Toddler Tech Support

By working at the YMCA I meet a lot of people. Different people from different backgrounds with different ethnicity’s. Different people who harbor a variety of moral values, ethical view points, and opinions. Oh, so many opinions.

Now I want to preface that I’m not a bad lifeguard, but sometimes the pool is really slow. During the quiet hours I welcome the social member who approaches my chair. Most of the time we talk about the weather, the YMCA facilities, or the economy, but today I had a conversation that was different.

This women, who I’m going to re-name Krista, was leisurely swimming her laps when we got to talking about the unusual cold front we’d been having. Before I knew it, Krista and I were talking about what is, in my opinion, a highly controversial subject. Children and electronics.

Krista, who is a new grandmother, was telling me how her baby grandson just got an iPad for Christmas. She told me how it’s amazing to watch him navigate through the different Ap’s. In her opinion, it’s great that he’s getting a handle on the technology at a young age.

“In her opinion, it’s great that he’s getting a handle on technology at a young age.”

I couldn’t disagree more! I think Krista could see the discontent in my eyes because her quizzical look was all the open door I needed.

I tried to explain to Krista how I personally believe introducing kids to a high dose of technology (cell phones, iPads, computers) is bad for their development. Toddlers are cognitively unable to comprehend the dangers of overuse. Heck, even us adults have a hard time understanding that too much social media, or too much laptop time, or too much anything tech is BAD. Bad physically, and mentally. When we overuse social mediums our social skills become dull. When we spend too much time on electronic devices we run the risk of eye damage, sleeplessness, and even psychological disorders in extreme cases.

The facts have been gathered, tested, and distributed… the awareness is what’s lacking.

Krista doesn’t agree. Krista remembers when computers first came out; her daughter was in middle school and one of her homework assignments required her to type on the computer. Krista had to bring her daughter to the library to use the cities computers since they had not purchased one yet. To this day Krista thinks that if she had purchased her daughter a computer, she would have had a better handle on the technology, would have gotten better grades, made it into a better college, and gotten a better job.

Cue jaw drop.

But wait, Krista just wants what every mother wants for their children; the very best.

This mind set leaves Krista ecstatic when she sees her grandson navigating his new Apple iPad. Her pride billows over as she tells me how her s p e e c h l e s s little 2 year old can operate his iPad like a pro! Let me re-emphasize that, this child is barely out of diapers and he is operating a device I can’t even afford.

“This child is barely out of diapers and he’s operating a device I can’t even afford.”

Krista sees only opportunity. Opportunity for her grandson to get ahead of the game in our tech driven society. I can understand her point but Im afraid she is underestimating the power of these small inanimate tools. Especially on the cognitive, social, and emotional development of her grandson.

I wonder if my opinion will change when I have kids of my own.

Stay tuned for updates.

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