10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices

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My children, both on handheld devices, learning and laughing.

Last week the Huffington Post ran this article titled 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12.

As an educator who advocates for the intentional and appropriate use of technology, I could go on about this forever. But instead I’m writing here as a mother.

Here are my 10 reasons why I will continue giving my children handheld devices, and all other forms of technology as well.

1) Because banning things never, ever, ever works. 

Remember when your parents wouldn’t let you watch rated R movies so you just went to your friends’ houses to watch them? I think I’d rather have my kids using technology and handheld devices with me beside them. Where I can engage with them, answer questions, and limit content if I have concerns.

2) Problem solving.

When my kids get really frustrated with not being able to do something, they don’t just quit. My oldest likes to draw. We often times draw together, using books or other tools to guide us. One day she could not figure out how to draw a cat and I couldn’t either.  Without even asking us she got her iPad, went to youtube, looked up tutorials on drawing cats and taught herself with the guidance of the tutorials. She is seven. She draws amazing cats now.

3) Technology Skills

Let’s be honest here. We’ve seen what happens when people don’t have access to technology until their later years. (It is called the digital divide). America is already falling behind in technology skills, making us less employable and harder to train.

4) Expectations in school

I spend a lot of time in classrooms as part of my job. If you really think we should ban handheld devices for children under 12, I hope you have spent some time in classrooms recently. Classrooms of the 21st century engage students in a variety of ways bridging technology and interactive teaching. I once witnessed a third grade  class making posters about specific animals, a task many of us are familiar with. But their posters had QR codes embedded on them that would jump to a GLOG (graphics blog) they had created about each animal. Mostly, from handheld devices.

5) Interest

There are children out there who are motivated by technology. They are future coders. Future designers. Future engineers. I want my own kids to see everything technology has to offer. I made their Valentine’s Cards light up, because I want their minds to light up with the topics it introduces. They learn to code on Scratch, they practice Spanish on their own devices, and the possibilities are just beginning for them.

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6) Because I care about their brains.

There is a positive link to video games and brain development, that doesn’t get any attention! Yes, it is only one part of the brain and there are many other parts that also need to be developed, but creative thinking and problem solving in a virtual world is something I believe will be beneficial in my children’s future.

7) Girls.

I’m raising two ferocious girls. Two girls who are currently very unlikely to get a degree in computer science. I want my children to know they can enter any field they want to, even the tech field.  (12% of computer science degrees currently go to girls). 

8) Balanced Life

I am 32 years old and still trying to figure out how to balance my technology life. When do I turn my phone off? When do I stop checking email? It is not only something I want to model for my children in my own practice, but it is something I also want them to experience on their own. We turn the iPad off when it is time to go to a basketball game. Or climbing. Or gymnastics. They don’t throw fits. They don’t cry for it. They understand that it is one part of their day.

9) Literacy

I’m a librarian. I live and sleep literacy. I’ve watched children learn to read with books, with ebooks, with apps, with flash cards, and with cereal boxes. I want my children exposed to any text they will pay attention to. Including when it comes through a handheld device. We know that handheld devices can help with learning, especially when parents are involved with the interaction of the device.

10) Reality. 

It is 2014. iPhones were introduced 7 years ago. Now, half of Americans own smartphones. We should probably embrace what is here and use it to our advantage, rather than fighting with reality.

Be involved in what your children are interested in. Learn with them. Stop reading “clickbait” articles about technology and instead explore it yourself for awhile. Don’t let your own fears about something foreign to you limit the opportunities you give your child.

(Some updates for those just reading. Here is my response to hundreds of you concerned with my children being nature deficient and here is my response to those calling me lazy.)

410 comments

  • Reblogged this on Isabella and Olivia and commented:
    This is by far the best argument for intentional use of handheld devices with school age kids. It’s a tool for learning, not a babysitter.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your feedback and for sharing.

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    • What a thoughtful and eloquent response to the post (10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12) which was arrogant and condescending. I have no doubt your children will grow to be thoughtful, considerate, and bright young women.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed! Original article got my hackles raised. This appropriately encouraged and monitored approach to learning through technology can only enhance her children’s knowledge and love of learning.

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    • kids need to know what a thing called outside is, i see it all the time in the workplace and at home that kids rarely want to go outside when they can play on there video games, computers, and cell phones…. A child does not and should not need a ipad, iphone and other such things until they are older…Let kids play, get scratches and bruises, and learn how to do things for themselves, rather than always rely on technology to do it for them

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      • When I was young I went outside and played with my friends all the time. But I also watched TV at least one hour or two each day. I loved both. Everything is possible with BALANCE! Techonology is here to stay and we should not banned it from our kids, we just need to show them that it is not the only thing they can do to have fun. We are the ones that are responsible for our children, so we can control what they do (time wise).

        Liked by 1 person

      • She never said her kids don’t play outside. Your comment reflects your deficiency in reading comprehension. Maybe you should have had more access to technology…

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree that children do need to get outside but to state they shouldn’t have technology because of that is irresponsible and I as a parent know that my children will get exercise for their body and their mind. Fact is we aren’t using less technology in the world today but more. kids taking SATs today can use calculators, high schools give each kid a lap top to work on and now elementary schools are as well. Just because children use handheld devices doesn’t mean they aren’t getting exercise or viewing the world. I feel that children know much more about the world because of the access to information they now have on this technology

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      • trevor laplante

        PLAYING OUTSIDE NVER KILLED ME ONLY HAD NO CABLE WAS COOL ONLY HAD THREE CHANELS OUTSIDE ALL DAY WAS THE RULE NOT TODAY THATS SAD FOR TODAYS KIDS

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      • Maybe if TREVOR had more access to technology he would be a better speller. Not to mention that grammar. There’s an app for that ;)

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      • Firstly, it is “their” and not “there.” Secondly, just because you grew up that way does not mean that your child(ren) should too. If people kept to your logic, we would still be living in the stone age. While your assertion is well meaning, it would cause children to be technologically deficient and likely incapable of being high achieving 21st century learners, consumers, or producers. Just because it is new or different does not necessarily mean that you should be afraid of it. Obviously you lacked technology education – even typewriter era – based on the keyboarding skills that you have displayed in your post. No one is advocating that kids sit in front of screens all day, and by the same coin, a call for an all-out “ban” is outlandish and irresponsible; just as irresponsible as saying that a child should be left outside to injure themselves all day.

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      • Their, not there

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      • I homeschool, and we use technology, including my smart phone and her leap pad, but take breaks and she plays outside or we go for walks (generally about 2 miles), and even use my phone for music. Technology and good old outside can work together

        Liked by 1 person

  • A very cogent and well thought out post. You make a very convincing argument. If I was to parent now (I’m so glad my experience was earlier) I feel it would tightly control my child’s access to devices. Tightly. There will be extremely limited exposure and for certain purposes only. I think my technology skills are up there and I know for a fact I didn’t meet my first computer until the 7th grade (and a calculator only two years before that). In today’s world would that put me irrevocably behind the curve? Maybe. I do agree with point #1 but it must be considered what kids actually use technology for. I’d like to see a pie chart showing how much is “social.” The lines on that chart would no doubt be blurred because of techno overlap. Playing a game is now also a social experience. It seems like most games require an internet connection. Good post and it gave me a lot to think about.

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    • Those are all really good point. I have so say I think in this day you would be far behind. Everyone you grew up with probably got technology at about the same age. I know I grew up in a rural part of North Idaho, where there was a large socioeconomic divide, and our school did not have funding for technology. I was fortunate to have a computer at home, but it set me far ahead of classmates in that area. Thank you for your reply. It has given me many things to think about as well and I’m so happy for the dialogue.

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  • It was interesting that I stumbled across your post today as I’d just heard this short piece on the BBC this morning regarding children in poor families gaining a lot from the use of tablets. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01tmym2
    Personally I grew up practically plugged into my computer from the age of 7 and can’t say it did anything but help me. :)

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  • Thank you for writing! You and your readers might also enjoy the following reply to the incredibly inaccurate HuffPo post you mention in your opening. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kleeman/10-reasons-why-we-need-re_b_4940987.html

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  • Amen sister! And even if you just consider the sheer amount of free content available for helping children learn, a handheld device is SUCH a wonderful tool for them. Andrew’s right there with the girls – he knows sometimes the tablet is to watch a movie on quietly, and sometimes it’s for his learning games. And it’s always under the OK of mom or dad, with us nearby to answer questions or give guidance.

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    • I think, what I’m finding, is that most parents are actually “right there with us” (or at least a large portion) because they see the benefit and know what is working for their kid. But then they get research thrown in their face (which was completely misused in that article by the way) that tells them they should feel bad about what they are doing. I want parents to have knowledge, and also feel empowered to decide for themselves.

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  • I agree with you that handheld devices can be used as a learning tool. However, what disturbs me the most about most parents is that they use these things as babysitters or let their kids play video games for hours on them, text all day and all night or or be on Facebook for hours at a time. Learning is one thing, but far too many kids and teenagers these days have become addicted to their devices and the internet. I think this applies the same as everything else–moderation.

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    • I like what you said about it applying the same as everything else. Moderation is something we definitely talk a lot about in best practices. If I think of my own childhood, there are certainly things I probably “over consumed.” Not just media, but for myself it was sports. Sports of course have many, many positive aspects that cannot be denied, but when you do them to much you end up being a 32 year old who needs a knee replacement. ;) So you are right, I think it is just like anything else. Moderation is key and parents need information so they know how to properly use these tools, but they also need to be able to say “I’m using tools with my child” without being shamed about it so they can have those conversations about best practices. Thanks so much for your reply.

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    • I totally agree with you. Many children spends a lot of time playing different games for hours. Even a two-year child would cry if someone took the handheld device from him/her. Therefore, my suggestion is that parents should manage their children times and use of this device. Additionally, I think that two and three years old children don’t need to use these electronic devices. Playing outside and with other children is what they should do at their age.

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    • Of course there is a right way to do it to have balance…
      The problem is the parents who use tablets as the new pacifier or babysitter. I cringe when I see little kids sitting in a restaurant for Grandma’s birthday and they are playing on a phone between bits. Or kids who pitch a tantrum that they need the tablet for a 10 minute car ride to drop a sibling at school. And parents who don’t monitor what kids are using it for and they mindlessly numbingly watch cartoons or silly games all day long. I am a school OT and I have preschool classes what have iPads as “center time” twice a day, and there are 3&4 year olds goofing around on them unstructured or if they are actually playing an educational “match the marble game” or something…why not use real objects and practice their fine motor skills and actual pinch/grasp/etc? Or even encourage them to use a stylus to promote tripod grasp. My 8 year old uses a kindle/iPad in a structured way, so I am not against them. It’s the little people I really worry about…

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  • My first reaction to this post was “she’s a mother and mothers have an explanation for every decision they make” but after reading it I feel like I should make you a medal. Banning hand held devices is denying a child the chance to blend with the current society, this will lead to children being left behind by their counter parts… I love the post!

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  • Fabulous! And I’m completely on board with you in every instance. And another just because there are SOOO many reasons to let your kids be “plugged in”? A child with special needs can find inspiration, and ways to fully live to their potential through those devices in ways they might not be able to otherwise. We LOVE our iPads and iPhones. They go a long way to helping our highly intelligent, special daughter be all she can. :)

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  • Thank you so very much for this. You have no idea how much better this made me feel, as a mom, as an advocate of literacy (former English teacher), and just as a person in a world of technology. Thank you! :)

    I will be reblogging this on http://ihaveaforever.wordpress.com. Thank you again!

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    • Thank YOU so much. That really means a lot to me that you took the time to read, provide feedback, and even reblog. I think we need more people in a world of technology speaking out about these issues! Keep up the good fight.

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  • I love your responses- they are all very well thought out. However, it makes me sad b/c not every family is as vigilant as you with being a part of the process and paying attention to what they are watching. I have 4yr olds in my pre-k class that know way too much about call of duty and other violent games, etc. that they have no business playing and it makes me sad to see the opposite end of the spectrum.

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  • Reblogged this on Renee Ya and commented:
    A great list of why it’s important that we build a future of tech-savvy people.

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  • Well thought out post. You have brought up some points I never would have thought of. Technology is a way of life now. We can’t expect to keep our children away from them till they are teenagers. It’s all around them.
    I guess the trick is learning to use them as learning tools and not babysitters. A healthy balance……As my son is only 8 months I am yet to cross this bridge

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  • This is a great article from Wired about new teaching methods revolutionizing education philosophy. A long read, but of particular interest re your post, start at the “In 1999″ paragraph… http://www.wired.com/business/2013/10/free-thinkers/all/

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  • Reblogged this on Stay at Home Money Manager and commented:
    This post has given me a lot to think about this morning. Also working through several of the commenters’ links and thoughts, like this one: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/10/free-thinkers/all/. Thanks for the brain candy, Hopmombrarian!

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  • So glad a friend posted this on facebook this morning… reblogging and gobbling up the links from other comments. Will look forward to your future posts!

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  • Thanks for the post.. I am relieved now and thanks to all those shared the references to other articles supporting your view.

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  • I have a 2 year old boy that i let use my iphone for the learning apps and his development has flourished exponentially because he was naturally drawn to the technology i didnt have to teach him how to use it he just knew. As of right now he is able to easily identity basic shapes and geometric shapes that i never learnt until grade 3 or 4 like a rhombus, or right angle triangle, you have no idea how adorable it is to hear a 2 year old say isosceles. I purchased a stylus so he could use it for the writing apps and he can successfully write most of the alphabet, numbers, and different shapes. He is able to identify words from books and knows the meaning because most children book apps are made to be able to highlight words and define them. My boy and i have lots of fun working with what they have in the world for children’s apps and im not going to be stopping him any time soon. I know without proof this is here say but i have no reason to make this up and i hope more people use technology to help teach because we are in an era where technology makes everything work and if you grow up deprived of it than the future will be difficult. Thank you for writing this article more people should look at the positive and not focus on negative.

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    • Let us know which apps you’re successful with for a 2 yo? Please!

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      • Fisherprice have many apps for the little ones. For example one with shapes and colors and my son’s favorite, the Storybook. He learned Hickory Doc and Pat a Cake with them. Now he wants to teach those rhymes to everyone.

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      • I know this post is a few months old but I have to give huge praise to the iPad app “Endless Alphabet.” It’s pricey but continually updates and is pretty freakin’ awesome. (There are words, and the children move the letters into the spots like puzzle games, but then you hear the definition of the word and see it acted out, and there are sooo many words).

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    • I completely agree with you! I used to teach toddlers at a learning center and did all of it without technology. My problem was that there were some of them who lost interest quickly. I used some of those same methods to teach my own 2 year old at home, and it worked fine. When I finally began to use learning apps on the Ipad, his learning just flourished. I can say technology is a great complement to teaching children because it engages them in such a unique way.

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  • Great points! I guess the key with regards to children using handheld devices is moderation. Some games can be helpful, but if it takes so much of their time then it’s not gonna be beneficial to anybody. Also, parents should ‘filter’ what children do or play on their handheld device. Some games are just a total waste of time while some are valuable.

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  • What perfect timing…my youngest’s mother and I (we’re no longer together) just recently got in to a argument because she is vehemently against children using tech devices…in fact, she posted said HP article to her FB wall, going on about how they’re proven facts blah blah blah…if they’re so terrible, why do schools use them? If tech is so bad, shouldn’t LeapFrog be out of business right now? I’ve been in front of computers, video games, hand helds, etc since I was 5 (I’m almost 36 now) and I would say I’m doing pretty well, other than irritating my girlfriend from time to time. I loved this article and am definitely sharing it on my FB….maybe I’ll even get the ex to take a peak! ;)

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  • I agree with you on many points. However, I think we don’t, as a society, draw the line where we should. I see many children dependent on electronics. They need them in the car, they need them on playdates, they need them if they have to wait somewhere for more than 5 minutes. I find it scary that they cannot do without them. Addiction to video games and electronics does exist, and it’s not pretty. I – personally – know. It once was me.

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    • I agree with what you said. They are ADDICTED. As a middle school educator, I see on a daily basis…THEY CANNOT PUT THEIR DEVICES DOWN. Not for a second. They don’t want to learn, they just want to snap chat, play video games and check facebook. And every middle school child knows how to hack into the school wifi network.

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      • Perhaps they all know how to “hack” the wifi, as you say, because they are learning new problem solving skills, related to technology, that they can use in their future jobs, that you as educators against technology are not even aware of. Clearly, if young children can hack a wifi system (its not actually hacking, its just using the wifi, or logging onto it), then the monitors of the system (school administrators) have a lot to learn about tech safety. Its not an issue you can avoid by ignoring it. You have to learn about it, because it is going to be present in society whether you like it or not. As information becomes common knowledge (such as how to use a wifi network), you really have to learn it too, not just call it out as bad and hope that ignoring the situation will solve it.

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      • I’m not saying technology is bad, if used properly. I just mean that cell phones have no place at school, because it is a learning environment and phones are way too tempting for children to be doing the wrong things (gaming, texting, using social networks.)

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      • Hey, I’m just a classroom aide. I have no power whatsoever. I just see the kids plugged in all the time to their devices, not talking to each other at lunchtime, not eating their food, just playing games and checking their social network…instead of interacting with the LIVE social network sitting across the table from them. Yeah, technology is here to stay, but it’s a balance…the kids at this age are just way too addicted to it.

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      • I actually disagree that devices have no place at school. I’m a middle school teacher also and we occasionally allow students to use their devices in class. They can use them for learning, research, problem solving etc. My principal asked what our biggest complaint was, response: not enough computer labs. He said if you have 30 kids in one class, chances are you have 15 Internet ready devices. I think it’s definitely a balance, but we need to utilize the tools we have.

        And I also agree that if students are using the school’s wifi, your school needs to tighten it’s security.

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  • I agree with many points, but I still have a tough time with technology as an educator, and a full-time babysitter. I am solely speaking of the Early Childhood age, approximantely birth to age 5. I agree we have to keep up with the expectations of schools and have knowledge of technology skills, but to me, its unfortunate that the world is slowly turning course into a technological dominant place all together. I also know that creative thinking is linked to our five senses, and we need to strengthen those and consistent stimulate these senses in order to make creativity flourish. I see the art together and although art is well executed, I do not see the abstract, originality in work today. I encourage my sister and any children in my care to create and problem solve on their own. For children, it is very important that they learn to problem solve without tutorials. They are becoming too conscious on making things “perfect”, instead of just “being”. There is beauty in imperfection, and the technology world is teaching us just the opposite. As an educator, if a student shows me a picture of a house, and it looks nothing like a house, I praise them and move on. It makes them better artists, as it allows them to get to know their own self to perfect a masterpiece in due time. We are in the age of “RUSH”, “QUICK”, “Look how fast he/she learned to ______!” It is of course pretty wonderful to observe how quickly one can adapt/adopt, but I personally am a proponent of achieving this through our surrounding natural environment.

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    • I see the art today and although art is well executed, I do not see the abstract, originality in work today.***

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    • Wonderful point. We cannot teach creativity, but we can definitely stifle it. There is a time and a place for the appropriate use of technology. The early developmental years are a time for experiential learning. Children learn through play- creative, imaginative, sensory play. Let’s promote real play, real experiences and real relationships.

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    • Hi Stephanie, thanks for taking the time to read and to offer your thoughts. I actually share a lot of your concerns and feelings. I definitely want my children (both biological and ones I teach) to problem solve and rely on the natural environment around them. However, I also realize that the natural environment around them has more and more technology in it every day. I think it is a balance we all have to try to find. Not an easy one. Not one we will likely ever all agree on. But I do like the discussion around it. Thanks for chiming in.

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    • AMEN!!!! How many people do you see in restaurants on a phone and lacking communication? My mom texts me more than calls me. We are sometimes so focused on the pic to post on Instagram that we forget to just relish in the moment. Pornography is very real and captivates the very young. It destroys families and it may all start from innocent games and learning apps. I love technology but I also hate it because it creates a false reality and many of us probably would hyperventilate if we lost our phone with everything on it. Moderation yes. Open communication yes. Some kids are going on to do amazing things bc of technology but most of our greatest inventors had NOTHING. I don’t wish to return to those days and I love access to information but you don’t need a device everywhere you go.

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  • While I understand your viewpoint and feel that some of your reasons are productive, I do wonder one thing: If banning things never ever ever works, do you feel that all drugs should be legalized? Technically speaking they are “banned”. So since it doesn’t work to ban things why don’t we just legalize cocaine, marijuana, heroin, meth, etc. If banning things never ever ever works, will you allow your daughters to smoke cigarettes prior to turning 18? Or drink alcohol prior to turning 21? Will you allow your daughters to go to High School wearing tube tops and butt-bearing mini skirts? Technically those things are “banned”, but since it never ever ever works, will you let them do these things as you have allowed them access to internet accessible technology with infinite amounts of adult content? I understand the pro’s of technology, but some would argue that there are pro’s to all things in life. Drugs give a person different perspectives on life, and outfits, no matter the “style”, give a person confidence and self esteem. I’m not trying to be argumentative, i’m just trying to understand.

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    • Yes! This was the point that rubbed me wrong too. I never went behind my parents’ back. Otherwise, a great article worth sharing.

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      • Just because you never went behind your parents back doesn’t mean the majority of people follow the same track as you. Instead of lying it up with hoochie clothing and drugs line it up with banned books and the likes of that

        Think about all the books that were banned in this country at a certain time, did no one seek them out because they were banned? Did no one question why they were banned? Absolutely not, they read them in private, they sought them out, they fought to get them back in schools.

        Drugs and clothing don’t help people learn, technology does. And banning technology in the technology age is absurd.

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    • Rules and regulations (cigarettes, drinking, etc.) are not the same as all out bans. To add to that, no, it doesn’t work. Some kids still sneak cigarettes and drinks, or go driving. Drugs are banned, and criminalized, and people do them anyway. It clearly doesn’t work, because the forbidden is appealing. Sure, there are the odd few that actually listen to a ban, but it doesn’t for everyone.

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    • My point was that banning things never works. (Not my opinion on what should or shouldn’t be banned). You listed several things that are banned like drugs, drinking under 21, smoking under 18, and wearing revealing outfits to school. If banning is effective, that would mean people don’t partake in those things. So how is banning working out in those instances?

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      • I’m not saying that banning is effective, I was just trying to understand how allowing yout child to do something that was banned (like using tech devices) related to the opinion of allowing them to partake in other banned activities. I’m not saying that banning works or doesn’t work. In my personal opinion I don’t think it matters if it works, I think it’s how you raise your kids on the subjects and how you talk to them about it. I think in some cases certain things should be banned, however if banning doesn’t work then everything should be lagalized because then it wouldn’t be such a thrill to people to do those things. Certain people would still partake, but the ones that do them just because it’s banned wouldn’t find such a thrill in them anymore. My over all point wasn’t that banning works. I was just curious as to the feelings on other banned products.

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    • Actually there are numerous studies that have shown that having the drinking age at 21 instead of younger like in countries throughout Europe you don’t see the binge drinking we have here in the states. Two states have actually legalized recreational marijuana use because they are now starting to understand there isn’t a significant difference between that and drinking. Texas is looking to be the third state to legalize marijuana and our President has already come out and stated there are more important things to focus on, so yes in some sense banning instead of education is a waste of time. I’m sure the author here isn’t stating you shouldn’t ban anything, but there are definitive areas where educating instead of outright banishment makes sense.

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      • I feel as though many are missing my point. This wasn’t about banning at all. My point was that if she feels ok with allowing her children to break the ban on something she agrees with then how did the author feel about allowing her children to partake in other banned activities. It was more about the authors choice to pick and choose bans that she didn’t agree with. Personally I don’t agree with most bans either, but just because I don’t agree with them doesn’t mean I can ignore them.

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      • When I said banning things doesn’t work, I was actually meaning for parents to ban things. I don’t think there is any likelihood that devices could actually legally be banned for children. So, I was thinking of it more as parents who ban things.

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      • I do understand. As I stated before, I wasn’t trying to be argumentative; I was just curious as to the views on related bans. I respect everyone’s opinion and I do understand the current viewpoint of “needing” technology. I do hope that all these technological advancements in our world today turn out to be as wonderful as everyone has portrayed them and hoped for them to be. Only time will tell. I do respect that you trust your children enough at such young ages to allow them these tools. I hope that they understand and respect that as well.

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    • Ridiculous strawman argument. Unless there’s meth and cocaine hidden around the house, then you’d have a point.

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      • Clearly I did not explain myself in a way that the general public could understand. The author understood what I was saying, which is really all that matters to me. I’m sorry if you miss understood what I was trying to say, but thank you for your opinion regardless.

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    • I think there is a difference between banning something and giving the child (or adult!) the education about the subject at hand. “Don’t touch that stove!” Is one I remember as a child. What did I eventually do? I burned my hand. Duh. The banning of items to kids without teaching them why will just fuel their curiosity.

      There are plenty of people out there that know the rules yet still break them. The butt-bearing mini skirt reminded me of a first date in high school. Picked her up from her parents house. The first thing she had me do was pull over so she could change. Out comes the short-short-shorts that would have any parent crushed. This also made me just remember that I had something more important to do and ended the date in a hurry. She was banned from wearing these clothes, still did it and suffered the consequence. If she was educated instead of being banned, a nice dinner would’ve been the result. (No big loss on my part as I later came to find out.)

      The same thing with technology. It’s there to be used, for better or worse. Teaching kids right and wrong at an early age will take the mystery out of the bad stuff.

      Nice post Meg!

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  • Totally agree… on every point. I personally love that my 10 year old has been watching YouTube tutorials to learn how to draw. He loves drawing, but is a perfectionist…. if he can’t get it perfect, it’s not worth doing to him. YouTube directs him step by step (in fact, when I taught 2nd grade, I believe following and giving “step-by-step directions” was a skill to master!) Technology isn’t going anywhere… children need to be acclimated and need to know how to use it effectively.

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  • Well written, and this is coming from someone who is truly anti-technology for children! I believe babies -2 years of age gain no benefit to being zoned into a technological device. I appreciate the point that technology is here to stay and it must be embraced and I certainly appreciate then turning it off for times of play. But, I will still be the “old fashioned one” and read paper books, color with crayons and play board games. Also, it’s difficult for me to see my 4 1/2 year old and 2 year old be so successful with their numbers, letters, reading, independent play without ever using technology to learn or practice those skills . I know it’s here to stay but I also see, firsthand, the success of the basics (and see the success at traditional pre-schools).

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    • Why can’t your children have both? That’s the big question I want to pose for anti-technology people. Why are they not able to use both traditional and technology based learning devices? I have a younger sibling that was part of the beginning of the tech age (mid 90s) and not only did he use the computer at age 3 he read books, wrote on paper, colored with crayons…yet he also knew how to use word, look up words on the internet, and use MS Paint. He’s a highly intelligent kid who is graduating from USC in May. So to say one is better than the other really doesn’t work. They are not mutually exclusive of each other.

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    • Hi Ali, thanks so much for your thoughts. I actually agree with everything you said. I also see not only the benefit of the basics, but the necessity of it! I don’t want those things to go away. When I do a storytime for kids I sometimes use an iPad with a fun app or video on it. However, it is only one part of my storytime. I also use puppets, picture books, songs, rhymes, finger plays, felt boards, and everything else that has always been a part of storytime. It is actually a pretty seamless transition and I feel like I can use technology as an enhancement, rather than something to depend on. Thanks again for reading. Cheers.

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  • I think you make some valid points. I saw the other article and thought the same thing.
    Unfortunately, although I understand some of your points, I disagree slightly with the idea of problem solving.
    Yes, technology can be an aid in many scenarios, but overall, as a teacher, I often feel technology is a hindrance to problem solving. Instead it seems an avenue of quick and easy answers. Many of my students have great difficulty thinking outside the box without a Google search engine. And sometimes I would rather my child learn to draw a cat from actual observance of the cat and trial and error than from a tutorial. I know it is idealistic, and I see your point, but sometimes I wish my students wouldn’t run to the web every time they encounter difficulty.
    What also worries me is that children today are less monitored by authority figures. Technology is the easy option. I have many students who find it impossible to stay awake because they were up all night watching t.v. and playing video games. Many of the statistics from the article are valid and shocking.
    I, personally, am not greatly concerned with my children blending into this modern world. I want them to be unique. Of course, I don’t plan on removing technology….extremity doesn’t work. But, I don’t agree with the concept of “if society is doing it, I should follow suit.” It seems that a child could be okay with a family computer and a normal phone. Why must so many have a smart phone, tablet, xbox, etc…? I think one can be technologically savvy without a variety of handheld devices. My husband is a database engineer and we don’t have tablets….handheld devices are fine, but I dispute that they are absolutely necessary to an understanding of technology. But, just my opinion….
    However, I did appreciate your article.

    Like

    • I have to agree 100% with this point. People that created technology in the first place, didn’t need technology to understand it. You need to understand the workings of the universe, which requires experiencing it. It is like getting to know your friend’s parents to further understand your friend, or why your friend is the way they are.

      Also, problem solving is diminishing quickly due to the lean on attitude of technology. I always hear “look it up”, rather than “lets figure it out”. Looking up a tutorial is not a substitute for real life experience and problem solving. What happens when the power goes out? All one has to do is imagine what ilife would be like if these children grew up to be in their 20’s, and the power went out for an extended period of time. I cannot imagine that they would effectively thrive in this world. Plus, with the array of information that is available to us, and the swift results, it hinders patience and focused attention. Children are constantly in the need to be “entertained”, and don’t know what its like to entertain themselves. They also want results, quickly. Adults jump back and forth from topic to topic on the internet. A child will do this more, as it is where they are developmentally. This does not teach them to focus on one, and one thing only, which is a very important trait.

      I was 12 when I started using technology, and I am very tech savvy. I am a very quick typer, fluent in photoshop, illustrator, in design, and know html very well. There is no way to justify that children under the age of 12 MUST be using technology, other than it is the industry standards, which I do not think have our best interests in mind. It is all about the money, and it is clearly working.

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    • THANK YOU! I totally agree. As a middle school educator and the mother of 5 grown sons, I’m glad technology didn’t come in until they were older. My kids played outside. They know how to be creative and solve problems. Kids in school now days are completely addicted to their devices. I find it ridiculous that every 11 yr old in the school has an iPhone. Not necessary.

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    • Thank you for reading. I appreciate your thoughts as well. I think in the best scenario we can leave parents empowered, with good information, to make the decision for themselves what level of technology they need/want their children to have. I can’t imagine we will ever have a consensus on one right way to do it. We don’t have that on any other aspect of parenting! But I do think learning from each other and discussing even when we don’t agree will help get the conversation started. Thanks for being a part of that.

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  • I have to agree with wordlesspoetry. If you have ever been in a classroom with all this technology you would be sadly disappointed. One teacher with 20 something students gives an assignment and most of them are emailing or playing games. These children have no idea as to how to read a paragraph and answer a question. They google the question to get their answers. They cannot do math without a device, they can’t tell time on an analog clock, and they can’t spell without spell check. They are not taught cursive writing and cannot read it. Basically, they cannot do anything without technology. I think all this technology will only hinder our children. They have iPad,s, walk into a classroom , sit down and start playing games.

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    • YUP. I see this on a daily basis in the middle school. It is a sad fact. And they wonder why American children are behind the rest of the world. They aren’t using technology to their advantage.

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      • If your students aren’t using technology appropriately in your classroom, why are they still allowed to use it?

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      • Because the administrators are so wishy washy. We have no back up. They won’t make concrete rules about usage of personal devices because they don’t want any parent backlash.

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  • I like this while sometimes I think some kids spend too much time on them I agree 100% with you. My 4 year old has games on our tablet and my phone, she’s got colouring games and alphabet games.She learned to write her name on a tablet.

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  • 8th Grade Algebra teacher here. Totally agree. BYOT is the new trend. I remember a couple years ago, the prospect came up of getting ipads in our classroom. A few years later, and those Ipad 1s would be outdated. Most PHONES today, or moms old iphone which is now the kids ipod on the schools wifi, is better than the ipad 1.

    Not to mention, banning them doesn’t work. IF we make them useful, teach them to use them as tools, they are likely to go with them. It’s not the dark ages people. It’s the touchscreen ages. Go with it. Use it. Tools are tools. GREAT ARTICLE.

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  • Amen, Amen, AMEN Sister!!!

    My almost 4yr old is SO drawn to technology, loves it & I believe has learned so much! He was saying his alphabet at about 20mo, knew the letters (out of order) around 2yrs. And lately what we’ve been doing over the last couple of months is States. He knows the names of all 50 States, can place them better than I can & knows about a third of the capitals that go with them. Tonight (with a magnetic puzzle) I was naming off the capitals & without looking at them, he would tell me the state & point to where it went. We play ‘stack the states’ on the tablet & I really think this is why he’s able to do all this! Amazing!! :-)

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  • I see no issue with I-pad is use in moderation to help facilitate or positively reinforce learning for school aged children. Sure play a multiplication game or two!
    However, I see a problem with very young children using I-pads. One of the most important lessons of early childhood is that of social interaction. Very small children should learn through play and their interaction with actual living humans ( their peers , parents, teachers… ect).
    I had one parent in my classroom admit that they allowed their two-year old to play with the I-pad at home. When this child came to school he seemed bored. He looked at any open ended activity ( which promoted him to think for himself) as boring… I mean why would he want to play with blocks when he knows the wonder of the I-pad? He seemed to also shy away from the other children who were interested in the more exploratory activities.
    I’ve seen this happen to many children.
    If I had a very small child I would try to provide them toys that would stimulate their own organic creative thinking. I would not give them an over-stimulating toy that would take away from their own original thought… at least not until kindergarten where the school system practically will suck their soul away anyway with their non-child centered curriculum..

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  • I remember when my youngest son was around 4 or 5 he so badly wanted to play an online game, but it required reading to participate. He tried to get me and my husband to help him and read to him. There was no way that was happening! We told him if he wanted to play he would have to learn to read… so guess what happened? Yup – figured out how to read so he could play the online game.

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  • Sorry. As a middle school educator, I see first hand how technology has changed kids for the worst. God forbid the administration actually make rules and stick to them about use of devices in school. Here’s what REALLY happens. Kids have their cell phones with them ALL THE TIME. They text and snap chat with each other during class when the teacher isn’t looking. Especially in study halls…they don’t study. They watch videos, check facebook and play games. In the lunchroom, they don’t eat their food or have face to face conversations with each other…they all sit around the table with their faces on their cell phones and their fingers flying furiously. They won’t even go outside for recess! They just sit at the cafeteria table playing video games. I for one would like to see NO CELL PHONES for kids until they have jobs and can pay for them themselves. Kids don’t know how to be kids and play anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m also a middle school teacher and have seen several of your comments. Your issue seems to be more with lack of rules and follow through with your administration. It doesn’t have to be that way and technology can be successfully used in class, without games and social media.

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  • Love the article — with one question, would you apply the same principals to the computer?

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    • Some of the things I mention we actually do on the computer (for example scratch that teaches kid coding cannot be done on an iPad or smart phone.) My philosophy is to expose them to as many types of technology as I can (like I do sports and activities) and see which ones “stick” with them.

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  • As a female who went to school for and currently works in the technology field, I loved this article! I grew up in a household where we always had a computer and educational games were always available definitely helped be develop an interest and skill for technology. I think the important thing is all about balance. My time on the internet/computer and watching TV was monitored and limited by my parents and I was always encouraged to do a variety of activities, which I agree is important. I think that this article highlights the reality that we live in a world that revolves around technology and those who excel in technology do have more job opportunities. I really believe that teaching our children about technology in combination with life balance and also online safety is important for avoiding potential issues stemming from children using handheld devices.

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  • Loved this!! I have struggled with the electronics dilemma for awhile now with my two boys age 7 and 8. One has always been a bookworm and has been reading since he was 3 or 4. The other has never been interested in picking up a book. But when it relates to a video game, he easily reads whatever pops on the screen. That’s not to say we don’t have limits on usage time. My boys are also encouraged to play outside with friends and are extremely active in sports and school. So the electronics are just one more activity. I understand the cons of electronics, but when used as you described – and as long as parents are involved – I think it is fine. I do believe there has to be a balance. I have seen kids who are unable to interact with others bc their time is spent interacting w a screen rather than their peers. Thanks for the great perspective!!

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  • Thank you!!! Love everything you said! Technology is changing our world, and allowing our children to be a part of it makes a difference. Yes, of course, be responsible. Teach children (and ourselves) balance, boundaries, and limits. Using games for enhancing motor skills, learning to research on the web, math skills, you name it, they are all available to children (and all of us) so much easier. It can create an independent learning environment that allows kids to move forward so much faster than in an average classroom. Our children are going to move beyond us quickly. This does NOT decrease the importance of classroom learning, and playing outdoors, and reading, or more. Balance is the key.
    THANK YOU for standing up and speaking out! :)
    ~inspired girl aka Barbara

    http://www.inspiredgirl.me

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  • Yeah, all the studies by neurologists and child psychologist’s saying that ANY screen time for kids under 4 is damaging are BS, because, y’know, your personal observations are much more accurate than all that science and stuff. Right?

    Clearly this article speaks to parents with THEIR OWN addictions to TV’s, computers, and mobile devices. Could it be your reaching for reasons to pawn off your kids to an ipad, (knowing it’s hurting them) to make time and excuses for YOU to screw around with YOUR OWN technology addictions?

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    • Hi James,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and respond with your thoughts.

      I must admit, your thoughts are a little hard to digest. Not the part about justifying my own tech addiction. There might be some truth to that. If you read my latest post you will see that I define it as less of an addiction and more of a generational difference.

      I’m also not bothered by the comments about my feeling toward screen time studies. It is true that I don’t have much faith in some of the studies cited in Rowan’s original blog. Mostly because she was using studies from as far back as 2004 and ones that only focus on TV time. (I don’t feel all screens are created equal.)

      What does bother me is your claim that I might be intentionally harming my children. (Knowing that technology harms them and still allowing it for my own selfish needs.) I can certainly be selfish. I am certainly not a perfect parent. But I can say with 100% confidence that I have never intentionally hurt my children.

      Could I be unintentionally hurting them? Absolutely. All parents could be in a multitude of ways. Are we giving them cancer through feeding them food with toxins in it? Are we pressuring them too much in school, creating anxiety and emotional disorders? Are we raising them in a society that is overly critical of each other instead of loving and supporting one another, causing them endless health problems? All of it is possible.

      All we can do is share information as we know it (in a fair and realistic way) and make our best decisions as parents. I hope every day that I am making those right decisions.

      Thanks for the chance to have some dialogue about this.

      Like

  • Those who argue that children should not use handheld technology are like immigrants to a culture insisting that their children not learn the language of the country they have moved to. If I was to move to Bangladesh, it would be inconceivable to insist that my children do not learn Bengali, even if I find it a struggle. And my learning of Bengali would probably be enhanced by them helping me learn it too.

    Great blog. Thanks!

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    • You know, this really isn’t a valid comparison. A person who refuses to learn a language in a foreign country is very different from a person who doesn’t give handheld devices to children. First, children can still be tech savvy and knowledgeable without a personal device accompanying them to every event (and thereby distracting them). Now, I would argue that completely isolating children from all forms of technology world be not only silly but also nearly impossible. Must people seem to be more of the opinion that kids shouldn’t have personal devices at their disposal all day. I believe we are seeing the effects of this exposure already, and it is disheartening.
      Anyways, such drastic comparisons intended to make the other side seem ridiculous are usually ridiculous in and of themselves. Just not the best simile. Sorry.

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  • I agree! My kids both learn on different devices and can do more things with most electronics than what most adults can do. My son is also autistic and touch screen devices have proved to help him learn, focus and grow.

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  • The problem is not the technology, the problem is the parental control that is lacking. Parents need and should be more involved in their kids lives. My parents taught me right from wrong and they set high standards for me to live up to. It seems too many parents are just throwing their kids out into the world without any teaching at all.

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  • My daughter seems to learn better with her tablet. She is in a special needs program in her school and has a hard time retaining information. However, ever since giving her my tablet and putting her preschool games on there she has done sooo much better. Some kids are very visual and interactive learners and benefit more from.these things then others

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    • I am so glad you found something that worked for you, Stephanie! I think kids are so individual and as a parent we have to know what will work for them. Good for you.

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  • I agree. But wouldn’t it cut their physical activities if they get hooked on to the virtual world.

    I run a food blog and a novice at that. Please check it out. Suggestions will be welcome. http://www.aromasandflavours.com

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  • You present some of the best-worded and well-thought-out rationalizations for why you can’t parent as one should, by interacting with their children. I’m sorry, but looking up a picture of a cat on the computer together is NOT a great example of spending time together. It’s a lazy way of finding out what a cat looks like. All your kids learn from an exercise like this is there’s always an easy way to do something. Kids need to first grow into their limbs and learn what it means to touch and hear and taste REAL things. Later on, when they’ve got enough personal experience in the world, then maybe introduce some technology, but only as a tool to get REAL things done. Don’t go and try to make giving young kids technology a good thing just because you can’t do the right thing. Just accept that when you hand over the iPad, you’re not up to the task of being the best parent you can be.

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    • Hi Xavier, thanks for reading my blog and for weighing in. I’m wondering what you think the non- lazy way to handle that situation would have been? I know that you place importance on REAL things and that kids needs to touch, hear and taste them, so I think I have a solution. Next time my child is drawing a cat (doing a REAL activity, with a REAL pencil, and REAL paper where she is “growing into her limbs”) and she gets stuck, I will drive to the humane society and buy a cat. Then she can feel it, see it, (but hopefully not taste it) in real life. This IS going to get tricky when we get to farm animals, but hey, I have an extra bedroom! What do you suggest we do when she wants to learn about space ships? Am I failing at parenting if I don’t take her to a REAL one? My school only had us read about them. I never got to touch one, see one, OR taste one. I guess they suck at all of this too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know I’m busy failing my kids too: when I hand them a book instead of taking them to the real Narnia and when I let them read a play instead of seeing it performed and probably when I turn on the radio instead of taking them to a real concert. You and me Meg, we’re all failing in this together

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      • I like the sound of that though. “Failing together.” It might be a new parent support group we need to start ;)

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  • What a great article! I applaud you for what so many of us are thinking. I find it so amusing the negative comments – as if to say ‘if you don’t do things my way then you are doing it the wrong way’. Sure, everything needs limits but technology (like books) give us so much knowledge and empowerment. I want my children to grow up empowered, knowing that they are not limited by what they know right now, that anything is possible even if they don’t yet know how to do it.

    I think you are right on the money that we need to embrace the changing learning environments and adapt to them – and I hadn’t heard of Scratch, I’ll go check that out now!

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    • Thanks Debra! I needed your positive feedback right about now! The judgement coming from some people is getting thick ;) Scratch is a great learning tool. Enjoy and thanks for reading.

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  • I think that what is happening is that we are witnessing a splitting of society. Many people are convinced that giving technology to young children is the best thing to do and many other people feel that this is the worst thing you can do. I fall into the latter category. You know there was a time when parents just said “No” to things because they had an intuitive sense that it was best for their children. No you can’t eat chocolate cake for breakfast, No you can’t stay up all night, No you can’t have a food fight, etc… I miss those days. Now it seems that the idea that our kids will fall behind somehow is pushing people to just go along with whatever new piece of technology comes along. It is sad to see so many people lose touch with their inner sense of what is right. Today kids eat food every day that used to be considered normal only at birthday parties (i.e. junk food). I don’t understand that either. Even snacking is odd to me. When I was a kid in school (not that long ago in the 1960s and 1970s, kids did not eat junk food as they do today. And we hardly watched screens. We spent most of our time playing outside. Today kids are obese, lack coordination, have vision problems, attention problems, low self-esteem. These are common problems today for children. I worked as an Occupational Therapy Assistant for several years in the schools and so I know these problems firsthand. If you don’t know what effect screen watching has on your child’s brain, why would you want to take the risk of overexposing them to such a harmful influence? To me it is the height of irresponsibility. There is research on how detrimental it is for kids to sit in front of screens but instead, parents are taken in by the hypnotic quality of all the technology. The parents are the ones that really like it and so if their kids are into it it gives the adults an excuse to stare at screens. In my mind the whole thing is an addition problem. You know if you are addicted to something if you cannot imagine living without it. So I dare any parent who says they are not addicted to technology to go for a week without looking at any screens. Good luck….

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    • Hi Deb, thanks for reading and thanks for your thoughts. I’ll accept your challenge and I’ve actually completed it numerous times in my adult life. I went to Kenya and lived in a small village for 3 weeks with no electricity. Check. I went backpacking in the Eagle Caps without anything. Check. I know that I can give it up and I of course acknowledge that it is a part of my daily life under normal circumstances. If you read my most recent post you’ll see some of my thoughts on how it is a generational norm. What I’m hearing from you are generational concerns that are not new to this generation. WIth change there is always concern and I understand that. What I don’t understand is the full on judgement that comes with not understanding something. You don’t know how parents can give their children technology? That is fine. But you judge parents for doing it. I’m starting to think that judgment might also be a generational difference. It’s not my generation that seems to have the problem with it, but yours. Good luck to you too. I hope you gain some understanding, or at least some patience for things you don’t understand.

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  • I’m wondering did you even read the other article ?????? I’m an educator too and of course we are living in a technological world and the skills are invaluable no argument. But read the brain research and other research. It’s totally accurate and scary. The article was to drive society to use technology responsibly and reasonably so we don’t squash the world of creative children and have them glued to technical devices How many kids don’t even go outside any more? and there are more than 10 reasons for nature in our children’s lives. Technology is becoming the babysitter, the addiction for many. It’s all about balance and I thank whole heartedly for the previous article and hope people take it more seriously. If you read it, it talks about limited exposure !

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    • Hi Jane, thanks for taking the time to read my blog and to respond. Of course I read the article. And yes, believe it or not, I’m quite familiar with the research she cited. I am not claiming that she didn’t have any valuable points. I understand that her intent if for responsible media use and I could not agree with her more on that intent. My concern is the way she used the research, that some of the research is from as far back as 2004, and much of it was only considering T.V. time. I also don’t think she used the information fairly. I am in no way alone in these beliefs. If you would like to read more about why people believe articles like this are irresponsible I would encourage you to read this one on slate:

      http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2014/03/huffington_post_blogger_s_case_for_banning_hand_held_devices_for_children.html

      and this one on Huffington Post itself:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kleeman/10-reasons-why-we-need-re_b_4940987.html

      I couldn’t agree with you more that nature is a vital part of a child’s development. My fiance has master’s degree in science curriculum, focusing on outdoor education. I just don’t think that learning has to be an either or situation. We don’t teach math OR reading. We don’t have to teach technology OR outdoor education.

      We are all hoping to find a mix of a healthy and realistic balance for integrating technology into the lives of children. I’m happy for you if you’ve found yours. I’ve also found mine.

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  • I feel like I want to agree with certain elements of this post… and perhaps I do. However, some of it is (as another comment stated) just rubbing me the wrong way. The first point especially since it sounds so much like those parents with high school kids that say things like “Well, they’re going to drink somewhere! I would rather they do it here where they’re not driving!” Obviously, I’m not equating handheld devices to alcohol. The comment just has the same tone, I suppose.

    I have five children. My oldest is 8 and my youngest is 6 months. We used to have all the technology. IPods, Kindles, a Wii, a Nintendo DS, a laptop… seriously, it was out of control. But we lived in an apartment and they were really too young to be playing outside of it by themselves.

    We recently moved into a nice big house with a great big yard and you know what? None of that technology has left the box we packed it in and my kids are SO much happier for it. They play outside. They read books. They draw a lot. They build stuff. It’s fun to watch them and awesome not to see them zombied out in front of a screen anymore.

    When your daughter looked up youtube videos on how to draw cats… that’s cool and everything… but why didn’t you show her how you draw cats first? Why didn’t Dad? Why didn’t you look it up together on the computer? I don’t want my kids to whip out an electronic device every time they have a question because I want the chance to answer, instruct and guide them FIRST. There will be so much time for all this technology… but this age is the only time ever that your kids think that what you have to say is more important and more believable than anything or anyone else. Take advantage of that!

    I don’t know… I get where you’re coming from with this. I guess at the end of the day, I just prefer a different approach. Handheld devices made my kids listen to me less, snap at each other more, argue over nothing and get overly involved in games and all this other stuff. I think there’s a time and a place for it. But for now, I’m thrilled to sit out on my patio and watch my little ones climb trees, dig for worms, read books to each other and build forts.

    As for the use of technology in schools… SIGH. I write a blog on public education, so I suppose I’m already skeptical when it comes to certain curriculum. There’s such a heavy focus in schools on reading/math that it’s hard to take a lot of this stuff seriously. There’s no time or funding for the arts anymore… but let’s loan out kindles to elementary schoolers? Come on, now.

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  • I think that the real concern that parents should be turning their attention to is the negative and cumulative health effects of giving wireless devices to children.

    http://www.saferphonezone.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/DoctorsAdvice_Nov28_4Print_Draft1.pdf

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  • You make some great points….but I still HATE to see the kids who are on devices constantly…especially infants!!!..they should not be used as an easy way out. Kids need to learn to sit at a dinner table and behave–not just get a device shoved in their hands. Its a dangerous thing. My 5 and 7 year old boys have had very little contact with a device…..we do research–they both attend a Montessori school. I feel if you start too young, then they will be less likely to play with legos, draw, etc. I am so happy my kids have been very limited in their exposure up until this point.

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  • But we also have to remember our children are also losing their social skills with one another.

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  • I agree in terms of it not being realistic for the 21st century, however I feel that your post could have and should have been much more convincing. You responded with an article supported by research study after research study with primarily opinion and a couple of loosely related studies to support it.

    I think that with the research that the original article cited, we need a third option. A happy medium. I don’t have kids yet, and I’m sure I’ll cross this bridge when I get there, but I would probably work on allowing my kids to use handheld devices in moderation, maybe for 1 to 2 hours at most per day, not 24/7, and certainly not after bedtime.

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    • *to an article
      Sorry about that :)

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    • Hi Daerina. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. You have summed up perfectly what I did, and that is very much what I intended to do. I could have written an article (much like this one: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-kleeman/10-reasons-why-we-need-re_b_4940987.html ) with much more citations and research, but that wasn’t my scope. I’ve written things like that in the past for m y job. But my blog is about parenting, so I wanted to write from that framework. I thought about not including any links to articles at all, but I wanted to demonstrate that anyone can find supporting documents to back their stance on this issue, much like Rowan did. I believe in stories, and the power that they hold, so I tried to incorporate those into my post. Interestingly enough, it has been viewed and shared many more times than the response I posted above. So I think it was the right decision. Good luck when you do cross that bridge!

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  • The article arguing to ban technology had its points based on numerous scientific studies. This article’a points are based on opinion so it really doesn’t hold much weight with me.

    I agree with the educational benefit with technology, but not until a child is much older. Everything else written here hasn’t swayed my decision…

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    • Hi Heather. Thanks for reading and thanks for noticing that this was by no means a research article or a persuasive piece. I have written about this topic before in a much more academic setting with studies included. I happen to think stories are stronger than studies. I was simply stating what works for me as a parent, and the reasons (because of what works for me) that I would never want to see handheld devices banned for children. I’m glad that you have something that works for you and your (presumed) child. Cheers.

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  • Exactly my thoughts. Although you worded them a lot better than I would have!

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  • Brandon Benerba

    These points are horrible. It’s like no one read the other article. Keep giving your kids technology – great parenting.

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  • Agree completely! So many benefits to technology (in moderation of course).

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  • And I quote…” Stop reading “clickbait” articles about technology and instead explore it yourself for awhile.” preceded by a link to a Huffington Post article called “9 Ways Video Games Can Actually Be Good For You.”

    Your hypocrisy and defensiveness are just confirming your laziness and “me first” tendencies on raising your kids.

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  • Both links at the bottom point to the “lazy” article. Where’s the “nature” one?

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  • Pingback: 10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices | education | technology | design

  • So eloquently shared, and with credentials people will listen to. Your words above have been our experience, too. Technology is just a part of our life, rather than being made coveted and mysterious. It is easy to overlook that we may be discouraging future coders, developers, or video game creators with our personal fear and misinformation.

    A truly beautiful article. Thank you for writing it.

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  • Melody: I do use technology as what you might consider a “babysitter”. We attachment parent and homeschool- meaning our kids are with us 24/7. My husband and I have date nights by all four of us going to a restaurant while the kids play with a leap pad, or watch Disney Channel anywhere. I also take advantage of video game time to work from home. I play and watch these things with my kids a lot, too. An interesting thing happens… When kids have free access to stuff, they often don’t want to use it when you want them to :)

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  • Soo number 7… I guess young boys should put down the gameboys and start reading people magazine’s hair styling tips. After all there aren’t too many male salon workers amd everyone should have the same job oportunities right?

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  • Reblogged this on Love, Life & Lemonade and commented:
    #Agree

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  • I love this article!! Both my kids have their own tv and their own tablet. They also play inside with cars, trucks, Legos board games, go outside to ride bikes, play tag, hide and seek, and chase their friends with Nerf guns. You just have to balance technology with inside play and outside play. Mine as well embrace technology and teach your kids now how to balance it with the rest of their lives so it doesn’t run their lives like it does with our generation.

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  • I’m a mother to an 8 year old girl and 10 year old boy. I’m also a special education preschool teacher. In both instances, we have used technology. I think it’s all about balance. Of course turning kids loose for hours and hours unsupervised isn’t advisable, but your article isn’t saying that. People (who probably didn’t really read it) jump to conclusions. Just like everything else- technology is good in moderation!

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  • Justin Hofstetter

    I just had my first a week ago (well, his mother HAD him, but still), and I really appreciate stuff like this. Even though it’s a ways off, his mother and I are constantly talking about future issues like this. It’s great to read something well-reasoned that isn’t just reactionary.

    I think, as a teacher, that this mirrors some of the arguments concerning authentic teaching vs rote learning. My uncle, who was also a teacher and came from that rote learning background, always says, “All rote learning did was get us to the moon and invent Microsoft,” but as you point out, those things changed society and, more importantly, changed the human brain. The research against devices seems to be founded in a similar reactionary stance that doesn’t acknowledge how the iPod/iPhone/iPad/tablet movement has changed the way work and learning and even thinking operate.

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  • When used correctly I see 0 problem with kids using all kinds of technology. I’m 21 now we got our first home computer around the same time I started k5 and we had internet off and on from that point. Now we have 1 desk top and 3 or 4 laptops, an iPad, a Kindle Fire, and an iPad mini that is strictly my step dad’s for work and we all have smart phones. My 5 y/o brother can work all of these things very well is only major problem is the fact that he can’t spell some things so we have to get him to some websites but once he’s there you had better back off and let him do his thing.
    All of that being said if you use your iPad as a baby sitter/ as an excuse to not be a parent then you pretty much suck. Kids also need to have human interaction, they have to put the phone or the tablet down and spend time with you. I know this article isn’t promoting that but I just felt like putting it out there.

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  • Brilliant. Thanks for this. Really great read and with 2 kids who have embraced technology, makes me feel better about being a parent – and that I am doing it semi right. ☺

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  • My son is almost 6 and I’m in awe about his ability to navigate around our computer and iPod. You always hope your child will do well in life but I’m confident he has a very bright future whatever that entails. Technology surrounds us and we have to embrace it. That said he loves kicking a football around and digging in the mud too. Who knows what his future holds but I know that we will do our best to guide him.

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  • Reblogged this on Learning Outside The Box and commented:
    One mother’s reasons that she puts no limits on technology in her home, with her two daughters. I’m with her. Embrace it. It’s reality and there is a huge gap between boys and girls who receive science scholarships: Only 12% of computer science degrees currently go to girls.

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  • Your response to the original article was well written and thoughtful. Technology seems to be a part of your household. I teach at an alternative elementary school K-5. We have an organic garden, a wetland learning area, Spanish instruction, and much more. What we do not have is computer usage in grades K-2. My own son, a recent college grad, reminded me recently about his time at my school. He is grateful that technology wasn’t emphasized. He and his friends did not miss anything. Children do not need to learn keyboarding at 6 or 7. They will pick it up quickly at almost any age. The world is full of so many amazing learning opportunities. Our school prefers the world of nature and human relationships to the world of screen time, googling, and games. Years ago, I taught kindergarten at a different building and had two computers in the classroom for use at “free choice time” for learning games. The children most interested in using the computers were, unfortunately, those who needed time socializing and learning to get along with peers. When the games were in use, children crowded around the computers, three deep, to watch. The dress up, blocks, and water table sat idle while the electronic mesmerizer did its magic. Finally, banning must be used sometimes. Would you allow your 5 and 7 yr. olds to watch R rated movies? It’s quite a different scenario than young teens who would want to watch them. I’ve only had a cellphone for a few years, and currently do not connect it to the internet. There are many ways to learn, and not having technology around in the early childhood years will not inhibit our youngsters. There is a time and a place for electronics. For me, that time is later in childhood/young adulthood. Just my take on it.

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    • Addendum to my reply (above). My brother is an IT specialist and has exposed his 3 girls to technology since they were about 2 and able to point and click. When they go to visit my mom (their grandma) they are all busy glued to their phones (they are now pre-teen, teen, and college age). I guess I am part of a generation that is not as comfortable with tech. (I was almost 40 when I had my son, and I’m 63 now). We purchased a computer when my son was 7, but there wasn’t much going on for children back then. He never had GameBoys or anything like that, but his friends did. As I’ve said, he’s grateful for his low tech childhood. He’s a computer whiz today, has designed some websites, and cruises the net with ease. Starting later in childhood didn’t hurt his facility with electronics.

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  • Yay, to teaching Scratch! I am a computer scientist (34 years old and female high school educator) who desperately wants kids to learn programming. We do not have it in our curriculum (canada) as a requirement for graduation. …..and sadly this leads to addicted social handheld users instead of curious problem solvers.

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  • Everything in moderation. I am a supporter of exposure to technology and with proper oversight from parents the potential access is limitless. I have a 2.5 year old who has had exposure to an iPad and other technology since he was about one. My husband and I both use these devices for work and pleasure and it became a “monkey see, monkey do” in our house. The results have produce a boy who knows all his letters including how to sequence all 26, numbers through 20, sight words, problem solving, self interest, and has moved onto sentence building on his own terms. He doesnt seek to play mindless games but rather things that challenge him. He spends plenty of time in the snow… chasing the dog, loving his little brother, putting puzzles together, playing fort and reading books….if I have any concern at all it will whether we will home school. He has surpassed primary school students in some ways already. Kudos to the author for making a case for the 21 century!

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    • Still have one foot in the 20th century (or maybe the 19th), but articles like this and thoughtful replies that advocate for technology just might help me move into the new world. Still plan to keep the computers out of kindergarten, though. Children will use them at home anyway. Thank you for your input on this issue….your son sounds well balanced and fun!

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  • and also, my daughter surprised me by installing an app on her device to study body parts for her class… She study and learned it from her apps. It also had game for her to play too.

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  • It sounds to me like you have a nice balance between technology and other activities. Thank you for reminding us that we need to teach our children how to research and find answers. When I cook at night I look up recipes online for inspiration. Tutorial online are a great way of using the Internet to learn. Good job mama!

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  • Just a short comment as it is passed my bedtime, but technology is also awesome for using with children on the Autism spectrum. There are programs for helping these children communicate, learn in a way they understand, and not to mention it’s a great motivator or reinforcer! Just wanted to say that I appreciate your article.

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  • Reblogged this on OurTeachingBlog and commented:
    Lots of people are against kids having access to technology like tablets and smartphones. I am occasionally one of them. But I do think parents can teach kids when to put a device away and interact with company or play outside. I also am teaching the students to program with Scratch, so that they create content instead of just being a consumer of it. I liked this article and agree with what it has to say about kids and technology. Read and enjoy. Tell me what you think when you have a moment.

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  • Kids should learn through play and interaction, they have their whole lives to get tech savy! …PLAY KIDDIES PLAY!!!

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  • Reblogged this on Alternate Tutelage and commented:
    10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices – A very good argument on why technology is a tool for learning!

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  • I love this! I read the article you based this off of, and I have to say that the basic point was parents don’t pay attention to technology use. That’s a whole other issue that doesn’t have much to do with technology! Technology is surrounding us more and more! Keep up the great work!

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  • Honestly, I may agree that some tablets and computers are OK for children under 12 if they are using them for learning based programs but it absolutely appalls me when I see kids under 12 with cellphones, especially iphones! I bought my very first phone when I was 15 with the money I earned myself from my part time job and that is how it will be for my kids as well. There is no reason for a child that young to have a phone. Also, it seems a little over the top for a 7 year old to have their own ipad. I am 22 and I don’t even have my own ipad because I don’t need it and it’s too expensive and no I am not behind in using technology. I have a university business degree and a great job with a huge company. I do agree that there are some benefits to allowing your kids to use technology young but at the same time, they can end up spoiled and entitled if they are allowed such expensive and breakable technology. Believe me, I went to school with a lot of kids who needed to buy the newest ipod as soon as it came out even though the old one still worked and same with the iphone. Obviously, if you are being smart about it there are ways to give your kids technology and still ensure they don’t end up spoiled, and I in no way am suggesting your kids are spoiled so please don’t think I am. I would say that while you make some good points about kids needing to learn a lot about technology to keep up these days, personally I may only let my child use the computer for an hour or so a day with severe monitoring if they are younger than 10. Where I went to high school computers are not really used a lot for in class projects even now but where I look at it, I watched TV a lot as a kid when I wasn’t outside and you could say that is a lot more damaging to kids than using computers and tablets.

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  • PREACH!! While obviously it’s not great for my 8 month old son, I still thought that whole banning argument was absurd.
    http://www.lisaalamode.com

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  • I’d be more interested in hearing about your responses to the scientific evidence provided in the other article in regards to the relationships between handheld devices and radiation emission, “digital dementia”, and the issues related to brain development. Everyone knows that kids will eventually have to learn to use technology. Just like eventually they will have to learn to use calculators. So do we just skip the concepts and the work and actual problem solving skills (I’m sorry, learning to google something is not problem solving) and go straight to the easy out? Especially with all the scientifically proven consequences involved?

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  • I think you have a lot of valid reasons for keeping technology as a balanced part of your life. I think most parents would agree that it is going to be a part of their lives regardless of their desire for it to be or not to be. It is every where and so even if you are trying to deny it, it is there. So is there truly a balance? My question is this…if you believe it to be so important for the future of your child, what other areas have you invested in with equal time. Have you taught them how to protect themselves? Have you let them learn how to find their own food? Have you taught them how to navigate when they are lost? Do they know how to build shelter or make a fire? I think the downside to technology is that it has taken away from the most basic ideas of living and taking care of ourselves. There are not apps for that and there is no simulation that can teach those things. Technology could be here to stay but then again, it may be gone in a split second. Caring for yourself and knowing how to survive, the most basic human and mammalian concept has been run out of heads completely.

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    • It’s true! Most people have no animal husbandry or horticultural skills. Some know how to pitch tents and tell which way is north, how to build a fire, etc. but would starve within weeks without a grocery store (me included). Few know how to sew their own clothes, fewer know how to weave their own fabric, and almost no one knows how to spin fibers into thread and yarn!
      It hasn’t been that long since people lived from their gardens and barely scraped by. Obesity wasn’t a problem because everyone had to work hard for their food and there wasn’t any extra.
      We may never need it, but then again, we might. If all we know how to do is google things and text, we’re going to be in a world of hurt.

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  • I’m amazed at the number of people who know the best ways to raise everyone else’s children. Give me a break. Parenting is hard. We all have to make decisions every day about the best ways to parent our own kids. And what works for one family doesn’t have to work for every family. In fact what works for one of my children isn’t necessarily going to work for the other two. I appreciate that you are willing to do what you think is best for your kids even with so many people, who probably have never met you or your kids, criticizing you.

    I also let my children use technology. My kids are 9, 12, and 14. My two older kids have iPhones. Yes, I know, this is shocking information! My kids attend a BYOT (bring your own technology) school. They use their devices in class for research and learning apps. Very occasionally, one of them will text me a question from school, but mostly they keep them put up because they will be taken away if they are using them inappropriately. Seems reasonable to me. Some of your commenters would be shocked to know that my 12 year old son chooses to go outside and play basketball for hours every day even though he has an iphone. And it’s true that my 14 year old daughter does do a lot of socializing on her phone, but surprisingly enough, when her friends come to the house, she doesn’t stumble over her words, she is able to socialize in person too. She also uses her phone for research all the time. She has learned that just because someone says something, it doesn’t mean it is true. In fact, if she read the original Huffington Post article, she would immediately want to know if the research presented was true, and she would proceed to spend hours using technology to help her discern the truth. Having the ability to research in her hand, literally, has helped her grow as a student and as a person. I’m glad to have this tool in our toolbox of parenting – it isn’t the only tool, but it is certainly one that we embrace in our family.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I ran across this blog via Facebook. I found it interesting and I read the two other posts that you linked to about people responding with the “L” word and talking about kids needing to play outside.

    These are just my thoughts on all three blogs,

    I gave my oldest daughter a cell phone at age 10 and her sister one at age 7! I did this because at the time I was a single mother, living in a town where I had no family and the only people I knew was the people that my former spouse had been friends with, as well I had no option but to work as many hours as possible in order to cover the basic bills. Their cell phones made it possible for me to keep track of them while I was driving home from work. They did not spend endless hours home alone but they did often walk home (a couple blocks ) and had a few minutes before I made it home from work. I needed that link to my children in order for me to better deal with the idea that they did not have an adult watching over them for that time.

    As well around that same time my children were offered the opportunity to have a MySpace then later a Facebook. Many many many people criticized me for this choice, rarely did people even listen to why the children had these accounts. The truth was that their father had joined the Army and spent the next several years in Hawaii and Iraq, both places were on different time zones, one was a war zone so calls and communication were limited. The social media gave my girls the opportunity to share some of their life with their father, Some times it was the only link they had to him.

    I currently have a 5 year old daughter who has my old iPhone to play with, an xbox that she loves and her own Nabi tablet; not to mention access to several computers. She loves the internet and Skype. My N-Laws live in the UK and we live in the US, my 5 year old has been a Skype baby since birth, her grandparents watched her sleep in her crib where I had a web cam mounted onto the side of her crib just for them, She has grown up knowing that Skype was a quick link to her grandparents and the rest of her British family.

    We live in a wold of technology and when used correctly that technology can serve useful purposes in our lives, fill gaps that as children we could have never expected to fill. Is technology a substitute for real life contact? Of course not! But it is a communication tool that can be a wonderful link to those that we do not get to see daily.

    Do our children need to play outside? Of course they do! The real issue is that just because a parent advocates for using the tools available to us people want to assume that technology is the only life we provide for our children. My children have never lived without computers, internet and my five year old has certainly not ever lived without social media. But she is one of the most well rounded adjusted children I have ever met. I have raised 5 children and she is the most flexible and outgoing child I have, Her Pre-K teacher told us in the first week that our daughter was well ahead of all her class before starting Pre-K. This was partly due to having attended a great daycare where the owner strives to prepare her kids for school, and partly due to all the internet access she has ( videos and games ) and partly due to the parenting we have done with her.
    Her Kindergarten teacher has commented more than once that she is the peace maker in the class, and can bring the class together when their is a conflict, and she does it with ease. She learned this skill from internet videos!

    As well my children have spent a fair amount of time in England and my husband, who is a falconer, has exposed them to a lot of outdoor life, hunting, fishing, hiking, ect.

    Just because we say we support technology does not mean we do not ever expose our children to anything else.

    As for the lazy comments,,,,, I have used technology to my advantage often, In addition to the five children I have raised we currently have two foster children. They are not (by DHS rules ) allowed in our fenced in back yard without an adult, because we have a small above the ground pool. With my previous children when they are school aged, I had no issue sending them out to the fenced in back yard ( a privacy fence with locks ) to play for hours while I did laundry, washed dishes, vacuumed, cooked….. playing out in the back yard was my baby sitter when I needed to get life necessities done. It is not an option now because I can not vacuum and be in the back yard at the same time. Technology does help with this. We have 4 tablets, 2 xBox consoles and a ton of child appropriate games ( Sesame Street with the kinect is great!) The kids can have fun, learn a few things, see themselves on TV and with the two older kids they are learning to work together on two player games. Lego Batman may not be the most age appropriate game for a 5 and 6 year old but I have a foster child who struggled to not be in charge, with this game he has had to work as an equal to my 5 year old because when there are two players a lot of the challenges require them to work together in order to get to the next level. But I dare say that during the time the children are using technology to babysit them, I am being far from lazy! My lazy moments are always full of the children. If I choose to have a “lazy day” where I refuse to cook and clean and do all of the boring hard life stuff, that time is spent playing with my children and my husband and we spend the day doing what ever we choose, the zoo, a video game day, a pool day, what ever it is we do it together as a family. The children on devices time is work time for me.

    Both of our foster children were never enrolled or attended any sort of school, they were not home schooled, they simply did not go to school until we got them. In the few short months that they have been here, technology has plaid a huge roll in getting them caught up to where they should be. Apps on my iphone that help them learn letters, numbers and rhyming word and tons of educational apps on their tablets too. School this year has not been about education for them, this year has been all about anxiety control and adapting to a school environment. Their teachers, their DHS team and myself all placed them in school at the middle of the year knowing that they would not be progressing at the end of the year, but instead adjusting to school and the environment and working toward progression starting next school year. Their teachers have been wonderful, and they have been learning some through school and the extra work we do with them at home, but technology had also been key in keeping their attention on the subject long enough to actually learn something,

    Do I allow technology to babysit my kids? Heck yes! I need time to cook for them, wash their laundry and sit down and pay the bills. That does not mean that they sit on their devices 24/7. I am not their maid, they carry their own laundry to the washer, they put their own toys away, they clean off the table after dinner and they can all mate socks and put away their own laundry! But there are some things that they can not do, and I need a half hour of not interacting with them from time to time.

    They do however have outdoor time, home work time, dinner time, play time, arts and crafts time and clean up time, we do leave the house for things other than work and school and we do have a life outside of technology, but technology is a part of our lives and serves it’s purpose daily.

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  • All I can say is THANK YOU for writing this. I was deeply uncomfortable with the other article but you put into words exactly what I was thinking. I love it!

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  • First of all, the article you’re responding to didnt’ say to ban hand-held devices. It said to limit the time to a few hours a day, based on age.
    Second, have you seen what trouble your kids can get into by browsing for innocent things like how to draw a cat on YouTube? I certainly hope you have heavy filters on your devices. But even then, they won’t catch everything. My children are not allowed to find YouTube videos on their own because it is my responsibility to control what comes into my home, and I refuse to allow filth into it.

    And third, I’ve never understood the philosophy you describe in #1. If Rated-R movies were banned by my parents, I didn’t watch them. I respected my parents enough to know that they knew better than I did, and they must have a reason for banning something. And surprisingly, my friends were okay with it when I said I wasn’t allowed. I remember one time at a sleepover when they decided to watch the movie anyway, and I just went in another room. But another girl joined me because she wasn’t allowed, either. Most of the time, they respected my parents’ rule and chose something else to watch. Standing up for what I believe was a great lesson to learn, and it has served me well.

    So if you have a rebellious kid on your hands, do you smoke with your kid, just so they’re not doing it out there on their own? Do you do drugs with them? Do you get drunk with them, so they’re not getting drunk with their friends? Do you watch Rated-R movies with your kids so they won’t be tempted to watch them at their friends’ houses?

    Why would you condone poor behavior by doing it WITH your kids?

    I can understand letting your kids have friends over at your house, even if you don’t like those friends much, so you can keep an eye on them, because you’d rather have them there with you instead of alone with those friends. But the logic behind #1 is just…well, it just sounds really stupid.

    That’s my opinion.

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    • Hi Susie,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and respond. The title of the article was “10 reasons handheld devices should be banned for children” yet you don’t think the author was calling for them to be banned? Interesting. Now, I assumed Rowan wasn’t actually calling for legislation to ban the devices for children (because that would be absurd) so I’m left thinking she wants parents to make that decision on their own (with the assistance of her misuse of statistics). And in that case, I do not think parents will be successful in banning technology from their children, unless they want to keep them in a bubble.

      I was not allowed to watch PG-13 movies when I was a child. However, one night I was at a sleepover and they popped in a movie. Dirty Dancing. I watched the movie and didn’t learn until later that it was one I shouldn’t have watched. I told my parents about it. They didn’t get mad at me, they didn’t get mad at my friends, instead they just asked me if I had any questions. I was able to have an open dialogue with them about the movie, and they later loosened their restrictions on movies because they knew I would talk to them about the contents if I had any questions.

      That is the point. Engagement.

      And while I don’t outright “ban” things for my own children, I do heavily discourage things. One of those things is the word stupid. (The same word you used to describe my reasoning.) If I was to use the word, however, I would probably use it to describe someone who judged how I raise my own children, through one blog post they read about me. If I used it.

      Good luck.

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      • I think she does raise one good point. I am often nervous about looking anything up on youtube for fear of the atrocities that will pop up on the side of my screen that somehow are in no way linked to what I was looking up. “9 year old gives birth” comes to mind. I actually don’t know how filters on youtube work. I imagine you use them, as 7 is much too young to have free reign of youtube. Are there any? Do you have a program for such a thing? My kids are allowed limited access to only the sites I choose, but would love to be able to allow both my children and myself access to youtube.

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  • Very well done. Suck it Huffington post. As a technology bound dad, I’m behind this, especially with my 17 month old.

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  • Well written. I enjoyed this post. My children love to play Minecraft on their ipads together. Lots of laughter and problem solving going on. I would never take that away from them. :-)

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  • #1 I totally agree. If my kids are going to be using technology, you bet I will be there with them engaging and supervising.

    #2 I agree technology is so great when it comes to this. My kids are always asking questions that I can’t really answer (Math, Science History etc.) So it is a great source to get information from. Do I want them unsupervised on the computer, no. I believe parental guidance is the key word. If I don’t know the answer I always say, “let’s google it”.

    #3 Yes, while technology is very important to learn, I still think that kids under 5 should not engage with handheld devises. Their brain are still developing and I think kids that age should learn hands on. There is still time for them to engage in technology in the future, but not this young.

    #4 I definitely do think school age kids should have access to it only to aide with their education. I really think video games are a waste of time.

    #5 & #6 I think this is good; However, I do also think that good old fashion activities such as taking art lessons, ballet, playing sports etc. is very important. There is nothing like hands on learning.

    #7 #8 #9 & 10 I think as long as there is an equal balance that is all that matters. My kids have access to technology, but not 24/7. They watch TV only 1 hour a day. The rest of the time they use their imagination. They make things out of cardboard boxes, we talk and play, read books, play board games, etc.It’s not all about technology 24/7. A little of old fashion fun mixed with fun technology makes a good recipe.

    Overall, love your article. I just thought to add my two cents. ;)

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  • If this author had really read and comprehended the article she would have noticed that the the author of the other article did say that technology was good but it needs to be regulated and used in moderation. I am an educator and use tech as a tool but not as much as a good book or paper an pencil. It’s becoming way to relied upon and needs to be taken out of the hands of small children. Time for parents to step up and actually be parents and stop using tech as a babysitter or a tool to just “shut their annoying kid up”. – this was told to me by a student recently.

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  • Thank you for posting this. I am a mom with two boys who are polar opposites if the life spectrum. My oldest son began reading at 18 months. He is currently in kindergarten and reading at the level kids should be at for the beginning of 4th grade. If it wasn’t for the availability of technology his educators would not have the resources to help him continue to grow. That being said, my 3.5 year old is on the autism spectrum, and his iPad is a huge aid in taming violent tantrums. He has a special app that helps him to work through his feelings when verbally doesn’t work. I am so blessed that technology is available for my children. My children are well rounded and participate in outside activities daily. It’s about teaching balance, just like everything in life is.

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    • Could you possibly share the name of this app? We’re still looking for ways to help get through meltdowns. I’d love to take a look at it.

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    • This is an excellent point! I have personally seen children on the spectrum be able to use handheld devices to communicate, express emotion and explore their interests when nothing else could reach them. That would be a shame indeed to remove that much needed instrument.

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  • I think number 10 really says it all. I’m not a fan of technology or the fast pace at which it is developing. I don’t think allowing my children to spend countless hours with technology is the best learning experience. Having written all that, we live in a technological age. Like it or not, if we don’t allow our children to experience technology we are stunting them. Perhaps it’s an area you feel is ok to leave off an education curriculum, but you will still be removing a skill that is necessary to excel is almost every professional field.

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  • Pingback: Today’s BEST: Hipmombrarian’s 10 Reasons Why I Will Continue to Give my Children Handheld Devices

  • THANK YOU for mentioning the need for your girls in technology. We need more women in computer science! As a kid who grew up on technology I would not have it any other way. I spent my first three jobs showing people how to open a task manager and trouble shoot basic errors, every generation needs to know these things to be successful.
    Thank you

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  • As the father of two young girls, something tells me that the kids will have plenty of time to get hooked on smartphones, TV and social media when they’re older, so I don’t feel compelled to speed it up. Reading books and writing on paper works pretty well so far for them and they rarely complain about not having their own technology. I’m not expecting them to write code yet.

    I didn’t have a computer until high school but am doing fine in the technology field. Social skills are much harder to learn and more critical to life as a whole than technology and screen time takes away social development, no matter what Facebook says. Thus, given a choice, I would always prefer them engaged in non-technology based activities than those involving computers or TV.

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  • 1) Because Banning Things Never Works – Isn’t that part of what parenting is about? Regulating your children’s behaviors and building the trust behind this? I can honestly say I didn’t watch an R rate movie until I was 17, and there is a reason for that. There are reasons why children aren’t exposed to things that are for adults. Perhaps banning is harsh terminology, let’s say restrict and regulate. I’m not afraid of being the bad guy.

    2) Problem solving – Learning how to draw a cat isn’t problem solving. Not having the solution to a problem instantly, i.e through a hand held device increase’s a child’s creativity to solve the problem on their own and use their own devices. Using an iPad to help draw… oy… my inner artist died a little…

    3) Technology Skills – Most kids aren’t using iPads and video games to learn coding and these certainly aren’t skills more kids under the age of 12 are developing. Unless you are regulating the apps they are using… doubtful.

    4) Expectations in school – Fine let them use these things in school for educational purposes, then encourage them to do other things at home. I find it hard to believe that all public schools are using iPads in class. Computers are not considered handheld devices.

    5) Interest – There are other ways to engage children without these devices. Again, of course they’re interested but it’s our job as parents to regulate and determine what’s best for our children’s well being. Kids are always interested in pushing the boundaries.

    6) Because I care about their brains – Yeah there is a lot more negative research about the effect of video games and these devices on a child’s brain. There are many more positive things that can be experienced without them so why force the issue?

    7) Girls – *Yawn* I don’t even know what to talk about here. I was a little girl and I did science fair and was very apt in math and science and it was fueled by a curiosity about how the world worked, without iPads and the internet. Again computers, sure, kids should be informed and educated about how computers worked, but supervised, and this has nothing to do with iPads which was the basis of the article.

    8) Literacy – Oy, what’s wrong with actual books? If your kids don’t rely on handheld devices for reading, they can learn how to utilize a real library and actual books. This just makes me sad… plus there is evidence that reading on a screen isn’t good for the brain or for the eyes.

    9) Reality – Another nonsensical argument. I’m very tech savvy, iPhone savvy, social media savvy, and I will still do my damnedest to protect my kids from over reliance on technology. Half the reason kids are obese these days is because they are more interested in their tech toys than going outside. My kids don’t need an iPad; they have a tv, a computer, and plenty of other stimuli. You can say what you want about “avoiding reality” sure fine, but certain things are more suited to be approached and earned as a privilege when children are older. You can justify how you choose to raise your kids, but there is obviously a lot of research out there to indicate why this technology should be regulated for kids under 12.

    Also, if you don’t want your opinions judged, don’t blog about them. Simple.

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  • Balance, balance, balance!

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  • Thanks to puzzles and the fisher price apps, my child learned his ABC’s and counting to 10 before he turned 2. A note about the negative huff post article, I noticed non-parents posting it. There should be a rule, no advice until you’re a parent yourself!!

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  • I see value in both this and the huffing ton post article. I will say though that the other article only suggested that children under 2 abstain from using any devices or TV and gave a a chart listing time limits for each device per day that did include video games, IPad, and TV time as they aged. I think as in all things it’s more moderation that researchers are pushing for as its common place to see parents shoving a phone in a whiny child’s hands or plopping them in front of a TV. All things in moderation!

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  • The first and only positive article I have seen on this topic. We love devices in our home! My three-year-old just looooooooves Play-doh and she watches Play-doh videos on YouTube. She has learned how to do some pretty darn cool things from watching those vids. :) I feel I defend her use of technology enough … after all, this is how my husband and I earn our living … we both work in tech. She uses a device but that is not ALL she does, same for my husband and I.

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  • I appreciate all the reasons to have technology in the hands of youth. We are in fact in an age of technology, it fits. However, my concern lies with the electromagnetic rediation being emitted from the devices. Does this concern you, too? I have seen protector pads to place on childrens’ laps. I have read the user manuals and explicitly instructing to keep these devices as far as 1 1/4″ away from the body at all times. The manufacturer’s warning is why I’m concerned. I’m not getting persuaded by some article or person deterring me, it’s a caution sign direct from the maker! Something just doesn’t sit right with me what with all the cancers and infertilities. Every electronic device in our homes is at work here. While it’s not practical to remove all of them, keeping them at t asafe distance is important to me. Just my two cents :)

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    • I appreciate that perspective. I honestly hadn’t thought about this aspect of it, but I will certainly look into it more.

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  • Although it’s great for children to stay updated with the new age. I fell it takes away the socialization & real life experiences. As with anything in life. The time a child spends with new devices I think should be limited. Children today don’t seem to have the imgianation & real life experience today. Let them be as one would say a normal child as was years ago. Play normal.

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  • I really could not agree more. I hope that parents don’t follow the advice to ban devices. That would be so sad for their children. My son has autism and tech has been a huge interest of his, which is great because it’s also helped him in areas where he was and is behind developmentally.

    I had a very similar reaction to yours when I read this piece: http://karenschronicles.ca/blog/2014/3/11/10-reasons-i-wont-ban-my-son-from-using-mobile-devices

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  • I couldn’t agree more! My son is developmentally delayed and I took issue with some of the things she had to say in the article about that (http://karenschronicles.ca/blog/2014/3/11/10-reasons-i-wont-ban-my-son-from-using-mobile-devices), but this is also a topic I have written about for several years now. I think most people assume that all parents who let their children have access to technology do so to the exclusion of everything else and to have a cheap, constant babysitter. And I get a little frustrated hearing that it’s not a normal part of childhood. Actually, it is…in 2014. Was it normal in my childhood? No, but I did use computers. Was it normal in my parents’ childhood? No, but they did watch TV. Was it normal for my grandparents? No, but my grandparents also worked more as children. The world changes and so does what is “normal” for childhood.

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  • Reblogged this on I Sat in Silent Musing and commented:
    I’ll admit I felt a little guilty when I saw an article about banning handheld devices for kids under 12, though not enough to do anything about it.

    Then I read this and it replaced guilt with common sense! Thanks hipmom!

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  • Pingback: Kids and Technology: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly | Dr. Kristi Wolfe

  • It doesn’t look like tablets are going away any time soon…. They are the future and it can’t hurt to get children started at an early age

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  • Good reasons. Every generation fears the new thing the younger ones adopt, rock music, television, video games. We all survived and so will our children. The only real problem is #8: turning them off. It’s like teaching manners — it’s the parents’ job to say turn it off, go outside, hold a piece of paper in your hand.

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  • For me this was a very interesting read, and I have got to thank you for showing me another side to the argument. Often I have seen a parent or someone else hand a tablet to a young kid, straight away I think ‘oh there not toys, not designed for kids, and not suitable’. And whilst I don’t think they should be the only source of entertainment/learning for kids (which I know you were not suggesting otherwise) I think that its great if they can be used in a positive way like you have with yourselve and your children. It’s great that you understand the positives and have pointed them out, as some are very quick to judge without looking at it from all angles (like I have been!). The thing is, when the devices are being used with there parents, or whoever they are learning/being entertained with, the kids are not missing out on any of the things they would be when taking part with any other activity with the same people.
    Nice read.

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    • Ben, Thanks for taking the time to read my post and actually comprehend what I was trying to say. I think so many have tried to immediately put me into a category of “unsupervised, unlimited, tech use with ALL children” which is not at all what I was saying. I appreciate your thoughtful feedback and I agree it is very important to look at it from all angles.

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      • Your very welcome, you sure make good points.
        I look forward to reading your future posts (and now I have discovered your blog, reading your old ones too:)

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  • So i’ll be honest, I have written some pretty strongly worded responses to others advocating the use of hand-held devices for children. I am in the ECE feild and have strong views on limiting technology for children in their earliest years.

    But I have to say.. This is the first article I’ve read that actually is thoughtful.

    I really enjoyed your point about teaching children how to have a balanced life with technology. For me, and my experiance with children who are exposed to technology too early, has always been that children have a very difficult time learnign how to moderate their technology time, and You are right in that it is our job to teach our children how to view technology as a tool, not as an addiction.

    However I do struggle with your claim that it helps development, as most studies show that direct interaction with a human MKO (more knowledgable other is far more benificial than spending any time infront of a screen. Also screen time limits how much physical activity a child can engage in. Simply by limiting the movement capabilities of their arms and hands (by holding a device), the body cannot move fully, and often children need movement to help the knowledge they are learning stick. The difference between a child being able to sit and listen to the lesson and have full movement capabilities, means they can count on their fingers, or imitate the shape of shovelers, ect.

    When little hands are grasped around a tech box, they cannot wiggle, or dance or collect other items to help build connections. they are receiving information in a very singular fashion. Sure it might help them memorize thousands more ____ whatevers… but maybe our children don’t need to know all that. Maybe they need to learn to be comfortable with simply themselves, before we add into the mix ANY tool that has the possibility to damage.

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  • Well written post great

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  • I entirely believe what you have written. The world is evolving faster than we can even keep up. We put our children at a disadvantage when we choose to keep certain things that are not harmful from them. I do believe that there is a limit we should put on technology exposure, but only so that we can all pursue exercise and being outdoors as well all need that too.

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  • Great post, thank you for that. I fully agree with you, children has so much fun while they’re learning. I see my nieces 4 and 6 managing the iPads very easy. I believe it’s great to teach your children early to use hand held devices and such, so that they can handle them and take advantage of them as great tools while studying etc. have a great weekend

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  • As a parent I completely agree

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  • I’m with others here who applaud you for the reasons you state to give your girls opportunities to grow with technology.
    I recently responded to an article dealing with adults losing their ability to be face-to-face social due to technology (social apps?). It seems to me you’ve found a healthy balance for your children. They can have ‘tech time’ and ‘other things’ time… brilliant!

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  • I gave my daughter her first iPhone when she was quite young. Many disagreed with this but I am a working mom and it was a great way to keep in touch. Thanks for sharing this post.

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  • Beautiful post! Makes alot of sense. Exactly how I feel too

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  • Enjoyed this read with 2 young girls myself. The apps they have access to are educational and informative.
    http://www.seeingintome.com

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  • I think all of your reasons are logical ones. Although I’m a bit of a traditionalist myself (I’m getting up in years) I forced myself a few years ago to delve headstrong into the iWorld. Thank God I did, because my calling to get back into writing took off like a rocket because of technology advances in the social media platforms. My twenty-six-year-old daughter sometimes calls me up now for help with using her devices.

    I firmly believe that children under 12-years of age need to be introduced to the digital age as soon as possible. That’s what the world is all about now. Why hold them back from something that can will inevitably pass them by with a twitch of the eye if they are not prepared.

    I still, believe, however, that small children need to maintain a healthy, lifestyle balance. They should be taught that digitizing through your entire day is not a healthy way to live. After all, isn’t that what we are supposed to do as parents – teaching our kids to balance out their life proportionately?

    Good post. It deserves all the shares its getting.

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  • Don’t forget about getting lost! You’re kids will need it to reach you. And also, there’s studies that show playing video games makes kids smarter by making them think more. So don’t listen to the anti crowd on this issue.
    dailyquizquestion.wordpress.com

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  • Great post. I just heard a rebroadcast of a great Freakinomics Radio program about the cultural differences in men and women today. They showed thru one study that risk-taking and competitiveness, for example, are not as gender-based (nature) as they are culturally-based (nurture). So interesting to think of how we unconsciously put our kids into gender roles. Technology is definitely one of those subjects that has a very deep, sometimes unconscious gender preference towards boys.

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  • Reblogged this on rosesandfeathers and commented:
    I was initially very against encouraging the use of handheld devices with children, as I do find it a real shame when I go to a restaurant and see families sitting at their tables ignoring one another, all engrossed in their own devices – and that part of me still disagrees with over-use of devices in certain situations. However, this blog has made me reconsider how against it all I truly am…and I found this extremely refreshing! Fascinating :)

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  • I have very mixed feelings about the current daily handheld use of iphones by children. I am an aunt of 7 nieces and nephews from 3 sisters. The 2 eldest in their mid-20’s, naturally don’t carry their iphones (I’m not sure if I’ve seen them carry one around when they visit family members) but they are university educated. One of them is an geological engineer and she+boyfriend have an old computer. They don’t care/aren’t bothered.

    Next set are teens and when I joined them on several car rides for over an hr. on trips in Canada where they’ve never been, they didn’t bother to look at the fabulous mountains in British Columbia and Alberta, barely. And they are from Ontario. And at the museums, they barely seemed to look at any of the displays.

    3rd set, are the youngest. The 5-yr. old niece last year, told me she wants to blog when she’s 15. Her parents probably told her this. She probably has seen my personal blog. I said great. She does play on the iPad for 15 min. which is the rule by her parents. I actually think it’s good because she is currently learning to read whole physical books and learning write her letters, numbers properly.

    Her brother is still too young but again the parents limit time.

    My partner has 2 adult children in their mid 30’s. I said: Be lucky that your chlldren don’t pull out their iPhones automatically to check when they visit you and don’t pay attention in conversation at the dinner table. Because they really don’t feel like when they visit him. He only sees them 1 once per month or less. He doesn’t ask them to be like this. It just is.

    And oh yea, I’ve been a special librarian for adults …lst 20 yrs. of career….so experienced multiple generations of technology..

    I haven’t gotten to an iPhone: I’m cheap. So cycling lots and then blog, surf, do art.

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  • I have mixed feelings about your list. Of course children should use hand held devices. For good or for bad, this is their world, we’re just trailing along after them. Having said that, I would suggest that one on one interaction with our children is just as vital. We’re all so hypnotised with our hand-held gadgets that we are losing the ability to communicate. We count so much (me too) on the ability find the answers to our questions on the internet that we’re not doing any original thinking for ourselves.

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  • People had reservations about exposure to books when they began to be mass produced.
    People had reservations about exposure to radio when it began to be popular.
    People had reservations about exposure to television when it began to be pervasive within the home.
    At 7, my boy blows my mind with his engineering abilities in Minecraft.
    At 9, my daughter expands my mind with her knowledge of the cosmos using her SkyGuide.
    What could be better than that?

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  • Yes I agree with you, all in moderation. Sometimes it goes to the extreme one way or the other. kids should have a balance.

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  • Very salieny points you have made both as a parent and educator. Like you mentioned, the key point is for us parents to engage with them while they are using technology rather than letting them wander off aimlessly. We should also remember that at one time when books first became mainstream, some people were worried that kids will become anti social if they read books instead of talking to others.

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  • Childless boob here. Maybe this has been covered in other comments, but I don’t have time to read 200 of them:

    At what age does a child learn that dropping a $300 device from waist level to a hard floor will very likely turn it to trash? AND learn to maintain the presence of mind to keep it from happening more than once a year?

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  • morganloriphotography

    yes. all of this.

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  • Why do ‘progressive’ governments all around still believe that simply banning shit – general stuff – works? It would be nice if the people making these decisions picked up Freud or Frankl some time, before making these absurd laws (or propositions). I hate phone zombies. Loathe them. Detest and despise them. (You know, those people, usually b/w the ages of 13-30, who walk the streets completely enveloped in their phones.) Really, truly, exponentially hate them. Nevertheless, simply saying, ‘Children under 12…NO MORE TABLETS FOR YOU!!!’ won’t solve a thing. Technology might be slowly killing the Human brain and replacing it with a Robot sort of brain (something that I wouldn’t label with the term ‘good’), but outright banning stuff just don’t work. What are they even trying to achieve, anyway? I’m sure that they are not, like me, concerned with peripatetic road-walkers, bumping shoulders and spilling the coffees of fully-engaged pedestrians all over the world. Bah!

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  • Reblogged this on agus1983 and commented:
    Coll

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  • I think you have made a very good argument against people who want to stifle and control access to technology for children.

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  • Thank you for sharring and reminding us of the uses of technology !

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  • I agree with completely. The anti-handheld device article posted used scare tactics of warn parents. But against what? There are a lot more benefits than disadvantages – the key is parental involvement.

    My son learned his letters through Endless Alphabet. He’s now 4 and can read 3-4 letter words. My daughter is 2 and just loves it. Letter recognition is an important part of learning their alphabets and I can’t tell you how the app has motivated them to learn on their own.

    Thank you for enlightening the rest of the world. I, too, am an educator and see the need for kids to keep up with technology as it is their future.

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  • Great points! The world needs more parents who are open minded and innovative like yourself!

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  • super post…………..and good news from this post……….technology development….reading good………………..#wordpress!

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  • totally real and agreeable. those who oppose to this, should really wake up their idea about technology

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  • Che bellissime che sonp qelle due ragazzine

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  • Being a programmer and systems analyst, from the moment my son was born he was exposed to all sorts of new tech and introduced to every new type of computer as it became available.

    At 29, he’s a degree qualified Geographic Analyst, (makes maps) but he’s also traveled the whole world, and although I’m well traveled he’s been places that amaze me.

    6mths in a camper van in New Zealand; a year in a truck travelling the East coast of Africa; every area of Australia, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Europe, the list goes on.

    He works all day at a computer desk in Epping, London, doing something he loves, to earn money to take him and his wife all over the outside, that they love even more.

    In life balance is everything and ensuring your kids get a balanced view of technology as well as exposure to the beauty of nature, the world and the people all over it, is essential.

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  • I think moderation is key when it comes to technology. Technology is unavoidable. Parents are responsible for how much “screen time” their children consume, and what quality of it that they consume. Cable TV commercials should be a huge “no-no”, in my opinion. Also, don’t use technology as a pacifier. Provide lots of other hands-on activities in addition to hand-held devices. Play outside when it’s not raining. Talk to real people every day. That’s all there is to it. My pediatrician booklet thing recommends a total of 2 hours of “screen time” (all total tech time — TV, hand-held devices, games) for young children. Ideally, that’s probably good advice. :)

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  • Really liked your 10 reasons.

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  • Unfortunately, none of these are based on brain mapping and how the human brain develops scientifically. I don’t think any of these reasons are benefits above the risks involved. It stunts brain growth, you can’t argue with that. Thanks for your opinion though.

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  • I too have kids that are allowed to use handheld devices. Technology is here to stay and I don’t believe keeping them way from it is going to be beneficial for them. We still play outside, talk to each other at the dinner table and read books. Balance and Moderation! Great post!

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  • Though I currently don’t have any children, I appreciate this post very much! I also love that you included a portion about living life in balance. A lot of parents just throw technology at their kids to give them something to do and to keep them occupied, out of adults’ hair. The fact that you see technology as an educational tool to better a child’s learning and future is beautiful. We need more parents like you!

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  • Reblogged this on A Brand New Day and commented:
    Agreed!!

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  • BALANCE. Their is a time and place for everything. And this includes tech. Great post.

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  • If I’m honest I have been a little afraid of the impact such devices could have on my daughter, however reading your article has opened up my mind to the positives. What a lovely read, thank you for the insight x

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  • I still don’t want to agree with you, but I do. I have to because you’re right. I banned my son from using them and I lost the battle, not because he threw a fit. He just became completely unmotivated. He thrives with technology and it is our future so I simply limited the amount of use and used it to motivate him to work harder in other areas of education.

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    • lisa, sounds like you actually won! You found something that works for your son and you monitor it so it also works for you! I lost a “princess” battle in our house early on. I didn’t want my children exposed to any princess stuff because it drives me nuts. But every birthday they went to, every Halloween , every day at school there was princess stuff everywhere! So now I draw my line a little further, and I think it is a win for everyone.

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  • I guess moderation is the key idea here.

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  • I’m sick of technology and its effects on people and society, so I am giving up my computer and cell phone for the whole summer. The only reason I am not doing that already is because I need my computer for online classes. I already don’t carry a cell phone and have done that for at least two months. I only needed it on one occasion and things still worked out fine. All the other times it would have been a distraction and a waste of time.

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  • I think technology can become a problem. I have seen it used almost as a babysitter. Responsible use, with a balance of other activities is fine, like you have. Surely without responsible use there are many more things that can be harmful for children, so why are there not articles on them? Great post :)

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  • I agree with every thought you shared. I have children. 19, 15, 11, and 3. Everyone has a laptop or tablet. I could not imagine them not in my house.

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  • I feel your first point is the most poignant and I am so, so glad you began with it. Banning never , ever works. Education is key. Moderation is key. well done on this .

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  • AMEN TO THAT!!!! Handheld devices are our future whether we like it or not. Saying to never let our children use them is just ridiculous!

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  • Reblogged this on robynturton and commented:
    Whilest posting I found this, makes me feel less guilty about my sons interest in smart phones and gaming

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  • Love this post hun made me feel so much better such a shame not all people see it as an advantage

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  • thanks, i am totally agree with you.

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  • Loved this. I get so frustrated that there are fear-tactic articles for nearly everything (vaccines cause ADD, cell phones give you cancer, etc. etc. etc.). My favorite point is that parents need to stop fearing everything because someone, somewhere, said they should. We need to think critically and make informed decisions.

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  • Wow, very cool post. I like your ideas, and must say I think most the same. My 3 year old son doesn’t let me use my iPad anymore. Lol

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  • Reblogged this on Placar Eletrônico and commented:
    Very interesting post!

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  • I’ve just added a link to your article in a post of my page (in fact, a small post based in what I read here, and my own experience/point of view. You’ll notice that my post has the same title as yours… For a good reason… :))

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  • Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    From a mother’s perspective. What say you???

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  • Your point number one was dead-on:
    One of my sisters tried to raise her boys without toy-guns…they ran around the yard shooting each other with sticks.

    Congrats on being freshly pressed.

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  • Interesting topic. It certainly is amazing to see how resourceful young kids can be nowadays using the technology they have at hand. My partners nephew (3 year old boy) loves playing with the iPad around the house. It really does amaze me how he is able to turn it on, open up YouTube and find his favourite shows and videos.

    Do you think that having technology available to children at such a young age is affecting their ability to socialise? (Face to face that is). Do you think it makes them lazy?
    Is there a link between technology and the rise in obesity?

    I definitely agree that access to technology at a young age is excellent for self education but it definitely has to be part of a healthy balance and doesn’t become the be all and end all.

    Thanks for the post, some of the comments were very interesting.

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  • I love this blog post. (So much I tweeted it.) I can relate to all 10 of your reasons, and I have 3 girls. Three years ago we bought our 3 year old a netbook, and her older sister joked that the newborn (now 3) would probably get a tablet for her 3rd birthday. She was right – a Nabi, but she prefers my iPad. She broke the netbook (not before she reconfigured the camera settings) and now has a Cromebook, to accompany her iPod. We keep spelling words on the iPod and she creates animation with online shareware. Now our 3 y.o. can take her own photo and practice writing her numbers on my iPad – the Nabi has broken after only a few months, but was not intuitive in the first place. I may have to buy her an iPad mini :0

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  • Yes! THANK YOU! I’m am glad to see other mothers who feel the same way I do! Well said!

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  • You are absolutely right and I totally agree on all points. I am a mom and having studied pros and cons, as parents me and my partner decided to give unlimited but supervised access to iPad to our 2 year old. And yes, we will be motivating him to learn to code as early as possible, potentially before he is 5 or 7

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  • Your points make perfect sense! As a mother of a high-need baby, I escape from exhaustion with the help of technology–a welcomed 15-minute distraction for my baby.

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  • Probably one of the most coolest moms of this generation… kudos to you for thinking out of the box like a mature n practical person rather than sulking in a corner abt kids being over-sharp n super-techie these days. *from a fellow tech-lover). Cheers. :)

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  • Reblogged this on Inglés para las masas and commented:
    En su justa medida, el uso de este tipo de dispositivos es incluso recomendable. Todo es cuestión de elegir las apps correctas. Uno de mis propósitos con este blog es dar pistas sobre algunas apps que pueden ayudaros, tanto a adultos como a niños, a reforzar lo que aprendais en centro educativos.

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  • Reblogged this on I'm Booby-Trapped! and commented:
    Okay so baby is only 8 weeks old but she has two extremely tech-friendly parents who are a graphic designer & web developer, and are constantly using (and loving) handheld devices. She will have her own, I’m sure. She’s already watched newborn stimulation videos of contrasty moving shapes on the tablet & our phones, and she loves it. She has 2 cousins (aged 3 & 5) who have their own iPad minis & are very creative with them, and I’ve seen how useful they can be.

    I love that the author of the blog cites am instance where her 7 year old used YouTube videos to learn to draw a cat – perfect use of tech. I taught myself to knit using YouTube, it’s such an amazing resource. I’m sure we’ll be responsible with our children’s use of handheld devices, but this article certainly gave me something to think about.

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  • Reblogged this on InfoJunkie and commented:
    Great blog post! Excellent argument.

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  • I believe you have made the right choice. I also have 2 daughters and want them to have the opportunities in the workforce, no mater what field they choose. Good on you!!!

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  • Great post. Thank you for writing. I have a son that only watches and plays educational things on my iPhone and iPad but at 2 1/2 he knows all numbers shapes colors and ABCs. He does use flash cards that I made for him among other things but sometimes the quite and distraction is nice :)

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  • Great post. This is a new perspective, and I am glad that I stumbled upon this article.

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  • You began by stating that your insight on this topic would be from that as a parent, not an educator. Actually, you referenced your teaching experiences a few times – which I feel is completely acceptable. This topic incites a lot of discussion – as you can see from the vast number of replies. You have made every effort to keep an open-mind, using your perspectives as a parent, an educator, and a member of today’s society which continuously changes whether we want it to or not or in what way we want it to change. Excellent read!

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  • Great thoughts. Love, love, love #7. And re: #9, with so many books now ebook format, what easier way to put a lot of choices in front of kids? In a car, at the doc office or on vacation, with a tablet kids can be reading. Its all about choices, being in tune with the world as it is today and taking the good in technology.

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  • More power to your elbow Meg. You cant start them early enough in tech, it is the future. There is far too much ‘dumbing down’ taking place (especially in education). Keep up the good work.

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  • My 20 month old granddaughter has learned her basic colors and numbers and words with her parents hand held devices.

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  • Could not agree more! I read the Huffpost article, and quite frankly, it annoyed the life out of me! Where does anyone get off preaching about what other parents should do. I totally agree that they need to keep up with the times, and that handheld devices are often educational. Most parents are NOT stupid, but articles like this are condescending and selling us responsible parents way short.

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  • Reblogged this on neamulmeu and commented:
    Learning our children to use the handheld devices in a smart way is a have to at this time

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  • I too give my children handheld devices.

    Just yesterday I gave Alex, my youngest, his first .22 LR pistol. Some may think that 5 is too young an age to own a pistol, but you’d be impressed with what the kid can do. I used to have a problem with squirrels last week.

    This week? Not a squirrel in sight. Go Alex!

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  • As a female computer science and economics double major attending one of the very few remaining all women’s colleges in the us, I had to tell you that I adored this article. Thank you, and kudos to you to opening technical fields to your daughters.

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  • I agree with all 10 reasons about technology and it’s needs.

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  • Giving tech earlier is a good sign for letting the children to be familiar with tech but it has to have parental controling system especially for the web..

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  • Reblogged this on TOORON Lists and commented:
    What do you think ?

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  • Reblogged this on Adi's digest and commented:
    As a father of 2 ferocious daughters, cannot agree more…

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  • Reblogged this on ALEXA WAS HERE. and commented:
    interesting perspective of technology life. i would recommend reading this to gain some perspective.

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  • As a home-schooling mom I use technology whenever it makes sense. My children (8 & 10) both can make presentations on powerpoint, print their essays and book reports from word, and use google to look things up. However, we still have handwriting lessons, memorize multiplication without a calculator, and both of them can use a dictionary and alphabetize in their heads. I see no reason why we can’t take the best of both worlds and give our children every opportunity to excel. Don’t let them be mentally lazy, but be realistic.

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  • thanks for telling me about Scratch. I probably NEVER would have heard of it otherwise (or maybe several years from now!) Thanks!

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  • It’s hard to decide when a child is old enough to have their OWN cell phone. (I didn’t get one for myself until I was pregnant with my daughter). It was easier to decide when to allow her to shave her legs or start wearing makeup for the first time,because I could compare it to MY adolescent years and growing up. But when to allow a child to have their first REAL cell phone was new territory as mom.

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  • what a great post, thoroughly enjoyed your perspective!

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  • I had to laugh when I read that Huffington Post article. It was like they took one of the articles from the 70’s or 80’s about the evils of allowing your children to watch TV and just replaced TV with handheld devices. I grew up in the 70’s. We weren’t allowed to watch as TV as we wanted and our mother watched with us. If, for example, the Three Stooges were on, she would make sure that we knew that we couldn’t go around poking people in the eye without hurting them. It’s the same with computers, tablets and smart phones. You have to limit the time and monitor what the kids are doing with them.

    Have you thought about getting your girls Raspberry Pi’s? The Raspberry Pi Foundation was started because young people were applying to Computer Science programs and they really had no programming experience or any real understanding about how computers work. I bought myself a starter kit for around $80 and it included the computer, the cables, wifi dongle, power supply and a breadboard with a few electronic components. Most starter kits have an SD card with several versions of Linux and programming languages like Scratch and Python. If they enjoy Scratch programming, they would probably really like them. Kids as young as six are producing some really amazing programs and projects.

    Our local library is looking for people to start some after school programs for the kids and I’m thinking about starting a program for 8-12 year olds in the fall. I’m hoping to get some girls because I would like them to see that careers in science and technology are an option for them.

    I don’t think that technology is bad for kids as long as they are taught to use it responsibly. The thing to take away from this article is that you are spending time with your girls and they will grow up to be smart and amazing young women just for that reason alone.

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  • Well said! I agree with your top ten from a “teacher” standpoint, and, as a parent, I would like to add the fact that all children learn differently. My son has autism. His iPad helped him learn to point at the age of 3. It has helped him draw lines and color and focus on a task instead of falling into “autistic behaviors”. Most importantly, it gives him something HE can control in his world – he can choose his favorite book, TV show, or game instead of being forced to do what we THINK he wants to do. His iPad apps may even help him speak in the future! Technology, when used well, is amazing!

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  • I think this is well written and certainly makes some good points. Although I seem to be in the vast minority and even though I don’t agree with everything the Huffington Post article states, it makes some equally good points.

    I have a degree in graphic design and a minor in web technology and I absolutely love technology. There’s no getting around it; It’s not going anywhere and I totally agree that it should be embraced. I often have conversations with my family members about how people lived without the internet (the cat drawing/youTube reference you mentioned is perfect). However, there is a difference between letting your children use, experience and learn from electronic devices (which is what it sounds like you’re doing) and using electronic devices to babysit (which seems to be the main point of the HP article). Frankly, I think it can be a pretty slippery slope.

    I know cell phones are not the point of this particular post, but I wanted to respond to a few other comments: I grew up in a household with multiple TVs, a computer and cell phones, but I didn’t get my own cell phone until I was in high school. I don’t think any child needs a cell phone until they’re old enough to be without adult supervision.

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  • I agree 100% — and one thing you left out is that when children have learning disabilities or difficulty with a subject they can become frustrated when another person/adult tells them they did it wrong, but a computer is non-judgmental and they will not take it personally and stick with the task for a longer period of time.

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  • I haven’t read all the comments, so I apologize in advance if I am being redundant here.

    I grew up with a computer in my house – we had one of the first, a Commodore-64, and then one of the first IBM desktops. Computers have been a huge part of my life. I would say though that it wasn’t until I got my first smartphone, only a few years ago, that I realized how addictive the technology is. My attention span has been drastically reduced and I largely blame the smartphone. I have had to physically hide the thing to force myself to read an actual novel.

    I have three children, ages 5, 3 and 6 months. The older two kids have played with the phone and sometimes it’s been used as a babysitter for 10 minutes so I can have a shower. However, I did notice how quickly the bounced from one “learning app” to another and I have to say I didn’t really like it. They are much better off flipping through a real book than swiping a computer screen. If I, at almost 40 years of age, struggle with the use of technology, how can I expect my child to understand its’ nuances?

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  • LOVE LOVE this… I agree with you. So long as technology is used for the tool in which it is there for instead of allowing it to rule us.

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  • The past is a foreign country they so things differently there.

    I agree while heatedly and loud voicedly with your post.

    When I was at school the BBC micro was the latest thing. In ten or maybe five years the iPad will be in that category of technology; obsolete. Technology is not the cause of today’s problems. Behaviour and people are.

    Those who yearn for old habits are not citizens of tomorrow. But children have no choice but to be citizens of tomorrow.

    This world needs technologists!

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  • Here’s an 11th reason. The author’s research is flawed as shared here in the rebuttal I published on Huff Po Parents http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-nielsen/10-reasons-why-the-resear_b_5004413.html

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  • Utterly ridiculous. Almost as bad as the other article I read last week with nearly the same title.

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  • very nice post… thanks

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  • Wow !! Very good article. Totally agree. :-) Instead of banning, I’d rather learn together with my kid and get involved. Thanks for sharing your thought.

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  • Let me start off by saying that I am not one of those who believe you are a lazy parent nor do I believe your children are nature deficient. I would never have the audacity to question a persons parenting skills when I have never interacted with said person or their children. I find it unsettling that after reading a few posts people can come down on the author and his/her family. I will say however that you make some points that I question and disagree with.

    I am a teacher as well. I’m a special education teacher who has been in the field for a number of years. I’ve worked in almost every area of special education but most of my experience has been in autistic support. I agree with your first point. Banning things never works. And yes, our children are growing up in a much more digital age. I’ve read the data and research showing the link between video games and a plethora of things. Growing up with 3 brothers, one of whom went through a gamer phase when he was 19-20ish, I have seen the benefits to video games as well.

    It’s also really cool for our children to have opportunity to learn things on the internet. However, where’s the interaction? I’d rather my (future) children and students come to me or another person and ask how to do something rather than look on YouTube. That’s where they learn something more valuable than technology skills. They learn how to interact and ask for help and work collaboratively with other people.

    I argue from the perspective that technology is made available to children when they are too young and the results are detrimental. I’ve seen first hand (and read about through peer reviewed journal articles) the negative affects the introduction of technology too early can have. Just off the top of my head I know of 4 close friends or family members who have children under the age of 4 who are currently going to speech therapy and “special instruction.” All of these children were given iPads or iPhones or other various tablets since they were very young. On the flip side, I have other friends who keep their children away from technology until they are 3 and then monitor their use closely after that. Why can’t our children learn problem solving skills, hand/eye coordination, basic conversation skills, fine and gross motor skills etc. from puzzles, books, and games? Why are all of my students in a self contained autistic support classroom proficient in handling the iPad but not in playing games or completing simple puzzles?

    THIS is what drives me to fight against the use of hand held devices with children.

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  • Sorry ma’am, but it appears all you’ve done is gone to great lengths to rationalize the fact you can’t say no to your children, or that you yourself have a screentime addiction your passing on to your children.

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  • You are awesome! Well-written! I concur 100%!

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  • I think the main reason not to give these devices to kids is for the health reasons. Wifi/cell phones/smartmeters is being coined by scientists as the “new tobacco”. This technology is dangerous for developed fully grown beings, bees, aphids, animals and even plants!!! It is supposed to be especially dangerous to growing developing kids. It literally breaks down our cells and affects our DNA. It sucks that they chose frequencies that are harmful to us when, apparently, they could have picked more harmonious wavelengths. Yes, the tools are amazing, and fun, and helpful. (But wifi was developed to be a stealth weapon to give cancer from a distance) At least use a wired (ethernet) internet connection and skip giving the kids cell phones to chew on if possible. Apparently blackberries and iPhones have the highest radiation levels of all the brands. The experts and whistleblowers from the stealth/electronic weapons divisions of the various military say we could be sterilizing our species, which could take a few generations to show up. And girls have all the eggs they are ever gonna have right at the beginning of their life. Well perhaps we will evolve to have an immunity. I am not trying to be negative, I have just researched it, and heard a bunch of experts trying to tell us the sky is falling on this one. And I like the tools too. Oyy! Plus as far as kids go… intellectual knowledge is not ALL that we are created to be. And I know many parents use these as an easy babysitter but it could be harming them. Not an easy era to be a parent…
    I work with somatics. One of the main things that entails is learning how to be present with our sensations as creatures. Yes we are literally creatures. We have forgotten that as a species in general. And one of the ways we can really enhance our life experience is to remain present with our bodies in real time. It is good to practice 360 degrees of awareness. And then our “5-senses-and-beyond” experience is able to grow in strength and power. Then our true natural intelligence is piqued and relied upon. Becoming inclined to obtainin knowledge thru screened (2-D) devices will teach dependence and take us “away” from our inner wisdom. These devices can be fun, can be useful, but getting dependent on them for learning and knowing can be like trying to live on junk food and thrive. Keep children moving and paying attention to their inner signals and not always for goal oriented agendas. Our cellular intelligence requires it. Emotional intelligence and true wisdom comes from within… We need to stop turning away from ourselves. It allows us to feel separate from the world around us which we now call “the environment” and not have a tangible knowing of our interconnectedness with all we are amongst. Just look at the world and see the results of this tendency toward separateness. We have literally picked it apart in the name of “learning”.

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  • I think it is all fun and good but definitely needs to be monitored. Just as any activity does. I think that it becomes dangerous when I see parents out to dinner with their kids and rather than speaking with them and having a good time as a family the child is glues to some game boy thing. I really don’t think they are necessary to be honest. I think if you have a computer in your home your kids can use that just as easily as whatever hand held devices you may have. A computer however can sit in the corner until it is needed. The temptation with a hand held device is so much more dangerous and addicting. Look at how many people have issues with technology obsession these days, relationships with their own computers. I’d say teach your kids that they can learn to draw a cat from a book as well, not everything must be obtained on the almighty internet.

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  • well I must say I was anti-small children with technology but your blog has definitely changed my mind! #inspired

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  • Beautiful piece of thought and quite frankly the Fact; thank you for sharing.

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  • SUCH a great list!! I couldn’t agree more. We live in an age of technology and our children, as they say, are the future. Of course there are limits and overexposure, but you hit the nail on the head. Use it with them, give them the opportunity not to abuse it. Well said!

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  • I wrote my own post on the same subject: http://www.scientologyparent.com/10-reasons-why-handheld-devices-should-not-be-banned-for-kids-under-12/

    …just, mine didn’t get picked up by HuffPost. :) Though, your list is similar to mine on many points. I also have two small kids, and don’t think that banning such devices is going to get anywhere, when it’s the lack of parenting involvement that the original poster was really trying to remedy – not the use of devices.

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  • Rachael Morrison

    Hi. This is a nice post. I’ve read through many of the comments but not all so I apologize if repeating. I agree with your views and also want to add down other points that people ‘against’ it are missing. (And yes I’m typing with my iphone and will probably have bad auto correct and misspellings!)
    Ipads, smartphones, computers, etcetera are not the same as TV (other than you might be sitting and that you are looking at a screen). These things are interactive! They take thought, creativity, motor skills, strategy, etc. my daughter is 4 and has been using the iphone in some way since she was a baby and eventually the iPad. She has learned colors sounds, instruments (piano apps are great) letters, numbers and reading etc. think about how so many people learn through touch and experience rather than just visual and audio. My daughter has used the bobs books apps since she was 2. It is such a better way for her to learn words and reading the. The physical books. It keeps her focused on the task allows for different levels (lower levels limit give more hints to choosing the correct words). It specifically highlight the item in the illustration that applies to the word she spells and presents it in the sentence. It’s the physical interaction, immediate feedback in a dynamic way and the directed focus that makes it an amazing tool. She also can cook and bake from mixing ingredients to cooking the item. It’s like a virtual cookbook. We cook and bake at home and I’ve noticed she can relate what we do in the real world with what she did in her app and successfully applies the concepts across other actions. I only allow age appropriate apps, so I agree there is danger in not monitoring this. And we have rules for turning off electronics at night and all. But it’s just not really and issue. She loves and craves being outside and in nature, she loves reading books, doing arts and crafts. I think we, the adults, having not grown up with this technology, are creating the issue. They are just part of our kids worlds like anything else- a couch, pencils, cars, phones? etc. just because these are novelties to us in some ways they aren’t to them. I wonder if parents wanted to ban books or crayons from kids when they were first introduced because that too would distract them from playing or working outside.

    Last point I would make is the over generalization of use if social media and playing games. You need to break down the age groups for this. Trust me my 4 year old is not on social media sites and texting all night long with her friends! Remember when you were a teenager and how important the phone was (especially for our girls) and how call waiting was even a controversy for some. And have you sen the vines that some of these Tweens and teens have done? With 6 seconds I time, so many create funny, smart, entertaining videos far better than most big budget tv and online ads I’ve seem the professionals do. And they don’t have hours long conference calls and heavy market research to tell them what to do. Imagine the things these kids will be able to imagine and invent. If we don’t ruin it all for them because of the negative side of it all. And that is our job as adults to help with the proper evolution of it all.

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  • Reblogged this on Mothers Love Always and commented:
    I agree because I allow my kids to be creative in their handheld device exploration. They can read, draw, color, play games, and learn from videos!

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  • Hey I am a little late but stumbled across this post. You raise some good points. Although I will have to disagree in some points, what stands out and is admirable is that fact that you are intentional with the development aspect of your daughters. Too many parents are disengaged with their children because they are struggling with a healthy balance in their use of technology. We need to monitor our time intentionally and take periodic breaks from technology and pursue the natural realm of things!

    http://www.Simplicityandsolitude.com

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  • Thank you for your post! I have an almost 4 year old and almost 2 year old. Both use the ipad. Both are above average in their development. Both understand English and Spanish, are using math skills, practice drawing their letters and numbers, and basically beat me at any type of puzzle. Technology is an incredible tool if used responsibly. We do not allow web surfing or videos without a parent present. We do spend time at the library and outside having fun. I could not imagine restricting my children’s growth! Thank you for the insightful response.

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  • Reblogged this on Tarek Elbakry's Blog and commented:
    Family!

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  • I could not agree with you more. Excellent points, especially number eight. I adore that you set the example of how to put down the iPad during family time and/or family events.

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  • I pretty much thought the “lazy” and “nature deprived” was covered with the words “they understand it’s one part of their day”.
    I love this. Just like anything else your kids are doing, all it involves is a dash of common sense. As long as their ability to develop social and life skills isn’t being limited, I don’t see a problem with it.

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  • Che bellissima foto

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  • Reblogged this on astburyreceptionblog and commented:
    Is there a reason to be scared of technology when it can improve our children’s learning? Is it not the future?

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  • I love this perspective! I think that sometimes people get all bent out of shape about what kids should and shouldn’t be doing. For things like this, I subscribe to the “everything in moderation” school of thought and am glad to see there are other moms out there with me! Thanks for sharing!

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  • You have very beautiful daughters, you must be very proud. I agree with everything you said but I wouldn’t let my kids use handheld devices for extended periods because of the electromagnetic radiation that harms the brain and that I’d rather they go play outside, make new friends, or do something creative.

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  • I agree with all your reasons. However, I think too much time on electronic devices can be harmful for social development. I stopped giving my son the iPad so I can spend time with him.

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  • I agree it’s about finding a balance. Electronics are good for kids and imagination play is good as well. My two oldest, 6 and 3 can work the ipad and my iphone better than me…But, my 6 year old uses Ipads in school!

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  • The Health effects are irreversible. They are ripping WIFI out of classrooms all over Europe. Go to Youtube and search on ‘Barry Trower WIFI’ and ‘Dr. Sinatra WIFI’.

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  • 1 out of 68 kids get autism. There seems to be a direct connection between the growth of wireless and the rise of autism. Google it.

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  • Reblogged this on Lost Graduate Magazine and commented:
    Awesome article from an awesome mother!

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  • MY DAD SHOULD READ THIS LOL!!!!!!

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  • I agree with your points completely and I would like to add that you are obviously a great mom. The problem with handheld devices is lack of proper supervision. A parent in my brother’s school complained at the PTA meeting about certain messages boys were sending his 14 year-old daughter. In the end, we should just be aware or how they use these devices and when they use them.

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  • It’s interesting perspective from a mother, and very well written. As a children I could understand parent’s concern regarding inappropriate usage of gadget such as porn, violent games (I don’t judge, I play GTA since elementary), and perhaps few dirty words. But it’s no point to prevent children getting exposed to such things, because sooner or later they will understand it through their environment, friends, and few strangers around them.

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  • Ciao belle

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  • Reblogged this on wordpressfresher and commented:
    10 Reasons – Children Handheld Devices

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  • proud of you … learn with your kids … rub elbows with others, maybe they’ll get it eventually! good post!

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  • Both my kids use all sort of tech and it has learned them a lot my 3 year old knows so much more than what my big man did at that age I don’t even need to help her when she is on my tablet. What realy pee`s me off is when people say we let our kids play on them because we are lazy how the hell do they no how long or why other peoples kids are on them. I think kids should be show the tech world because its just part of life now god you even have to use a PC to look and apply for jobs now.xx

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  • Such great points. I have a 16 month old and am already a little torn by the fact that she loves the techno devices so much. But she can already do things I haven’t figured out lol

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  • I think I have a mom crush on you

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  • Thank you. Beautifully said. I feel the same way and my oldest is only 2. He has a sensory problem. We are in therapy for it and ever since I gave him his inno tab 2 he has gotten so much more aware of how to solve Lil no big deal things that use to be major meltdowns for us. He gets timed on how much he uses it. He knows when to put it away and the right time he is allowed to play it. And guess what? It is a learning device from vtech. So go on momma. Your awesome.

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  • I agree with you on many points as to the reasons why you will allow your children to keep their hand held devices. Technology is a great teacher and it’s extremely useful. There are so many things that I have learn myself with the aid of Technology that otherwise I may never have known. You have to do what’s right for you and your children. And the fact that you’re teaching them that technology is a tool and not a crutch is awesome!!!!

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  • Thank you for the article, even I don’t have children, the way you said it, makes sense ! And you`re so right !

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  • Quite honestly…I feel as though your article lacked well-thought-out reasons. Your reasoning sounds convincing if you read superficially, but if you really get into the reasons why you will continue to allow your kids technology, it sounds more like going with the status quo than thinking honestly, carefully and with some foresight. I hope you will check out my rebuttal as to why I will limit my kid’s technology. I was asked to do a guest commentary for a series Technology and Tots. You can find it here: http://berlinbythebay.com/

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  • Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I liked this blog post.
    It was helpful. Keeep on posting!

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  • Reblogged this on The Learner and commented:
    This is a reblog of one of the most interesting argument about the use of ICT devices for young children that enhanced their learning in some way or another. Indeed ICT tools can be harmful to children if used excessively but in moderation, children learn many new skills in an instant and with much interest and self motivation. Here’s a blog from a parent with two beautiful daughters that is somewhat a testimonial of how some parents may feel about the use of ICT’s and how it has helped her children learn creatively and independently.

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  • Your point on literacy doesn’t really make sense to me. I have a 3rd grader and she has phonics and word recognition down. The type of literacy that I am interested in her developing further does not appear on cereal boxes, or, I believe, on most apps, games, and videos. Perhaps you have a source of highly interactive apps that are unknown to me, but the things I see other kids doing on these devices are mostly of the type that allows them to be passive recipients. They are not downloading kindle books that would require increased attention span, richer vocabulary, and deeper understanding of culteral literacy. Besides, I’d rather see my kid invent her own games, make up her own movies and music in her head. You say that you do not allow the devices during structured activities but what about the unstructured hours of the day? There are a finite number of hours in the day, and a finite number of days in childhood. Time spent on these devices must, necessarily, take away from other activities, Time spent on imaginative play. Time spent outdoors. Time spent socializing with other children. Time spent reading books. And yes, time spent with very little stimulation, quiet time, which the human minds needs in order to listen to that running narrative in our minds, time in which to figure out exactly who we are. My daughter attends a school that requires much of her schoolwork to be completed electronically. She is learning technology quite well, and I am very happy to see it. I see how quicly she picks it up.I truly believe most applications of technology kids are participating in that she currenly does not have access to could be learned in an afternoon.

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  • I believed in this article as I am a parent with 3 lovely daughters. Tablet games are not bad they can learn from it and since you can sometimes install an app to limit and control their playing time such as Screentime Ninja. In this app you can limit what time they can start playing if their time credit expires and they still want to earn more playing time they have to solve a math problem to gain extra playing time. Its great huh? Yeah I am using this app and I find it useful and helpful for me as I am a busy mom who has a day job and I can’t monitor them every hour. :)
    Here’s the link : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=screentime.ninja&referrer=utm_source%3DEva

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  • Well said! As a mom of a techno baby, as my daughter has been dubbed by her grandma, and as a elementary teacher librarian (the title should really been changed to include something about technology, I couldn’t have said it better.

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  • We are really struggling here with screen time and today has been full of screaming and arguing and tears from both my 8 year old and myself because I wouldn’t let him have 15 more minutes of Minecraft videos before he finished his school work for the day. Days like this are making we want to take all screen away…. Very discouraged.

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  • I’m not a parent yet but hope to be soon. I’m an uncle of 23 nieces and nephews and I’ve seen a lot of learning come from technology they use.

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  • i am also like this debate.this is most fabulous debate. i am from 9th class from this debate i win the inter school competition

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  • Pingback: Good Reasons For Kids To Have Handheld Devices | iFamily

  • rainydayreflections

    Reblogged this on Rainy Day Reflections and commented:
    I’m taking a few minutes to reblog this post because I’m so happy to see a post about the positives of technology. Technology is here to stay and I think it’s important that we teach our children how to appropriately take of advantage of all it offers. It shouldn’t be used as a “babysitter” or a reward anymore than watching TV should. Technology should simply be a part of life. Take time to learn all there is out there in the technology world for children (and for you). You’ll be pleasantly surprised. (Ok , I’m stepping down off my soapbox.) Thanks for a great post Hipmombrarian.

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  • Pingback: Everyone At Daycare Owns A Smartphone… Does My Child Need One? | Cribsters.com > Find Child Care, Reviews, Advice

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  • As a librarian and tech support I think it’s important to encourage the use of books and tech. If you do any research on how the brain is being “wired” at a very early age scientists strongly discourage the use of any kind of tv, device, etc. except under very limited time use. Think 5 minutes a DAY for a toddler. Not parked in front of a computer, device or tv for hours. Sadly that’s not unusual. Most parents don’t supervise their kids on tech and our society is reflecting that. I think it’s safe to say that we will see a spike in learning issues with kids who just want to stare at a screen all day, and not interact in “real life”. I have already talked to many educators about this and they’re seeing it too. Kids with no patience, who want instant everything. Kids in classrooms are learning something really important- more than reading, math, writing, history, they’re learning how to interact with people, in real time, in the flesh. And learn to know when to turn a device OFF. It would be great for adults to learn how to turn off their devices for a few days too. Sadly most won’t.

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  • There is still no evidence of the radiation effects on the children’s brains we will have to wait for the first cases of children diagnosed with brain cancers from the wi if just like smoking was ok to do in the 80’s who’d have thought that passive smoking was a killer back then

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  • I sometimes irk on strangers when they make loud remarks about my son playing with an ipad (specially when we are on a restaurant). My lil boy is smart with the ipad. He just turned two, can draw doodles, differentiate colors, play puzzles, or other kiddie games, read a story book, watch pocoyo or barney all by himself on the ipad. And when he gets bored with the ipad, he colors using crayola on real coloring book, point characters on real physical story books, plays kick ball and hide and seek with me and very active in the playground with the other kids. The key here is the discipline parents show & tell. And how much quality time they have with their kids. With or without an ipad. Welcome to 2014!

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  • It is from what I just read at the Huffington Post on this subject that the doctors who with their typical closed minds only see a portion of the facts and only focus on a fraction of the causes and effects and only that which supports and reinforces their negative view.

    Why do people put so much trust in doctors, when it clearly states in their job title that it is a practice and NOT a profession? Why are only a few people questioning the lack of any real world data and blatant ignorance of these self-proclaimed professionals (doctors)?

    It behooves us to take in all the facts because our children are our future and without a solid understanding of the technology that has infiltrated every aspect of our lives from an early age they will not be competitive enough to succeed (let alone function). To flat out say that using technology as a young child is detrimental to their health is about the most ignorant thing I have heard yet this year.

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