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?