Monday, 25 July 2011

Tech Kids?

On Thursday the other half had a job interview in London, and so we decided to go along too and make a day out of it as it happened to be the day Alice has no playschool.

On the way down there I popped the post code into my trusty Iphone for it to do its thing and direct us there, however in normal tech style it got us into central London and then the battery died! Leaving me to wing my way to Dulwich Village solo. I HATE driving round London, and the other half hates being expected to direct and so we ended up asking a few strangers (much to his manly disgust) and getting there with literally 1 minute to spare (having allowed 3 hours for a 2 hour journey anyway).

It was then really annoying that I had no battery left as we couldn't separate for the rest of the day for fear of being lost in London!

Interview over we decided to catch the train into the city to show the kids some sights. Alice was entertained by the journey for a few minutes but all Thomas wanted to do was jump out the buggy climb on seats and scream..every non-parents nightmare to sit by. This was obviously really annoying and stressful, and for us a lesson in not taking our two toddlers into central London any time soon.
But I couldn't help noticing several other parents toddlers around Alice's age (3ish) had very quite children sitting still in their buggies. On closer inspection these kids were playing with the apps on their parents phone's (or so I thought). I've let Alice do this in the car, or when we're waiting for food out etc and I don't see a problem with it at all, but I was pretty appealed when I saw the mother of one toddler get out her own identical (£400) phone and start texting and calling.
Several times her little girl looked up to her and said she was bored, to which she was told to practice her typing on Note, and listen to her songs.
The poor little girl although quite and still looked absolutely bored as hell, while her disinterested mother played with her own phone.

Looking round London in general there was definatly a running theme that it was okay for toddlers to have their own, sim card free smart phone purely to use as a toy. Im not entirely sure why but this just made me feel really sad. Don't get me wrong I know we live in a modern world and kids need to be getting to grips with technology younger and younger but this just seemed a step (or 2) too far to me.

Id rather take my screaming/bouncing/annoying kids any day over that. It seemed really sad that parents just expected children to be entertaining themselves presumably because they'd spent so much money on these phones. I dont know if this was a status thing or intended to provide genuine entertainment to a tot, Id love to hear other peoples thought.

Im not sure if Im just being a dinosaur, but id rather be penny thrift and living in smalltownsville with colouring books and crayons for my kids any day.


  1. Yay! Long live Smalltownsville and crayons! :)

  2. Tha is an interesting one, and I think, as with many technology debates, that it is more about the attitudes and approaches of parents rather than the actual possession of the technology. I have seen some amazing work done with very young children using pocket video cameras, and my 3 year old cousin enjoyed and learned from using my iPad.

    However, the situation you describe is obviously less beneficial. These technologies are great, but no substitute for meaningful communication and working and playing together. If I had a young child and could afford it I think I would buy them something like an iPod touch, but I would use it with them and encourage it's use to support real life experiences, not encourage them to disappear into it's screen.

  3. Hey Chatty Baby, thanks for the support!

    Oli, I think your right Alice and Thomas do both love technology in all forms but as with all toys really (specially the ones you paid alot of money for) its easy to forget to get involved yourself.
    Maybe Im unfairly blaming technology over lazy parenting!
    Left me lots to think on.

  4. That's an interesting point on expensive toys. You are right, so much more value for the kids when you get involved. I meant to post a link to this research into a toddler using a video camera.

  5. Oh thats really interesting, can definitely see how having the camera made him more inclined to talk through what he was seeing/doing and really get involved. Love the film at the end too, surprisingly good!
    I like the idea of children using normal adult technology but with appropriate aid and getting this much out of it.

  6. Who cares what the non parents think - do they want people contributing to their pensions?? This is a worrying trend, though I hope far more visible in central London on tubes than in our parks, or even on the high streets or museums. Did you see the latest guidance from the Chief Medical Officers? Start Active Stay Active, key guidance that parents, schools & childcare all have a role in increasing activity & reducing sedentary behaviour including screen time. Computers are great, but children need to play outdoors...