Monday, June 22, 2009

When is it too young to learn to use technology?

I finally broke down last week. I bought my first Apple product--and my first cell phone in more than 4 years. Yep, I bought an iPhone. But not the "old" iPhone selling for $99; I had to get its newest brethren, the 32GB iPhone 3GS. And what do I think of it, you ask? I love it!!!! However, I felt selfish spending that kind of money on myself, so I thought I'd try to find some apps that other members of my family could enjoy on the phone as well. And, one of the first apps I downloaded was a game.

Remember the old card-matching games we played when we were kids? Where you turned over 2 cards at a time to try and find matching pairs, and had to remember where the match was in the set when the cards were turned back over? That's what I downloaded for my 3 year old. I got him to try it out yesterday, and while he hasn't completely gotten the hang of touching the screen, he has asked me to play it again at least a dozen times. And it got me thinking....when is it OK to introduce the world of technology to a child? On one hand, it is like a second language that they can pick up easily at this age, like living in a bi-lingual household. However from personal experience, technology, (while I do love it) has made my life more hectic with trying to keep "in touch" and "staying connected" with family, friends, and colleagues...not to mention trying to stay current on the latest and greatest hardware, software, and freeware available. Plus, throw in antiquated legislation that doesn't support the means of communication we have at our disposal, or the ubiquity of the Internet that can't be policed enough to safeguard our children--even though that should include teaching users how to navigate safely in it.....but I digress....., I guess I'm wondering if I'm helping him get acclimated to the world he will grow up in by playing a virtual memory card game on my iPhone, or am I just helping him along down the path towards a life full of reliance on that which we use, but which society hasn't truly figured out how to harness yet? On the other hand, perhaps when he is old enough to make some of these "user" decisions on his own that I grapple with regularly, the laws will have caught up with the tech, and society will have gotten a firmer grasp on the functionality that we have at our disposal and the myriad wonderful, positive, ways it can be used on a daily basis?'s to hoping so, anyhow!!


Anonymous said...

I never think anyone can be too young or too everything, it needs to be monitored. We don't let a 3 year old eat an entire box of Oreos, do we?? It is the same with technology. Moderation is the key. I believe you are giving him a leg up, for sure.