Toddlers and technology

Throughout my first pregnancy, my keyboard clacked away 6 hours a day just 3 inches from the little baby growing inside my belly.

Now he’s three and he’s the one clacking on my laptop keyboard.

The Washington Post reports that toddlers spend more time with technology than they do with books. More than double the time, in fact:

“On average, kids under the age of 8 spend about 29 minutes reading or being read to, while they spend more than 90 minutes in front of the television alone. They also spend about 17 minutes on the computer, 14 minutes playing video games and 5 minutes, on average, using a touchscreen device such as a cellphone or tablet.”

I can see how the screen minutes add up in our house

At one year old, my toddler’s toy of choice was the iPod Touch. He happily slid screens around to view pictures and open and play apps. Now I have to watch over his shoulder as he goes on YouTube to watch videos of cars. (I caught one rendition of Wheels on the Bus that had the driver going “glug glug glug” just before crashing off a bridge!)

One of my toddler’s favorite things to do is type on my laptop. I start him out with a blank Word document and he has fun making all the letters appear on the page. It took him a while to get the hang of the mouse, but now he successfully navigates the little arrow all over the screen, clicking to open programs and change settings (that reminds me, I have yet to untangle them properly).

Thank goodness we got our toddler reading from a really young age. Though his spelling still leaves much to be desired…

A secretly sent text message causes baby name confusion..

My toddler has called my husband from my phone and regularly sends him text messages.

One time he tried to send him the word “truck” but spelled it as “turak”. My husband replied, “Turak, is that a new name for the new baby?” I didn’t know my son had sent the initial message, so I thought my husband was losing his mind, suggesting a ridiculous name for the baby we were expecting, out of the blue. (We were really having a hard time finding a name!)

Checking my sent messages, I saw my son sent just the letter “f” to a neighbor the other day. There was no reply.

With this new baby I now hold in my arms, the soft click of my iPod Touch plays constantly, as I check emails and update his feeding log. What technology will he be into when he’s three, I wonder?

Tech gadgets for us are like the TV in many homes

We almost never have the TV on. But there were days when I was pregnant and exhausted, and I’m sure we sat on the couch for two hours as I turned my son loose on the iPod and then the laptop. They hold his attention better than a Thomas the Tank Engine video.

Like many parents do with the TV, we usually put limits on our toddler’s technology time. The iPod is (normally) just for 30 minutes max at a time. And I can really only stand to see my laptop terrorized for 10 minutes before I put a stop to it.

I understand it’s important for my sons to have lots of people interaction and less screen time. But I was also encouraged to hear from a wonderful kindergarten teacher that most of her students come to school already knowing how to operate a computer. Those who have been shielded completely from technology have a harder time catching on.

But that’s us. What about your toddler and the world of technology?

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Comments (6)

  1. Jessica B.

    My 6th month old loves to look at my phone and watch me type on the computer. It amazes me that their love for technology starts so early! As he gets older I will definitely be setting a time limit for watching TV, playing on the computer, and video games. I want him to love playing outside. I know so many young kids that don’t get outside enough. This can lead to obesity in kids. Everything in moderation. 🙂

  2. Ces

    my daughter used to be addicted to the TV, it’s good now, she doesn’t ask me to turn it on anymore all the time.

  3. Denise

    While I agree that technology is an important tool for kids to learn to use I am really hopeful that I can keep my kids away from it until they are at least 2-3 years old. Too many studies have shown the damage that screen time does to the little developing brains of babies, not to mention the decrease in their social skills at these times.

    And I see first hand every day the amazing difference iPads make to autistic children at school. They go from the non-communicative status to fully communicative status with the right apps and the right method of teaching. This is the best use of technology I have witnessed for kids 🙂

  4. Melissa H.

    Wow, that’s interesting. It’s crazy sometimes how integrated technology is in our society!

  5. J ROE

    My son has medical problems and we spend a lot of time in doctors offices. We wouldn’t survive without the IPAD. I have accepted as a part of our life and his education. I just try to be thoughtful about spending quality non screen time with him.

  6. Terri W.

    My grandson loves to “practice” typing on my computer and he is only 5 months old. I can’t imagine the kinds of technology that will be available to him when he is my age! I think with limits, introducing technology at an early age will have many benefits for our young children.

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