Thursday, December 27, 2012

How Young is Too Young?

  I apologize for the hiatus over the holidays but even I must take vacations, some would argue too frequently. But that is a discussion for another time, and perhaps on another medium. For now we must tackle the here and now. How young is too young?
Photograph: Alamy
   Here I sit, mid afternoon on a delightfully slushy Thursday in a New England Dunkin' Donuts. All around I hear the laughter of children with their parents, both avoiding their normal obligations of school and work. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I see a gaggle of 8 year-olds putzing around on all sorts of media devices. Iphones, Itouches, Ipads, Ipad Minis, Galaxy S IIIs, Google Nexuses, Kindle Fires, and more were being tapped, yelled at, and shouted over by all of these kids.
  Now I consider myself young, and I didn't even acquire a smartphone until this Christmas (yes it was a gift, thank you Mom and Dad). But the point is that I didn't yearn for one until the need was there. I will be taking a position in a week that will require me to be much more connected and available through all mediums constantly. My last cell phone, the Samsung Freeform II, was not able to efficiently receive and send out data through the internet.
  So how young is too young to be using a media device of the ages. Well that is a complicated question. My 9 year old cousin received an Ipad Mini for Christmas, and the house has never been quieter with her in it. She played her games all day long and everyone was finally able to relax. However, when we sat down to eat, she was told to put it away.
Yonhap News

  Do children need these devices? No, they absolutely do not. But then again I didn't need a Gameboy Color, or an N64, but I was ecstatic when I got them, not to mention my parents must have loved the silence even though three growing kids lived in the house. I'm sure the last generation was just as excited to unwrap Atari 2600s and Commodore 64s.
  So the question, it seems, is not "how young," but "when." What guidelines do we give ourselves, our children, and fellow parents for these devices? Please leave your comments below and I will compile them as tips and tricks.  Happy Holidays!

1 comment:

  1. Ahh but the content was more manageable with an Atari or N64. That makes easier for a parent let a child use them. But an iPad or Fire have Internet access...