Posts Tagged links

Baby digital age

Jack and the MacOn just my last entry, I poked fun at Jeff and Jack geeking out.  In fact, a slew of my photos include Jack “plugged” into various devices.  With such impeccable timing,  I read an excellent article on Babble that I think is geared directly at us and many of our peers. The article, Littlest Surfers by Camille Sweeney, discusses toddler and preschoolers’ internet activity, video games and the evolution of technology and edutainment, specifically for those under 5.  As cute as we think it is, how much is too much?

A decorative shelf in our living room that once housed decanters and a sculpture is now the “home” for ipods, cell phones and other small electronic devices that I’d prefer to keep in tact. Jack watches me peck at my computer every now and then while he’s awake, so naturally, he’s intrigued. If I leave the laptop open and walk away to go to the bathroom, my man has his chubby little paws all over the keys, as if he knows what he’s doing. He’s certainly at the copycat phase, where he HAS to do everything we’re doing.  Computers, cell phones and technology are around us every day, so how do we tackle this topic in a way that works best for us?  This article points out several points of interest, especially now that Jack is monkey seeing and monkey doing.

Growing up, even now, as a new mom, I often heard my parents say, “I didn’t have that when I was your age.”
Um, yeah. I now say that to my nieces and nephews. And soon, I’m sure I’ll say it to Jack.  Undoubtedly, that phrase applies to all the video game consoles, software, the internet in general and the almighty cell phone!
The article points out:

“We’re at a transitional moment,” says Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children’s Technology Review and author of a recent study on young children’s tech habits. “It used to be there were two main platforms for technology, Mac and Windows. Now, there are over twenty, including Nintendo DS and Wii that kids as young as two-and-a-half can play,” he explained. “Kids are surrounded by screens in a way like never before, at home, in their pockets, in the minivan, and they know how to use them at younger and younger ages.”

While he believes access to technology can make our kids smarter and prepare them for many educational and social challenges ahead, he adds a caveat: Parents must be a part of it.

While I’m still figuring out my bearings on this whole parenting gig, I couldn’t agree more with that last statement.

The article goes on discuss online safety and how parent’s interaction is paramount with their child’s online activity. If you watch the news or read the papers, that should be a given.

My kid is a bit young to be surfing the web. His attention span isn’t long enough for me to type in a the length of the url. But I’m sure, we’ll cross that path one day soon  But once he does reach that age, Sweeny has a list of the best sites for the preschool set.

Recommended Sites for Small Children (6 months to 5 years):

PBS Kids

Fisher-Price

Sesame Street

Internet4Classrooms

Boohbah Zone

UpToTen

CBeebies

This is Daniel Cook

Exploratorium: The Science of Music

KneeBouncers

Starfall

But most importantly, the article says,

There’s a lot to empower little kids, but for the ones still under two-and-a-half, keep it balanced, go analog, go organic. The most enriching experience you can offer them is to get a cat.

and better yet,

For a baby especially, anything that takes away from that human interaction would be less than optimal.

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Gadget Geek’s ABCs

geek boyNot surprisingly, Jack is a gadget geek, just like mom and dad.  The minute we set down one of our ipods or phones, he snatches it up and tries to “use” it.  With the phone, he’ll hold it up to his neck and jabber away.  With the ipod, he already knows that the earbuds go in his ears.  Every now and then, Jeff will let him “play” along or watch a little video, as if he really knows what he’s doing.  He’s truly a product of his environment, that’s for sure.

Like me with my computer, Jeff has been addicted to his iTouch lately.  He’s got a long list of apps that he plays endlessly, so when I saw this kid-centric app on Geek Dad today, I had to share it:

ABC Animals is a clever application because it can be used by children across a large age range. I’m not sure if the developers at Critical Matter intended this. But, I’ve found it can be used by children as young as 18 months, up to as old as seven – depending on their level of development. And, given the rate at which children grow and develop during the first 7 years of their life this a decent achievement.

With Jack interested in counting and ABCs now, this app is certainly of interest.  While nothing replaces old fashioned learning from books, I have a feeling this will be one of the next downloaded apps.

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