It may be the way of the times but if you ask me there’s no replacement for the good ‘ole outdoors and one-on-one times with childhood friends.
According to a recent survey (not that we needed one to tell us this) kids are entering the digital era at younger ages than ever before, and it appears (many) parents are encouraging the behaviour. There are computers on the market for babies and toddlers these days and believe it or not, at least a quarter of all North American children are going online daily by the age of three. Seriously? Two-year olds are sitting down with laptops and I didn’t get my first cell phone until the age of 35... Hmmm...
“The worst thing you can do right now is put your head in the sand and say this whole thing is a fad,” says Warren Buckleitner, a former teacher and founding editor of Children’s Technology Review.
I agree. Technology is here and it’s here to stay, but on the flip side, I don’t believe it needs to dominate one’s life either – especially from such a tender age. Somewhere along the way human to human, face to face interaction is falling to the wayside and what is that going to do when it comes encouraging the development of real life social skills?
If a child is plunked in front of a computer from the age of three, this can easily become a way of habit for both child and parent and at the expense of what? Catching a ball? Playing hide and seek, penmanship and all of the other activities that come along with being a child.
Bottom line – like everything else – life is about moderation. Infinite amounts of anything aren’t good for anyone. (Well maybe that’s a debatable statement.)
Helping your child to develop skills in the world of technology can be a good thing, if that is, computers and the like are used to sharpen the brain and to enhance cognitive skills, but computer time can’t be all consuming either. When you drive by a school playground and see little kids sitting on the bench texting when they should be getting some exercise and developing friendships, there just seems to be something wrong with the picture.
Back in the day – pre-cell phone and laptops – there was hopscotch, monkey bars and tag and I think for the most part, we turned out just fine. There’s plenty of time for technology to take over. Sometimes a kid just needs to be a kid.