My Young Kids Play With Gadgets
Tom Keating makes note of an article that appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution saying that U.S. children start using gadgets like video games, mobile phones, and portable music players by age 7–six months earlier than a year ago.
My son, who just turned six, already plays Super Mario 3 on his Gameboy. He was in front of a computer using it somewhat intellegently at the age of three. My daughter, who is two, plays with an old mobile phone that I loaded up with BabyToy and tries to “play” my son’s Gameboy and other assorted handheld video games (games we got as Happy Meal toys). She also tries to play with the computer as well, though she mostly just beats on the keyboard and occasionally turns it off.
Am I surprised that kids play with gadges at an earlier age? Hell no. I’m contributing to it. Am I worried? Not really. In fact, I was talking to someone at work this week about the pervasiveness of technology in today’s youth. My kids generation are going to have so much exposure to technology that they will be, to borrow a phrase, technologically amphibious. What does that mean? Everything we use today such as cell phones, the Internet, computers, and a host of other digitally enabled things will simply be second nature to them. It will be part of the fabric of their existance. They won’t know a life without these things.
A while ago, we were having Internet problems at home. My son was not happy because he was unable to go to his favorite website. I had to explain to my son that the Internet is down and we can’t get to it right now. He didn’t understand that it could be not there. Now it could be his age and his persistence in asking for what he wants even when we tell him no, but I think it demonstrates the view in the future–a future where we will always be connected. There will be no such thing as offline.