In 1890 Thomas Edison released a talking doll to the market. It didn’t succeed. The reason it didn’t succeed was because it was a crap product – creepy, unreliable, too heavy. It didn’t fail because kids were addicted to it.
Let me explain…
Recently I saw this photo being shared on social media, and after reading a few articles on the subject I’ve concluded that the entire argument is bullshit. Kids aren’t stupid.
When I was growing up, my siblings and I had decent access to technology. We had a very old Viglen computer that ran Windows 3 (before we installed it, of course. Before that it was purely Command Prompts to load up Prince of Persia and Rescue Rover), we had a Sega Megadrive (not entirely sure where that came from) and a majority of the TVs in the house provided picture in colour.
There was a point where we all had our own TV in our room, a point where I had my own computer in mine and over the years more technology came in than went out so that nowadays my old room and the attic is a treasure chest of floppy disc drives, Sega Megadrive Cartridges and numerous Gameboys.
But despite a head start, we were quickly overtaken. Other kids had satellite TV, PlayStations, top of the line computers and various other gadgets. The point here is that I have fond memories of sitting playing Call of Duty 1 on Windows 98, the same way my parents have fond memories of listening to pirate radio stations in the *gulp* olden days.
This isn’t an “I turned out fine” argument, it’s a “none of it matters” argument. Kids need stimulation and it really doesn’t matter where that comes from. In the meme that set me off, there’s a kid gazing into an iPad as stuffed toys and colouring books sit idle. Kids are clever enough to know that play time may not last very long. Grown ups may take them away from their toys for dinner or to change a nappy or to put them into the laps of strange relatives. So the infant processes the information very quickly – what here can give me the best playtime satisfaction in the shortest time?
The stuffed toy version of a horse may be cuddly, but it can’t talk back. You can’t control its movements, you can’t interact with it in the same way an App would allow you to. Crayons are fine, but you don’t want to run out of paper before your masterpiece is complete. The iPad, in this example, provides the best stimulus for said tiny human.
What are these ‘problems’?
Clearly the creator of the meme would laugh at such a question. I mean, the photo sums it up! It says so! So let’s examine that:
(Child + iPad) < (Child + stuffed toys)
(Child + iPad) = Problems
But wait how long has the iPad been out? 6 years? (Yes, about 6 years). So a child that’s say 4 years old is exposed to an iPad when it was released 6 years ago. That child is now, using the maths they ought to know at that stage, 10 years old and that child has problems. Don’t ask me or the creator of the meme what those problems are. They just have problems and it’s because you bought them an iPad 6 years ago. You’re a terrible parent and you should be ashamed.
The point here is that kids are smart enough to make their own choices – in fact the younger they are the easier it is for them to make those choices. Don’t make up ‘problems’ because you think this is a real issue. It’s not. Stop saying kids have problems…if you keep saying that they’ll lose their self-esteem and genuinely think there’s something wrong with them.
Share your thoughts in the comments*!
*Don’t share your thoughts in the comments…I don’t care.