Toddlers and Technology
In the run up to Christmas it was interesting to see people milling around the shops, filling their trolleys with toys, books and general gifts for their family and children. What topped your Christmas list for your children? Are you pro or anti technology?
As a parent and a blogger I’m always interested to know know what peoples views are in regards to allowing their children access to technology.
Having been raised myself with computers and games consoles from a fairly early age. I recall programming our Amstrad Computer with Basic at primary school age, and loading games with a cassette tape, to playing the first mario bros games on our nintendo.
I guess for this reason I’m liberal with technology, Quentin is a curious three year old. He’s bright and eager to have a go at anything especially if he thinks he can’t have it.
We have a good balance of outdoor toys, wooden train/road sets, jigsaws, play kitchen as well as a childs electronic key board, musical toys, electronic reading devices like the Leapfrog tag systems, normal reading books, toy cars, arts and crafts too!
Quentin expresses an almost equal interest in all of them, As a parent I found completely refusing access to something increased his frustration which then led to him wanting prolonged access to various toys when he was allowed them. So we took his lead, and started to apply boundaries as necessary. For instance Quentin will have supervised access to our tablet computers or smart phones on weekends for a maximum of a couple of hours. He knows now that he’s allowed so access on weekends and is happy with that, all other times we encourage him to use his other toys. Even if he asks to use a particular device he will generally respond well to the reasons he can’t or understands if the device requires more ‘battery’.
His birthday and christmas gifts compiled a collection of all types of toys from a wooden mini golf set to the soon to be opened Innotab 2, a children’s educational tablet computer, designed to combine learning and technology.
In a world where schools place as much emphasis on being able to use a computer keyboard as equally as important as using a pen where do you start?
For us there was no question of allowing or denying access to any kind of technological device, as they are integral to our society, and although he’s been having access to our phones etc since he was about 2 and a half years old; we feel Quentin will ultimately benefit from from having access to these devices for years for come.
The Wider World
I know people at both ends of the spectrum, I have friends who allow almost zero exposure to any kind of electronic toy or device; to those whose child’s toy box contains very little else but noisy technology based toys.
A few opinions kindly provided by my friends:
“I would rather have no technology at all while they are young, we watch minimal TV (10 mins a day at the mo) and dont have anything like iPads. They do go on my phone, and Freya can use the desktop computer, but if I was awake enough to do things as I’d really like to, they wouldn’t use any of it. I won’t be encouraging the use of technology until they are older (probably 8+) and I don’t think this will affect them in the future. They will catch up, I’d rather have them not infront of a screen too much until then. Ideally I’d live somewhere more remote and wouldn’t use a phone or TV at all, I’d love that! I wish I used technology less.”
Kirsten, Mum of Two
“I personally think that we live in the age of technology and we have to be aware of that when raising our kids. Mine all have access to an ipad, laptop, desktop, DS’s TV etc… They have stacks of toys and technology certainly doesn’t take away from imaginative play but I don’t want them to be behind their peers on the tech front either.”
Jocasta, Mum of 5
“I’m reluctant to expose Alfie to it too much. I don’t put the telly on in front him, however his father does which I don’t agree with, nor do I like him being exposed to violent/sexual computer games. We both use our phones around him, although I try very hard not to. The computer is out of reach, but he does see us using it. I think as he gets older and perhaps begins to show an interest, then I’ll probably let him have supervised time with the phone/laptop etc, but I won’t encourage it. His father is of the opinion that by the time Alfie goes to school, they’ll be learning from ipads and he’ll be picked on if he doesn’t have a phone/playstation etc. I personally would rather encourage his imaginative play than to shove him in front of a games console.”
Verity, Mum to Alfie (21 months)
Where do stand in the spectrum of technology?