Baby Holly popped out into the world five months ago, the first thing she saw was the flashing of a camera courtesy of the midwife. They’re not photos I’m keen to share, by the way. In fact, they’re not photos I particularly wanted taken. But, despite not having the stomach to look at them, I also don’t have the heart to destroy them.
My point is, technology is everywhere, so it’s hard to shield our li’l ones from it. However, I believe there’s a limit on when and how much. While we were unsuccessful in not allowing Ella TV before age two, the rule has been strictly adhered to for technology.
Every child and every family will be different. Now at three, Princess Ella has already been exposed to her nan’s iPhone and played games and watched clips on the ABC website (she knows the web address by heart, thanks to Giggle and Hoot). But it’s been in moderation and with mum and dad assisting.
Before they’re bamboozled with iPads and iPhones, I want our girls to learn to write their name on a piece of paper with that wooden thing called a pencil. Let’s paint a picture with “real’’ paint, not some computerised paint program that has a pop-up telling you Dora is your friend. Make music using instruments – yes, a saucepan is so an instrument. And let’s look at nature actually in the outdoors (view our post tomorrow as part of Sunday Selections).
Technology can be fun and educational, but there’s nothing quite like the real thing. My goal for my two girls is simply to aim for some balance. And somehow manage to keep Holly away from it until she turns two – but I know the chances of that are as likely as Bill Gates going broke. Then, the fun really begins. Just ask Shelly from Tropical Mum.
THERE is only a small number of minor issues with exposing your child to technology at a young age. One such issue became obvious when I showed Princess Ella a butterfly just resting on the screen door yesterday afternoon. The butterfly, obviously knackered by a full day of doing whatever the heck it is butterflies do, was enjoying a lovely rest and was not moving an inch. Ella looked at it closely, looked at me and look at it again. She then looked up at me and in the most innocent tones asked: “Has it run out of batteries?”
A tentative grasp on reality aside, there should be little fear when introducing your child to the wonders of modern technology. God knows, this generation of kids is going to grow up in a world dominated by it.
It’s interesting to see my good wife try and argue otherwise as we both sit here with a laptop each on our laps, connected to our wireless broadband network and iPhone within easy reach. Seriously, the sooner kids learn to deal with technology the better prepared they will be to deal with life in the 21st century.
Just cast your mind back 10 years. A decade ago, when our marriage was in its infancy, we had dial up internet, which would drop out more than it would connect, a desktop computer which took up a whole desktop and a mobile phone which did nothing but make phone calls and send text messages (how did we cope!).
Well in 2021, imagine the world Princess Ella will be living in as a 13-year-old. My guess is she won’t attend school as kids will attend virtual classrooms, she’ll have an iPad the size of a Golden Book and will be capable of texting at a rate of 233 words per second. So, why fight it?
My only hope is, that by the time Ella is actually a teenager, there’s an iPhone app I can download which gives me the names and addresses of any boy who dares look twice at her.
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This post was part of Day 19 of 31 Days To Build A Better Blog – write an opinion piece.