toddler tablet timeGizmodo had a fascinating article yesterday on tablet time for toddlers and whether limiting their time was actually a good idea.

Tablet time and TV time are often lumped together as screen time, but the article makes the point that while TV time is passive, tablet time often isn’t. She talks about her children and what they have seemingly effortlessly learned to do online:

My kids know how to skip ads on videos and how to navigate a website even if they can’t read the words on it. They know what information you can get from a phone, and will pipe up to recommend I text Daddy or ask Google or punch something into the GPS. Keeping kids away from screens is as nonsensical as if parents of the past kept their kids away from the radio, or the telephone, or pencils and paper.

That last line resonated with me. Tablets are going to be (and for many already are) the pencils and papers of tomorrow. It never would have occurred to me as a parent to limit pencil time.

We didn’t limit screen time for my now 23 year old. He didn’t have a tablet, but he did have various Gameboys, and I always chuckled when I saw him and his best friend, walking round and round the neighborhood, talking and playing games on their respective Gameboys.

I recently splurged on a Nintendo 2DS (must finally play Fire Emblem: Awakening!), and I also picked up Super Smash Brothers. I was having some trouble with that one because some of the controls are not intuitive to me. My son picked it up and immediately figured out the things I was having trouble with. He said, casually, “I’ve been playing games so long that I sort of just know this stuff.”

That’s what I want for him. I want technology to be something he just knows, instead of having to take special classes like my generation did. My high school and college had classes in “using computers.” I can’t imagine a need for “using tablet” classes for Millennials and the next generations. They are growing up with and learning technology by, I guess, osmosis, and I think that’s a good thing.

Anyone else agree or disagree?


  1. I wholeheartedly agree.

    I am a 50-something IT professional who was exposed to computers from an early age since my Dad was a systems analyst. But although we played with computer paper and templates, I didn’t actually use a computer until high school. I didn’t really gain a lot of experience and skill until my mid-20s working in a research library when I was around for the Web revolution.

    My kids grew up using computers. They played games, did research for school, and used tools like Paint, Excel, and Word for school projects. Using tablets, smartphones and social media is second nature to them.

    However, I still have deeper technical skills than they do and am the one they still come to with issues, even though they’re all adults now.

    I intend for my 6-month-old grandson to have the same advantages. We already had an interactive book that uses a smartphone to popup 3D images and read the text when held over the pages, very cool. I look forward to teaching him many other things via technology.

    I should add that all that great technology should be countered by lots of free play, preferably outdoors. Nothing on any screen can take the place of healthy play in the sunshine (or rain), running around and making up your own activities and games, and experiencing nature.

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