A recent conversation with my two-year-old nephew has made me realise just how tech savvy children are. Is this interest nurturing a generation of children who are a step-ahead of parents on the technology front?
I had a fascinating phone conversation with my nephew who believed I could see through the telephone to see exactly what he was seeing (building a diving board with his Lego kit).
Now this was no childish naivety (he knew I wasn’t there with him). He, like many children today, has grown up with advanced forms of communication.
Staying in-touch with video calls
In order to keep in touch with family across the UK and overseas we use Skype and have ‘face-to-face’ conversations through our computers. He’s so accustomed to such technology that he presumed I was enjoying his new build while on the phone to him. Perhaps I was lucky I couldn’t see, as I heard a few crashes swiftly followed by tears.
Now he’s a little step ahead of his grandmother – she calls this activity ‘facebooking’ when she really means video calls. No doubt the terms ‘Skype’ and ‘video call’ will quickly enter my nephew’s vocabulary (and his grandmother’s too).
Computer whizz kids
My boyfriend was a bit of a whiz kid with computers from a young age. His interest in the 1980s BBC television show ‘Chock-A-Block’ developed a fascination with computers that essentially shaped his career in later life (he’s now an IT developer).
In fact, he recalls learning his alphabet via a keyboard and became more familiar with the letters in ‘qwerty’ format than his ABCs. Although this approach is perhaps unusual, it shows how quickly children can cotton on to a concept if it appeals to their interests.
In fact, a survey by AVG last year found that 69% of kids aged 2 to 5 can use a computer mouse, but only 11% can tie their shoes. Plus, apparently more of them know how to play a simple video game (over half), than can swim (a fifth).
I’m all for a healthy balance of traditional forms of play (make-believe, reading and of course outdoor games) but feel that balancing this with clever developments in technology will mean that kids are really tuned in to embracing technological change.
I sometimes wonder whether children are attracted to tech just because, it’s well, shiny. But perhaps more credit should be given to the manufacturers for creating such intuitive technology that’s literally as simple as child’s play.
Do you know a tech savvy toddler – what’s their favourite gadget? Do you think their interest in tech is a healthy part of their development or something you try to dissuade?