Today I was watching my daughter play with my wife's phone; and realized that she's mastered our smart phones, iPad, iPods, and iMac at the ripe old age of 23 months. I started thinking about how the world has changed since I was a child to now... what a chilling thought. Today we can get a hold of anyone at any time, located almost anywhere on the planet and know exactly where they are with a push of a button. I never imagined that I would have children that would learn to use a complex computers before they would learn to tie their shoes.
When I was a child if you couldn't reach your friend on the phone, you would simply call back in an hour or so, not try every phone number and text address you have on your phone. The amazing thing is that children's capacity to learn is immense, but is what they are learning that good for them... a question for another post.
I often think back to the time when I didn't feel cut off from the world if I left the house without my cell phone, or the joy of seeing red illuminated number of all the messages on our enormous answering machine (all technology was big in the 70's).
I'm not looking forward to is my daughters involvement with text "lingo". It drives me crazy when I see my nieces typing in shortened "text" lingo when they are using a full keyboard. When I see LOL, LMAO, BRB, or OMG used all the time I think WTF! Maybe the people at FB and Twitter knew what they where doing when they limited the characters you can use in a text, because when it comes right down to it there is little substance in a lot of text's and tweets.
The upside to the technology is that it has become more 'mobile' than ever. We can take the cool educational games on our iPad just about everywhere to keep our daughter entertained. She has also becomes comfortable with computers at an early age.
The down side is that we have become so much more 'impersonal' than any time in recent history. It seems we text at times because we don't want to take the time to have a "real" conversation... I wish my mom would text at times. I also find that a lot of people say things in texts they would never say directly to a person, which leads me to believe that it probably shouldn't be said if that is the case.
I love that my daughter gets the most pleasure out of direct contact with her mom and I, and would still prefer to play at the beach or park more than texting friends from the couch, for now anyway. I love to see the joy my daughter gets from learning new things; and the wonder of exploring, now if I can just teach her how to balance it all?
My wife's aunt sent me an email once that said "don't let your baby's grow up to be jpegs" because we rarely printed out any of the hundreds of pictures we have stored on our computer, I guess the same should be said about exposing our children to too much technology, too fast... I don't know how that jingle would go?
It all comes down to being smart about how and to what extent we allow our children access to technology, and I definitely don't want it to have the "dummy down" affect on my kids.