Everywhere I go I see young kids playing on phones, iPads, computers, you name it. And they’re YOUNG, like 2 and 3 years old. Makes me wonder what kids’ lives will be like in 10 or 20 years. I feel pretty confident there are toddlers more proficient with an iPhone than I am. That’s not saying much because I’m admittedly not a big technology geek. I have what I need to make work and everyday life easy and efficient, by my standards at least.
I think I have a little bit of June Cleaver in me, meaning I’m a little more old fashioned with Junior than I am super cool and modern. And no, you can squash the images of me wearing patent leather pumps and pleated dresses every day; that’s not what I mean… But I can safely say that I favor the classic (boring?) forms of entertainment for my two year old. I like to give him coloring books and Crayola crayons. He has a Slinky. He has a cute set of old fashioned wooden blocks and countless puzzles. He got a Mr. Potato Head for his birthday last week and a set of Snoopy golf clubs; nothing computerized or touch screen. He’s never, at least not with my permission, played with my phone and we don’t own an iPad.
I have nothing against these technological wonders – it’s the way of the world. I just haven’t put them into my little boy’s hands yet. Am I doing him a huge disservice? Sometimes I worry about that. A long time ago the kids who knew how to manipulate computers at a young age were considered nerds, but now I think it’s the opposite. Is the new geek the kid who can’t work his way around a Mac with his eyes closed? Ugh. How can I help my son stay on top of everything there is to offer when I have no interest in bogging MYSELF down with it?
I assume that when Junior starts school it will be a different story. I’ll be totally in tune with all of the current gadgets and trends because I won’t have a choice. I want to make sure he doesn’t start that phase of his life two steps behind his peers, but I also want to balance his unavoidable relationship with technology with a sizeable dose of tree climbing, coloring, old fashioned book reading, and playing catch. I want to make sure he knows how to tell time on a regular clock – one with 2 hands – and learns how to print properly. Do they even teach kids how to write in cursive anymore, or are they sent straight to the keyboard?
Now before you start thinking our TV has rabbit ears and we’re without a dishwasher, I can promise you that’s not the case. I’m just taking my time introducing Junior to all the “stuff” out there, while I get used to it all myself. So until the day comes when we’re reading books on an iPad, we’ll keep flipping through classic Golden Books like “The Pokey Little Puppy” and “The Saggy Baggy Elephant”, my copies from many years ago. To me, no touch screen will ever trump turning real pages with my kiddo on my lap. I’m sure he won’t feel the same way in a couple of years though.
OK, it’s probably time for me to get off my soap box and go fix a hot lunch for Wally and the Beav…. I’ll try not to spill gravy on my pleats.