The newest addition to our family came 8 years after our others and we have all recognized that he is the most “Digital Native” of our kids. At the age of 18 months he was navigating my iPhone and I was beginning to find myself downloading apps that I thought might be of interest to him. By the time he was 2 years old he was a master of i-products, and our first iPad was soon confiscated by the then 3 year old. When I walked in the door in the evening from work I was greeted with “Mom, can I have your iPad?” I have to admit it was funny at first but then I began to notice that I was secondary to the iPad. The iPad was the first thing he asked for in the morning and the last thing he wanted to play with before bed at night. My older kids bitterly said that the iPad was really his and he was just letting me use it for work. I vehemently denied these accusations, but deep down I know it was true.
With that realization I began to wonder, Did I Create a Monster? Here is a child that will never know what it is like to actually roll down a window by hand, to turn a dial on a TV, he has no idea what a cassette tape is, we have never had a VHS tape or VCR since he’s been born and I wonder about the future that is ahead for him.
His world is LIVE, happening right now, all the time. His world is interactive. He is engaged with it almost all the time. Even as I write this blog post on the MacBook, he is touching the screen trying to “move” it around like on an iPad.
TV shows he can watch “on-demand”, he can find almost everything on YouTube to watch, he can navigate Apps with very little assistance, and I have found that he is not scared to try and fail then try again when he is “playing.” I can not help but notice the ease and comfort he has with the iPad.
No, I did not create a monster, I just have a child that is surrounded by technology because of the fact he was born to me, a technology junkie. He is ahead of most kids when it comes to to the digital world and how to navigate in it. He understands that information is available at our fingertips and often reminds us of that; like when there is a “discussion” among the adults and the kids about the a Footloose movie reference (original vs. remake) the boy will say, “Why don’t we just look it up on the iPad.” Duh! We all whip out the i-products and look up the topic of debate and see who can get it up on the Apple TV the fastest. Ahhh evening fun at the Tabaldo house. This little exercise in proving the others wrong, teaches Internet searching skills, website validation skills and even debating skills (maybe that is just at our house….)
I maintain that I did not create a monster, I am raising a digital native and nurturing him in his natural habitat.
(photo top: taken by: S.Tabaldo April 2012 photo bottom: taken by: M. Tabaldo May 2012
photos may not be used with out permission.)