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Toddlers, Learning, and Technology

September 15, 2011

It seems to me like I was born right before technology took a huge leap, which has always left me a bit behind. Trying to catch up with the latest electronic device – from cell phones, iPhones, iPads and Kindles, to online forums and messengers like AIM, Facebook and Twitter – has left me struggling. I can’t catch up!

Needless to say, this week, an adorable 18 month old s toddler howed me up. Enter the next generation of kids. This little girl can barely utter words and just learned how to use a fork. Her new favorite toy? Her “bubbie”. Also known as an iPad.

This little tech guru can navigate an iPad with the best of them. She knows exactly where her games are, how to use them, what episodes she wants to watch, and even how to locate the volume button. Her level of comprehension of this toy is absurdly impressive. What’s that you say? Maybe she is operating from rote memory? Not so. When her parents switched around the applications she still knew exactly how to operate the iPad.

Two things struck me. First: Apple is an ingenious company. They have made their products so accessible and easy to use that anyone from the age of 1 to 100 can buy and make use of them. Secondly and more profoundly it demonstrated how children – at such a young age – are completely advanced in what they want and what they understand, even before they learn to use language.

Which led me to wondering – when does a child reach a point of consciousness that he/she can learn to make specific requests and demands? From my experience with this toddler, I learned that this point happens a LOT younger than I originally assumed. Either that, or this tyke is the next Bill Gates.

-Natalie W., SmartSitter

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