So MSNBC is running this story about a new study on the use of smartphones and similar devices in children. Looks like there’s a decent amount of media use for young kids out there. Let’s just go straight to the graphs:
The study notes:
Nine-month-olds spend nearly an hour a day watching television or DVDs, 5-year-olds are begging to play with their parents’ iPhones, and 7-year-olds are sitting down in front of a computer several times a week to play games, do homework, or check out how their avatars are doing in their favorite virtual worlds. Television is still as popular as ever, but reading may be beginning to trend downward…
Children under age 2 "spend twice as much time watching TV and videos (53 minutes) as they do reading books (23 minutes)," Common Sense Media says.
If you’ve been here for a while you may know that I bought my son an iPod Touch a few months ago and a year ago I noted that my son has more games on my phone than I have. Now I know what it sounds like – I’m some sort of a bad parent who uses technology like a pacifier. The thing is, for kids the ‘games’ that they play tend to be educational…or at least the ones I let my kids play are. They range from reading games, math games, shapes, colors, etc. My son can play a tile matching game five times before you can set one up using physical cards. And tv is no different for my kids (who do have a tv in their room but it’s not connected to cable – just dvd’s). Both of my kids were mesmerized by watching videos like Your Baby Can Read, Preschool PrepCo and Leapfrog videos. They thought they were being entertained – they were learning how to read before kids that go to school would and it works and it’s awesome. See, if used correctly then tv and ‘games’ are not the boogie man. They’re tools to help educate. I even let my son watch Sid the Science Kid on Netflix if he’s good. He learns about nature and science and actually ‘learns’ and then when we go outside he can talk about what he sees and how it was in the show.
Don’t be fooled. Today’s youth is not our youth. When we were young and we heard stories about our parents walking to school we laughed. Well our kids will be making fun of us for carrying around a backpack full of books and going to our lockers between classes to swap out the heavy ones. They’ll have a tablet and submit homework digitally. It doesn’t matter if you like that or not – that’s standard within 10 years if not sooner. You can either try to fight it or embrace. I’m letting my kids dive in head first because if done right and if they are a part of this technology from the start then it won’t be a shock to them in the future.
Both of my kids can easily navigate an iPhone or a Windows Phone and get to the “games” they play. And for the holidays I’m getting my older son that Sesame Street Kinect game. If you think that children shouldn’t be exposed to technology at a young age and you keep your kids on the sideline that’s fine with me. It just makes it easier for my kids to be at the top of the class…