Have you ever watched a three-year-old play with an iPad? It’s actually quite shocking. The way those chubby fingers fly round the screen, leaving smeery fingerprints as they go, and the way the machine is handed back to you with 2% battery power.
While nobody was looking, something has happened to today’s tots. They’ve become ‘screen-agers’, who intuitively know that an iPad isn’t a toy, it’s a toy chest of apps and games.
Here at Circles, I’m continually nagged, harassed and cajoled until I give in and pass the iPad over to the children. LB can find and play a whole raft of kids’ apps (check iGameMom.com for some great ideas) and his six-year-old brother is just a click away from downloading hundreds more from the Apple Store.And, I’m the first to admit, it’s the most wonderful electronic babysitter – especially during those times when you need to get things done, like make dinner, or drive.
I’d go so far as to suggest that iPads might even have been designed with young children in mind. They’re small and compact, with no power cords to trip on or chew, and they’re instantly on, cutting down on whinge time. What’s more, they’re made to be touched, with no keys to get jammed up with juice or bashed.
I worked out today that by the time my children reach middle school, they’ll have been using an iPad almost every day for eight years.
But just as noteworthy is the way modern technology has crept into every part of our children’s lives. Kids can learn to read and count on iPads, they can colour in virtual colouring books, bake electronic pies and video the ceiling. They can watch cartoons and movies on iPads and play games galore. And that’s not all: modern technology can even infiltrate prayer time.
My good friend and mother of BB’s girlfriend told me yesterday that after saying a prayer for her five-year-old daughter that evening, she was asked: “Mommy, say ‘send’.
So cute, it was worth a whole blog post!
It’s amazing how quickly things change in just a few years, isn’t it? When my first boy was born in 1993, we had just bought our first family computer and had begun using a little e-mail with the few other people who used it, too(mostly at work.) He watched videos (DVDs were not yet mainstream) and listened to a Lil’ Tots cassette player that he liked to carry around. In the subsequent 19 years, we’ve gone from VHS to DVD to Blu-Ray to Streaming, and from clunky little kid computer games (that you bought in bulky boxes and installed on the computer that lived on a desk in the study) to GameBoy, then DS, then, X-box, Wii, and now Angry Birds that can be played on any mobile phone or iPad. And of course, we don’t own a desktop anymore – everyone has his own laptop. When we were with my 3-yo niece right before we moved to Seoul, I was so jealous that her mum could just hand her her mobile or an iPad and let her entertain herself – ‘back in the day’ that just wasn’t an option!
In fact, I’ve started taking the iPad to restaurants now to keep the kids entertained – and if they start fighting over it, I hand over my phone too!!
Yes, I can see how fast the kids can adapt to anything the world hands them! BTW, we don’t have an IPAD . We’re holding out until we really need it. Right now, the laptop is what C plays with.
The kids have even worked out which device has a better Internet connection! (the laptop) 🙂
reading this while DS (aged not-quite-3) is on the ipad playing DJ with itunes. Quite remarkable, I agree. And love the story, too funny 😉