Tech babies are learning quicker than ever how gadgets work.
The world kids are growing up in today is so different than any other. My toddler does not know what a corded phone or CRT TV looks like. She thinks of a mobile phone as a device that makes calls to grandma, takes photos and video, plays all her games, lets her watch the Wiggles movies, and she even thinks it controls the TV.
Surprisingly, at age 1 she could swipe to open my phone and iPad without being taught, find the most appealing apps and play them. Before she could even say more than a few words, she figured out how to take a video on my password-locked iphone, bypassing opening it, when we were out at dinner. The footage of the couple across from us turned out pretty well too. Now that she can talk a bit more, she can help her grandparents navigate and force them to dive into deeper tech waters just because they want to spend time with their granddaughter who is already super engaged in the gadgets. I’ll admit it – even at age two, she helps me out to find apps that were pre-installed that I never knew were there. I’m sure she’ll be a hardcore programmer at age 5 and can teach me a thing or two.
There are some parents I know who – like good hippies – try and prevent their children from discovering how wonderful TV and gadgets can be. Then I know others who buy their kids iPads as toddlers and babies and encourage them to master the app games.
I’m somewhere in between. It is important for kids to know how to work gadgets and not to be sheltered. If they are, I think that they will suffer when they are old enough to enter the real world. By that time, if you aren’t wired into the world, I suspect that you will have a hard time getting a job. The world could be divided into those that reject technology and those that embrace it. Nomophobia is a fear of losing a mobile phone – is already a reality today for the majority of owners. There is a separation anxiety we experience when away from our phones. For the babies of tomorrow, I can imagine that their whole identity may be tied to a gadget with data stored on the next best thing to replace the cloud.
Everyone wants their children to have a better life than they did, full of more opportunities, but there does come a point where too much technology could be harmful to their health. For example, as insecure tweens and teens, the pressures to give into the physical dangers of texting while driving (or walking for that matter), coupled with the thick skin they will need to withstand the psychological dangers from strangers as well as bullies from social media, are part of life that they will have to adapt to that we never did.
Thinking about what the future holds for our children is mind-bloggling, but let’s just hope that it won’t be a big brother world with their every move being calculated on every inch of the globe so there is not such thing as taking a break from technology to “get away from it all”. That isn’t the life I envision for my children. There is no doubt about it though – the young children of today are going to experience things and do things much differently than us. Let’s just hope it’s to their benefit.