Technology is having a curious effect on this generation of children. Everett was adept at using the iPad before his second birthday, and it continues to be a treat to use and an object of desire (it is remarkable that Apple achieved this response from almost any age group). We have heard similar stories from other parents. A friend from Cleveland recently reported that her daughter was going to call her a turd all day unless she got the iPad. Another friend we know from Cleveland told Melissa that her son’s desire for the iPad became such a problem that it went away to summer camp and never came back home. At times the iPad can be both educational and entertaining. However, it still counts as screen time, and there are rules in our house about when and how much screen time is permitted: no screen time in the morning before school; 30 minutes of screen time on school days; 30-60 minutes of screen time per day on weekends; unlimited screen time in the “movie car” during long trips or during flights.

Everett does not have his own phone or other portable device, but we feel confident that he will before we know it. This will likely be accelerated by the fact that his cousin who his twice his age, and who Everett admires and emulates, has her own cell phone. Feedback we have received from many parents about such devices has been consistent: no devices in bed; no device usage past a certain time at night; explain to the child that you will be monitoring their online activity. Clearly one concern is that children will have unfettered access to the wild west that is the Internet. Another concern is that they will lack basic skills because of over reliance on technology. For example, one father of a high school senior recently wrote about how his son does not know how to mail a letter. A third concern is that, by virtue of the near universal popularity of these devices, parents will begin to rely on them too much around their children.

Before the twins were born, Melissa found several apps to track the behavior and bodily functions of babies. The one that she chose is specialized for tracking twins, and makes it much easier to capture information that she used to document with pen and paper. Among other things it tracks diaper changes, diaper contents, nursing time and duration, and which side each baby nursed from. After a couple weeks she commented how she couldn’t imagine managing this information without her phone. And a few weeks after that she quit using it altogether and managed the babies using raw maternal instincts. This is another desirable but perhaps under appreciated outcome of using technology: trust and confidence in your own judgement becomes more valuable than the detailed information that these devices are so capable of capturing.

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One thought on “Apps

  1. I agree. Thankfully, Everett’s imagination will always outshine the electronics fascination and the twins will follow him.

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