The Techie Child

If I had some extra money burning a hole in my pocket, I'd spend it on an iPad for my daughter. Yes, I realize that she is not quite two years of age just yet, but she really loves technology in all forms. One might say that she gets it. Of course, this can be said about most children these days. Parents have smartphones, televisions, mp3 players, laptop computers, and at least one gaming system in the household. (Am I right?) My little Danger loves the app 'Angry Birds.' There is also an alphabet tracing app that my daughter loves - I like it because it helps to reinforce our alphabet lessons during her playtime.

Aside from the talk about technology turning our children's brains into mush, there is something sinister about technology that as parents, we sometimes overlook. How often do we leave our phones/computers/etc. sitting around unsupervised and fully within our child's reach? If given the chance, kids would sit around for hours and play mindless games, visit frivolous (and sometimes dangerous) websites, and gain exposure to people/ideas that we, as parents, don't deem suitable for our children.

Example: A couple months back, a little girl informed me that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart (of epic Twilight fame) were having unprotected sex and had conceived a child. She learned this by visiting an adult website (not pornographic by nature, but still containing adult material) while her parents were doing other things.

In many regards, technology is well-suited for childhood. There are so many educational videos, games, and applications that make learning fun for children. My daughter has a Tag Jr. from Leap Frog that reads books to her when I am taking a short break from playing teacher.

Games, videos, and applications can all be fun and useful tools for reinforcing educational concepts in the mind of the child, but moderation is key. I can think of absolutely no reason why a child should have complete and unlimited access to technology, though, and it is very important that technology be used to supplement the education of the child, not to replace the parent/teacher's involvement. I think that the most important thing to remember about technology is that children should always be supervised when using it.

What are your thoughts? Do you think that children should use mp3 players, smartphones, internet, etc.? If so, what measures do you take to ensure that your child is not being negatively influenced or harmed from technology use?