaga is worshiped as a God!”
“What of the children? Certainly they are still a glorious blessing and source of endless joy.”
“Hardly. These ‘children,’ if you can still call them that, spend their days staring blankly at devices in their hand that emit noise and flashes of light.”
“Do they not speak?”
“Only to discuss the virtues of their beloved devices. Or to beg that they be ‘charged.’ Whatever that may mean.”
“God help us!”
It’s hard to know how, as parents, we should handle our kids’ relationship with technology because theirs is the first generation born in this technology obsessed age of Facebook. Is this just part of being a 21st century kid? Or is there something we should do as parents to curtail this?
Wyatt is just barely 10 months old and can unlock my droid! Scary.
My daughter (17 months now) also “talks” on the iphone and knows how to use several apps. I find myself caught in the same struggle. Is it cute when a little toddler puts your phone up to their ear and starts chatting away? Yes! And they seem so smart when they can figure out how to use it. But, it’s a bit scary too. She has also developed a huge fondness for our laptops and pretty much begs to watch Sesame Street videos online. Not sure where to draw the line either.
Sarah G says:
I share the same misgivings. To the point of contemplating being that parent that doesn’t allow their kid to have a game system until they’re 16. It kinda bugs me when my friends kids whip out their PSPs and Nintendo DS systems when they’re at my place or I’m at theirs. My parents always forced me to have conversations with our guests (even adults). It taught me some really useful people skills. I can see how it starts out – games make kids quiet and compliant – but can turn into something kinda disturbing: a child that doesn’t interact. Or maybe I’m just becoming a grumpy old person?
I worry about this too. My 23 month old daughter seems to know how to use my husband’s iPad almost as well as he does. Now we only bring it out for her if we’re really desperate for a distraction, like a 3 hour flight or the doctors office when they’re running behind and she’s tired of the toys and books we’ve brought.
It is scary. We don’t have a smartphone at home so we are pretty much old stone age. My 4 year old has been slow at mastering his fine motor skills. He can’t really hold a crayon straight. But imagine my surprise when I see a terrific improvement in his dexterity (and interest) when he is around the laptop trying to manipulates the mouse. He can right click,left click,double click and close windows and nobody taught him. If he could read,I guess he would be surfing the net.
I think ultimately we are to blame.They are just aping us,the kids. We are the first generation with 24/7 access to technology and we are wired all the time. We sit at the computer to check our emails, our blog readers, the online news etc etc. So I think our kids are not interacting enough but maybe we are not interacting enough either……How many times has it happened that we much rather talk to people on Facebook but not over the phone?
I think like with most things in life, a balance is needed. My children definately have all of those devices but we limit their play and encourage them to get outside and play with their friends – use their imaginations as much as we can.
I for one am grateful my children have been born in this century. My oldest son has a severe learning disability. Because of some of these resources, he can read or be read to, with ease now. He can write a story and be his creative, wonderful self by expressing himself verbally to a computer program (Dragon Dictate), and the program prints his words for him. It takes a way the anxiety of diffcult fine motor skills and allows him to simply expression himself rather then spending hours and hours trying so hard to print or type out any words on paper.
There is downfalls of course. Some would argue we’re given him the “easy way out” instead of insisting he focus more on his printing, spelling and grammar skills even though it would take our son 100 x’s longer to even get one line written, let alone a whole story.
To us, some of this technology has been a true gift! It has allowed our son, who has been tested and actually has an above average IQ, the tools he needs to express himself in a way simple academics never could. It has given him back some freedom and has allowed him to not only express himself but also allows him to the achieve academic success he would not be able to achieve otherwise.
As for the other gagets…well, I guess one could agrue by allowing our kids to use such devices it is also promoting their fine motor skills, encourages them to increase their hand eye co-ordination skills and in some cases even increases their processing levels. However, of course as with everything, there are definiately some negative factors others could agrue in a rebutal.
In closing,, what works for my family is encouraging a balance and giving my kids other options other than playing their video games. It’s not always easy and some days no matter what I suggest, they have their little hearts set on playing their x box or wii. So on those days they are set on playing their games. So, on days like these if I can beat them, I join them…. then I kick their little butts until they get mad or bored playing with me and end up playing outside any ways!!! PERFECT!! ha ha
I agree with RS that our kids mimic us because watching us teaches them how to interact with the world.
That said, we went the no ds route. Even in this day and age, its still okay to do that. :o) We recently received a Playstation Move, but we limit that fun time to weekends only. In long car rides, the kids can read or color.
They probably won’t need much therapy to cope
I’m probably the odd one out here in that my child is not allowed on my home computer, as he uses computers all day long at school, and the Wii is a special occasion thing only. His DSi XL is not used during the week, he’s 8 and doesn’t have or need a cell phone. If we’re somewhere that might be really boring to him, I’ll let him play the Air Hockey game on my phone, and the DSi can travel with us when we drive long distances. As a result of this, he’d rather read a book, ride his bike or play with his friends. I truly believe that he needs to be using his imagination more than his thumbs to control a video game. We play (gasp!) board games, we have a bit of a rivalry going when it comes to reading and he is none the worse for the wear.
Lest anyone jump on me, I’m not judging anyone else!! I’m simply stating how it is in my house and what works for my son
I agree. My kids are 5 and 7 and rarely use our home computer. (It started with my fear that they would somehow mess it up and I would lose all of our pictures or my business documents.) We often go to the Library where they can use the PCs there for the Library-imposed 1/2 hour limit.
We do have Leapsters for the kids and will use these on long drives, etc. I like the fact that the kids are actually learning even when using these games. I had to search online, but I finally (!!) found some more challenging Leapster games for my 7 yr old since most of the games are meant for the PreK-Kindergarten range.
My 7 yr old has not yet learned to love the joy of reading. I am doing all that I can to make sure that she has plenty of opportunity to read by limiting the amount of TV and screen time that she has each day. My hope is that she will soon enjoy reading as much as my husband and I do. Right now, she’d prefer to play outside over reading, but that is OK too. They will have to grow up soon enough – we love seeing them enjoy the simple joys of childhood!
I couldn’t agree more. My almost 7 year, P old BEGGED us for a DS since he was 4. We finally got him one for his 6th birthday and he’s been obsessed since. Santa brought one for my younger son this Christmas, but we don’t have the same level of addiction with him. If we didn’t limit it, he’d be using the damn thing every.waking.minute. If we give P an hour and he’s REALLY into the game he’ll whine. Then ask to do “computer” homework (which in first grade is just simple word games, but hey, it’s the computer! and a game!) As a rule, we don’t generally let the boys play their DS’s when we have company or when we’re visiting friends/family. They think it’s “no fair!” but we’re just trying to raise kids that are not socially awkward. We also try to make sure he has a very balanced childhood. He plays soccer in the fall, baseball in the spring, he’s in cub scouts and goes to religious ed class once a week–all non technology related activities.
I love tech and gadgets. I want my son to love them too. He’s three and he has his own iPod Touch which we bought used to protect our iPhones that are far more expensive to replace. He’s been very good at taking cre of it. He’s also careful with our iPad. We’ve taught him these things.
Here’s my take on it: kids *need* to learn these things. It’s going to be essential for their success in this life. Tech is only going to get more and more integrated in our lives. To cut them out of that would be a real disservice.
That said, they also need to know how to put it down and turn it off. To establish boundaries that they keep – perhaps better than their parents who are the first generation to have these things incorporated into their work/personal lives.
I do think kids are somehow born knowing about technology these days… when I got an ipod 4 years ago (obviously I am NOT up to date on technology myself) I couldn’t figure out how to change the volume on it (like I said…) and you know who figured it out? My EIGHTEEN MONTH OLD. Seriously! My four year old plays Cut the Rope on my iPhone like you would not believe – has me beat every time.
Having said that, my kids are 5, 4, and 1, and they don’t own any video games, they don’t watch any TV during the week and not much on weekends, and they pretty much spend every waking minute that the older two are not in school out in the yard. They occasionally get on pbskids.org and play games on the computer, but they would prefer to play with dolls or trains in their rooms. We read books every night before bed and when my kids need “down” time they read instead of watching TV. So, no, it’s not inevitable that our kids will get swallowed up by video games – BUT we as parents have to make conscious decisions about what we let into our home and the example we lead. You can’t buy a Wii and spend all your time on the computer or in front of the TV and then expect kids who are in the yard playing soccer (not saying you do, I’m just saying it takes conscious thinking about what you model). It’s hard sometimes to go against the grain, in a way, when it comes to parenting decisions like limiting technology, but to me it is so worth it!
My three-year-old knows how to use my husband’s iPad way better than I do.Which is ridiculous, of course.
I’m 27, and I start this post saying that because knowing my age gives a better frame of reference to all that I’m about to say.
See, I was three or four when my parents brought home the original Nintendo, and some of my fondest memories of my childhood involve sitting on the floor with my parents, watching them play Nintendo for hours on end. As soon as I could figure out how it worked, I was on that thing just as much. I to this day have a love-hate relationship with the original Legend of Zelda.
I was in second grade when we had our first computer, a Packard Bell running Windows 3.0. And while most of the games I played on it were educational or creative (KidPix! Oregon Trail! The Super Solvers series! Math Blaster! Oh, those were the good old days….), I spent ridiculous amounts of time on that piece of crap. (And sorry, but it was a piece of crap.)
In seventh grade, we upgraded to a Gateway and, for the first time, had the internet, and I never looked back.
At 27, then, I own a Wii and a PS2. I have a DSiXL, a PSP, a defunct iPhone, and an HTC Inspire. I have three computers (two of which are used regularly). A Kindle. And before you ask, I’m in law school, I’m not some sort of ultra-geeky computer-programmer type.
But when I was a kid, I also played outside constantly. I read through books like they were oxygen. I used the computer to write fiction and create art for the stories I made. I did all the normal “kid” stuff. And even though I’m an adult with all these toys, I still do spend quality time doing things like going to dinner with friends. Studying. Taking walks.
I can’t even really give my parents credit for it, because god knows that they never managed my TV time or took away my Gameboy. I only got my tech-time taken away when I was misbehaving. (Like the epic D- in English when I was 16 that got my internet privileges limited to one half-hour, timed, every day.) But what I can give my parents credit for is showing me a pretty balanced life. They were not on the Nintendo all hours of the day. They didn’t live on the computer. They did other things — worked in the yard, read books, went out with friends, walked the dogs, whatever — that showed me I should be doing other things as well.
I’m not a parent (I say that a lot on this blog!) but I think my fear were I one would be not showing my child a balanced life. Because right now, I do spend a lot of my leisure time on the computer, and I wouldn’t want to have a kid watching me sit with the laptop on my lap for houses on end. So I’d get off it and do other things, just so the kidlet had an idea. But I don’t think fearing technology is the way to go, either, or worrying that a techie kid’ll never come up for air. I mean, I’m as geeky as they come and I lead a pretty balanced life. It’s all about balance.
I think it’s important to work with technology, because it will be the main part of the adult world too. However, we limit screen time. We also have a rule that only one screen at a time can be used- no TV while playing computer, etc.
Also, it’s important to make sure they stop and read and have tons of imaginative play too.
You know how we sort of joke about the social skills of IT people? I know it’s in jest, however it is important that we create a generation of kids that can be social outside of their personal technology bubbles.
I’m 24 and worried that by the time I have kids, the world will be even crazier, and I’ll be the mean parent for not letting my kids have iPhones in elementary school! I think some aspects of technology are great- like the ability to connect with people all around the world- and I’m thankful to be alive in this era. But, like other commenters, I want to set limits for my (future) kids and make sure they experience the great things about a now somewhat old-fashioned childhood like playing outside a lot and using their imagination. I really worry about striking the right balance. I guess people who are parents now are all learning how to deal with this together, and I’ll learn from them.
Heather Marie says:
I totally agree. I don’t have kids yet, and I worry what they will be asking for at Christmas. I work in a children’s clothing store, and almost every kid in a stroller has some sort of a device, ranging from iPad (and I was actually told this is HER iPad) to cell phone. I hate to sound old and cranky, but why aren’t any of these kids reading? Both me and my husband intend to set limits, and I don’t ever plan on having a dvd player in the car.
My 13 year old nice has no social skills. She can NOT hold a conversation with her aunts and uncles and Grandma and Grandpa. Your first thought is that she probably plays too many video games and can do this all the time any time, even when with family.
Not true. Know what she has in her hands ALL the time while ignoring the adults around her? A BOOK! Yes, a book! It’s great that she loves to read, but burying your face in a book while at Grandma’s house isn’t much different than burying your face in your DS.
My son is 15 and addicted to his hand-me-down laptop and yes, a few years back I had to switch to unlimited texting. He loves his XBox. However, during the school week we are technology free. We don’t watch TV, no XBox, no computer. When he was little, I instilled reading habits in him and now when he goes to bed, he has the music on and is reading something.
Don’t get me wrong, we certainly don’t have it all 100% right. This is all so new, what IS 100% right? And let me tell you he had a fit when I grounded him on Monday from TEXTING (he has a new female interest) because he has a D in a class.
Oh, and dad is a system’s engineer and I am a programmer. He can’t out-geek us if he tried.
After losing a 13 year old neighbor girl last week to bullying (she committed suicide) – I feel very strongly against cell phones for children. I know when I was in school there was bullying, but it ended at school. Now it continues into the day, night and weekends for kids because of cell phones, facebook, twitter. The list is endless. Why do 13 year olds need a phone much less a 1st grader as I have heard some do. There are still ways to get a hold of a child in elementary or middle school if something is important enough. It worked for me 40 some years ago.
amy vw says:
My husband and I talk about this all the time. We have 3 kids. Oldest is 14.5, then a 9 year old (both girls) and our 6 year old son. Oldest kid is a slave to technology. Cell phone. iPod touch. Facebook, Wii, you name it. She’s active (competitive gymnast), but during her down time, her face is stuck in her phone texting, or she’s on the laptop, or streaming stuff through Netflix. There are times when I swear she only knows how to relate to other humans via text or IM. Drives us crazy. We have started a policy of no phones/ipods/etc. at the table where we eat. After about 10 minutes, she begins to twitch from withdrawal.
We recently noticed that our younger two seemed to not know how to just play freely any more. Too much electronic gadgetry that seemed far more “fun” than being outdoors and having adventures. Requests to go out and play were met with a ton of whining and opposition. TV time was always limited, but even with those limits, they just pined for their time to sit and be couch potatoes. They’d watch the clock, waiting for their turn. It was nuts. So, my husband and I took a bold step: We dropped our cable tv service. Well, let me tell you, the difference in the younger two (as well as the oldest) has been nothing short of astounding.
Since we dumped cable, it’s like I have 3 new kids. They are all getting along better. There is far less fighting. They talk to one another. The younger two actually ask to go outside to play and have adventures. They ride their bikes. They run. They oldest reads or does homework. My whole house is so much more relaxed. My oldest (who still lives to text, don’t get me wrong) is far more inclined to engage in an actual (GASP!) conversation with us. It was such a small thing (and man, the initial protests…holy cow). But we are so much happier.
I have a 6 year old and a 2 year old… my 2 year old refuses to watch TV he will sit through maybe 15 minutes of mickey mouse and thats it.
He would rather we be reading to him, putting on music and letting him dance… I did breakdown and “santa” brought my daughter a DSI for xmas this year. It is very limited play one hour a night and no more. Unless it is a long car ride then she can play it.
I have decided that in the Summer as they get older I am not allowing them to be in doors watching tv or playing video games they need to be outside. I spent my youth outside and I have such memories.
As others have said, I think it’s all about balance. My kids are 3.5 and 14 months (my daughter was born a couple of weeks before Annie). I think some of it depends on the individual kid’s personality too. My son, even as a baby, was always content to sit with me and watch TV. It was a slippery slope–as a baby he would watch what I was watching, then as he was a toddler, I’d let him watch some kid-friendly shows while I was getting ready for work or making dinner. Before I knew it, he was watching about 3 hours of TV a day. Now he’s slightly obsessed with it. As soon as he walks in the house, he wants one of “his” shows on. When we go over other people’s houses, he asks THEM to turn the TV on (totally embarrassing). My daughter on the other hand, even though she’s young, shows relatively no interest in TV, unlike my son at her age. So….I’m sort of realizing that my son could totally become one of those kids who is media-obsessed. So we limit TV time by offering him other things to do, playing games (like actual board games), puzzles, coloring, etc. I haven’t introduced him to any video games yet because that will probably open up a whole other obsession. We don’t actually say we’re limiting TV time (because really I think it’s human nature that makes us want what we “can’t” have even more). We just provide alternatives. Which is why I just enrolled him in t-ball, even though I think 3 is way too young for “organized” sports.
I’ll second what Kate said. I’m very nearly 22 and grew up with technology in the home and at school. My mom was a little more strict about limiting our playtime (especially on the N64/PS2) but we were encouraged to do so many other things that ultimately we spent way more time playing sports, reading, or participating in extracurricular stuff at school that we generally only played videogames a lot if we had friends over.
The biggest concern I have about technology is that students have gotten lazy. (I say this as a student) It’s great that we can learn so much more about topics than our parents did, and do it faster, but most people aren’t careful about their sources and believe the first thing that pops up on google. Wikipedia certainly has its uses, but the fact that so many people are using an open source site that has a lot of inaccurate information for their primary research tool is kind of terrifying.
I also feel like it’s made my generation more self-absorbed. Everyone is so worried about who is commenting on their facebook or reading their blog that they aren’t paying attention to the world around them. I talked to someone this morning who didn’t realize that their had been an earthquake in Japan or airstrikes in Libya, or (more shockingly) that a professor at our school had passed away a few weeks ago.
Yes, my little fella, he’s a couple weeks younger than Annabel, he already wants to see the phone/camera after we take his picture. He too, can unlock my Nook e-reader. Speaking of, our 7 year old prefers the Nook to us reading to him. I still sit with him while the Nook “reads” and I insist that we pick a book off the shelf at least 3 nights a week so that we can read to him or he can read to us. (If for no other reason than he has dozens upon dozens of non-digital books and only a dozen or so digitals, which are rather expensive)
I like to think as long as we are there to guide them and give them the parental/human touch, technology can continue to be a good thing.
Rumour Miller says:
It’s amazing what they pick up on and learn from us and older siblings.
My 5 and (almost) 3 year old can navigate the iPad and computer like nobody’s business. My 5 year old had figured out Daddy’s password so she could download a new app! I didn’t even know she could read! hmpf
I know. Both my husband and I’s mothers live in other cities, so we often Skype so they can talk to and see Evangeline, who is 14 months old, days younger then Annabel. Anyhow, it’s gotten to the point that I say were is Nanny and Evangeline run’s to the laptop and starts pressing buttons. I just said to my husband the other day, by 2 years old she will be Skyping her Nanny herself.
It’s a scary thing where this technology is going. My 3 yr. old granddaughter knows how to use the remote on the TV, pretends to use her mom’s iPhone, and carries on a pretend phone call, and if anyone entered the room they would swear she was really talking to someone. She has it down pat. They are sponges, they pick up everything from us. Unbelievable. Not sure where to draw the line, technology is changing daily and they are so comfortable with it.
I think kids need to be tech savy but with moderation. For instance on the weekends it can be a privilege…not an instant gratification ( Video games, Ipads, Wii, PS,…etc. can not take over their life).
They need to be kids. Go outside and ride bike…play at the park… make friends. Run around!
Afterschool activities…whether it’s a girl or boy…there’s tons of things they can do to stay active. Just saying what worked for us!
We have 4 year old twins and once in a while they can play Angry Birds on my phone, or look at pictures, but for the most part we keep them technology free. There have a been a few articles about this and the fact technology is not really an ideal teacher for young kids.
If you are asking, and I’m not sure you are, I would honestly not let Annie have the iPhone. And i certainly wouldn’t let her put it near her head…given what we don’t know about the radiation the phone emits. In fact if you read the fine print on the paperwork that comes with your phone, there is something about keeping it x cm away from your head!
I think that technology should be introduced early and often but the kids should also be shoved out the door so they can know nature and understand the meaning behind watching a sunset, a babbling brook, chasing a butterfly, catching bugs for a bug catcher to watch.
Leigh Elliott says:
First off, love the pics of Annabel here – SO flippin’ cute!
Second, I find myself saying/thinking very similar things. My daughter is nearly 4 and is quite tech savvy. It scares me a little but I also and worries me. But then again, I think this is largely a generational thing and most kids this age are pretty fluent on mom and dad’s computers.
I just try to treat it like I do tv. Yes play with it and have fun, but I count it as ‘screen time’ and while we are definitely over the AAP’s recommended “2 hrs a day”, we do a lot of other things during our days that balance that time out, too.
I also am trying very hard to curtail my own “screen time” – namely, how much time I spend on my computer while my daughter is awake. “Everything in moderation” is what I strive for.
I think kids’ heavy use of technology is largely a mirror of adults’ heavy use. My husband is pretty technology-averse (doesn’t like cell phones at all, not a big fan of blogs and Twitter, although perfectly fine using computer/Internet/Hulu!), so having that “built in” to his personality helps me be more aware of whether a certain piece of technology is something I want in our lives or not.
We don’t have a smart phone or tablet, so that’s one area we don’t have to worry about on a regular basis, but I do sometimes have to watch how much I’m using the computer around the kids–and then how much I let our 3 year old son “watch something” (DVDs) or play games on the computer (right now, he can only play with assistance because the mouse befuddles him, so that helps us out!). I try to moderate my own technology use as a means to moderating theirs.
It is a little scary. I see it from another perspective though, too. It certainly affects the kids (and us) but unfortunately it also puts people out of jobs. Thats the truly frightening part to me. We “teach” computers to do everything to make it easier for us, yet this puts people out of work. I personally do medical transcription (to be home with my kids among other things) and see my career going away within a year or two, because who needs a human when a computer types for you? I do see the benefit for some (the gal whose son has disabilities and uses Dragon) but Dragon is exactly the program putting me out of a job! It’s frightening. I once had a college professor where our classroom computer was not working and he said, “If I had chalk and a chalkboard I could teach you today.” Sometimes I worry we are hurting ourselves more than helping. It’s the apocolyptic “we create the monster that eventually eats us.” Wow, that was deep, back to my cookie! Take care!
My son thinks every screen is a touch screen.
I don’t comment much on here, but as soon as I read your post this morning in my feed reader, I knew I had to get over here.
My husband and I were just talking about this – we were out to dinner the other night and at the table next to ours, there was a family sitting – 6 kids, 2 adults. EVERY SINGLE ONE of them had a gadget of some sort in their hand – iPhone, iPod, DS, PSP. Parents included. Kids looked like they ranged in age from 6-16. It just struck us as being so incredibly sad to see this family out to dinner together and not interacting at all.
I’m 28, so I came of age as the internet was growing popular. My parents never let us have a Nintendo or something of that sort, but we had a computer from the beginning because my dad was a computer programmer. I remember spending some time playing Babysitters Club on Prodigy (remember Prodigy?!?) but I spent far more time reading. On road trips, I would need a separate bag just for all of my books! Didn’t have a cell phone until my freshman year in college though. Now, I have my laptop, my blackberry, my ipod & kindle. Somedays I wish I could just disconnect from everything and go back to life the way that it was before all of this! But then how would I update my status?
All this to say that I’m glad that I grew up when I did, before all the distractions of today. It must be so hard to be a parent now.
Yes, kids take to technology with alacrity but if it is a concern for you, take the ‘phone or other gadget from her. Limit the amount of time spent on gadgets, balance it with other more physical activities, where possible.
It is a simple as that. You’re the parent.
If it isn’t a concern, no problem.
As a Technology Teacher at an elementary school, I feel the need to comment on this post. Here is my (very humble) opinion:
First of all, we are living in the Technology Revolution. Since we were not born into it, we (parents) are considered “technology immigrants” but our children are “technology natives”. It is their world and we need to accept that. However, I firmly believe in moderation. This is a GREAT site for parents that will help you raise your child in a digtial age and this particular article is fantastic:
I love their motto: “Sanity not censorship”
Also, please remember that when the printing press was invented, many people thought that BOOKS would be the downfall of the human race….what would happen if everyone could read??!! Now that seems ridiculous. It will be interesting to see what the future holds….
i think there has to be a balance to it. Not using the electronics to ‘watch’ your child and keep them out of your way. My daughter loves to play outside. but I do let her play games i pre screen on my wii, or movies i have watched on the tv, or educational games or painting on my computer. they are in an age where they will need to know how to use these things, but it is not a substitute for us teaching them things or parenting. Many games and shows help to reiterate the things i teach her and make them more fun. WE cuddle up together on the couch and watch a cartoon together and she tells me the ‘learning’ parts of it. then we have a preschool workbook and crafts we do afterwards that apply to the cartoon so she has the fun of seeing it on tv, but also gets the hands on application with mom. the wii games too help learning and help with dexterity and are fun for us to play together. I do have games and a couple of shows on my ipod for her to watch when we are out if she becomes bored for shopping, but she helps me pick out things at the store as well because i talk to her about them and ask her opinions. Like everything the electronics are good in a balance moderation, but we have to be there for them and teach them as well, not just plant them in front of a box all day because it keeps them quiet.
Katie B says:
I just recently wrote a similar post on my own blog (also titled 21st Century Kid!). My husband got a new iPod and since his old one still worked perfectly fine, now my 2.5 year old son has his OWN iPod. I feel very conflicted about it… As parents we’re going to have to face decisions our parents didn’t, like when to let them on Facebook and when they get their own cell phones. It seems bizarre, but I guess we have to muddle through, not quite knowing if we’re doing the right thing, like many other parenting decisions.
Bianca S says:
I’ll be honest with you – I’m already weirded out by the whole thing and I’m a 24-year-old firmly located in 2011. I don’t like – at all – that sort of glazed faraway look in their eyes whenever they get near a TV, Playstation, Nintendo DS, iPhone/iPod touch…
While there will be some parents (like you and Mike, I hope) who will be more than compensating for this screen time in other ways, plenty do not, and I am already seeing the effects of this kind of technology-immersed upbringing in the 11-18 year olds that I teach.
Every parent will make their own choices about what their children can and cannot have access to but I am personally very uncomfortable with this technology revolution and will be limiting access to it for any children that I may have (hopefully in 2012 or 2013 for the first one). I don’t think this sort of thing is “inevitable” – as the parent you surely have the power and freedom to decide what you want for your child.
Katie B says:
As a parent you definitely have the freedom to decide what you want for your child. Our son has an hour or less of “screen time” a day. But you cannot control their environment completely, especially when they get older.
I think it’s also important to remember that TV, movies and video games aren’t necessarily bad. My son has learned a lot from TV shows on PBS (letters, dinosaur names) and he’s learning counting from iPod apps. We reinforce his learning during the day, but often a game can keep his attention a lot longer than counting goldfish crackers.
I agree! I think there has to be a balance to it just like everything else in life… moderation!
It is worrisome but I do believe that earlier contact with technology will make our new generation smarter. The more they are stimulated the more their brain cells connect better! Long term plasticity !!!
As a teacher, I try to live by one very simple rule; anything, even water, is bad for you in excess. Kids need to know how to use technology, how to make it work for them and to select appropriate times where the use of technology is the best option but they shouldn’t be taught to view technology as exclusively the only medium. Since they are surrounded by it and have it pitched at them from a very young age, I think the only thing parents can do is build into normal routine opportunities for non-technological fun. No television, no toys with batteries, no video games… Head outside with a bat and ball and enjoy the sunshine!
Then you can tell everyone about it on Facebook later.