Before the Toddler was born I was one of those purists. My child won’t watch tv. My child won’t have any screen time. It’s unnecessary.
To give post baby me some credit – he didn’t have much tv to begin with, the background noise of whatever I was watching. He just wasn’t interested. Then he was. And still is.
We live in a technical world, a world of smart phones and tablets. Where if you want the answer to something you google it. Where the internet makes things and people easily accessible.
I use the internet on a daily basis. Frequently. Not just with blogging. I check out Facebook, I play around on Twitter, I search Pinterest, I (occasionally) read the news. I use my phone to take photos so it’s never too far away. We Skype back to the UK so that my sons can have a relationship with people back home that miss and adore them.
So I ask, is technology for a 2 year old that bad?
In our house we have a smart phone each, an iPad, laptops and 2 TV’s. Nothing too excessive, but definitely 2 year old accessible.
He has full access to everything. He hasn’t quite grasped how to unlock the iPad when the pin is on and we have to frequently remind him that it’s OUR iPad not HIS but he is allowed to use it. Every day. For apps and for watching his beloved television shows.
He can put the t.v. on but can’t work the remote.
He can unlock my phone and take selfies. I often find a row of chin shots on my phone that I haven’t taken of him.
And sometimes I worry that it’s too much. Did you know that today the average child’s dexterity of their pointing finger is generally fully developed by aged 2 thanks to smart technology. Previously this wouldn’t develop until primary school age.
I can’t work out if that’s a good or bad thing.
But then I look around and I see what he is learning and gaining through the use of technology. It’s at this point I stop worrying.
The iPad enables him to have a relationship with his family as we are overseas. It enables him to talk to Daddy when either of us are away. It challenges him with various educational games to learn colours, and matching, and shapes.
Talking to Daddy in “Frozen Beak”
The TV gives me 5 minutes respite when I am trying to calm down Baby Boy and feed him. It allows the Toddler to sit still for 2 minutes and enjoy some snuggles. It allows for a bit of recharge time for all of us.
The photos that we take on my phone mean lasting memories, and a chance to update Daddy on our day, especially useful when we go back to the UK.
And on top of all that, other children use technology. Schools use technology. Gone are the days that you buy your lined paper from WH Smiths and hand in a beautiful handwritten essay done using your best fountain pen (or in my case my lucky chewed biro) kids these days email, they download onto USBs, they have an understanding of hardware and software, heck the blackboards are no longer blackboards but interactive digital contraptions.
Do I want my child to go into school “behind” in technology as I haven’t allowed him access to computers or iPads? No I don’t. I’m not saying he won’t catch up, because of course he will a childs capacity for learning is a tremendous thing, but if I don’t allow moderate access now would that mean that when we finally allowed access he would overdose on technology? Forget the joy of running outside and of using his imagination? Possibly.
And for all of the above, we will continue to allow the Toddler access to all of our technology. In moderation. Under our supervision. You won’t be seeing us buying him a new iPad for Christmas that’s for sure, though I wouldn’t say no to Santa bringing me one. Or a Mac, I’d really like one of those too…
I’m reasonably laid back like you hun. My daughter is watching telly now but we have read, visited her Grandma, been to soft play! Sometimes they need that chill out time like us! Plus if we use it lots it’s hard to say no! You are right as well; it’s a sign of the times now and they will need to know about technology for school! Great post xx #maternitymondays
Thanks Sarah. It’s so true, the world is changing and we need to embrace it. Though one of these days the boy will overtake me on the technical front!
Really interesting post Laura, I’ve thought about this lots as sometimes I feel like a bad parent when Monkey has the TV on or is playing on the tablet, but you’re right, its not all bad. I think as long as we give our kids a balance and they aren’t missing out on other things instead. It is interesting and I cant help wondering what technology will be around when our kids are adults! Sorry for the long waffley comment, thought provoking post! thanks for linking with #MaternityMondays xx
It’s such an emotive subject which you can be made to feel terrible over which I think is such a shame. I think I do over use it at times which then makes me feel terrible, its a roundabout!xx
I was a purist. Then the MIL bought daughter a ‘pad’ for Christmas.
Then the baby came.
Then she broke it.
Now she’s on my iPad because it’s easy and it keeps her happy while I feed the baby.
I love love love the pic with your son holding the baby’s head.
We are human. Kids are hard. Grab all the perks you can;)
Thanks Emma, he likes to stroke the baby’s hair. The baby has no hair but still! We use the iPad a lot so much more considering how purist I was, my bets are that the baby will be proficient by 6 months 🙂
This is such a conundrum for me…there seems to be so much ‘evidence’ flying around I never know what to think. Your point about how much technology is used in schools etc is really interesting…our children are the born digital generation aren’t they? And so true about Skype etc. it’s a lovely thing really. I remember when a video phone was a fantastical invention of the jetsons and now it’s normal. A really interesting read, thank you. #maternitymondays
It’s incredible how quickly it’s come on from the start of the digital generation.
I totally agree with you.
Obviously its a balance but I think kids and their parents can naturally find that balance, without having to place restrictions on time spent on it or worrying about the effects of it. There are lots of positives, like you say, and there are sooo many educational programmes and apps (way more educational shows and games than in my technology deprived youth – I mean we had amstrads and segas but none of them were educational like today!).
The ipad is invaluable on long car journeys! How did we do it as kids? Were we sedated?!
I think we sometimes think technology is bad when the reality as with almost everything it is all about moderation, and as long as he gets outdoors activity as well who cares really 🙂
I think that’s the key, we just need to remember everything in moderation. I’m sure somewhere there’s a case that too much running round is bad for them…
The boys just aren’t allowed to touch my iPad at all!! Or my phone! Not because I think it’s bad for tiny people to learn about technology but because they were so expensive and I can’t afford for them to be broken!! 😉 Thanks so much for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday — hope to see you again next week! x
Caro | http://www.thetwinklediaries.co.uk
There is that! Our iPad has seen better days having had porridge dripped all over it!
I think everything in moderation – I agree that technology is part of their world. far more than it was mine growing up (and my mum lectured in computer science, so it was more part of mine than my friends) so there’s no point trying to ignore it. But for now I’m trying to limit TV and her playing with apps on my phone, so they’re a ‘treat’ when I really really need them, such as while we’re travelling. Admittedly I am sligthly a hypocrite, as I usually want to use the phone myself 🙂
That’s very true, I think you’re right the key in everything is to always go with moderation. I am still in awe at how much and how quickly it’s penetrated our lives x
Our kids have pretty much full access to tech, but with time limits. The boys are trusted to use my new iMac unattended, with an automatic time limit. Isaac (7) has his own Hudl tablet which Toby is allowed to use the iPad at certain times. Both of then learned how to use Apple touch screens pretty much as soon as they learned to walk. Kara is less interested in technology but all three of them are highly tech literate, and because they have always grown up with tech around them, they are respectful of it and understand exactly what they can or can’t do.
Technology allows them to watch YouTube videos to show them how to do new things or to learn about new places. It allows then to practise their hand-eye co-ordination and problem-solving skills through games like Minecraft. And being familiar with technology means they are at the forefront of being comfortable with tech in schools, so there are no worries on that front.
As with anything, technology itself is great in moderation. Restricting kids’ access too much is just as dangerous as leaving them unrestrained. A little balance is fine, I think.
Tim, I am so glad that you have responded with this. I haven’t thought about the other side of restriction in that it might make the kids go into tech gluttony when they are allowed their hands on it.
I love the tech literacy that kids these days have, it scares me, but I want to embrace it. Minecraft, I’m sure is in my future having 2 boys! I do enjoy a YouTube tutorial myself, in fact it makes it much easier. If I was braver I would vlog myself but I hate the way I sound, I don’t want to pass that on to the boys (who incidentally love watching videos of themselves, well the Toddler does!)