Tuesday this week, little l and I were at the library. Mostly because I needed to reserve the room for a training. While there the woman who does the reading/math/science programs for 2-5 year old children was looking for someone to attend her class. The regular attendees were not able to make it that week.
It was an interesting program, not really anything I don't already know or do with the little l, but fun for her to interact with people other than mommy. Afterwards she wanted to show us some good counting books to check out. I inwardly giggled but let her do her thing. If you have seen my children's library you know the last thing we need is counting books or books about the alphabet. Suffice it to say we have a lot of GREAT learning books at home. First she couldn't find a counting book, then I did, then she finally found one. We were counting book happy. She went on about what we had been talking about in class and I made the mistake of saying that little l loves to play this app on the computer where she has to determine which one has more, or which one has less. You would have thought, by her expression, that I had just said I beat my child (okay that may be a slight exaggeration but not much). So I started thinking again. Darn it!
Little l sees all of us use the computer. Her sister does her homework using the computer, I use it for all manner of things, and her dad is ALWAYS on the computer. Because of this I got a couple apps that she could play so she wouldn't harass us as much when we really need to do something. There is always the promise of playing your own game later. It works. So we have Toddler Typer and Pre K Math Lite. Toddler Typer locks up the keyboard and no matter what they push or how they use the mouse it simply goes through pictures of animals. It is entertaining and we have all learned a few new animal names because they are quite creative in their choices. Pre K Math Lite is a great app as well. It teaches counting, numeral recognition, even how to write the numbers, plus that less or more thing I mentioned before. Best of all Lucy loves it and has figured out how to do it pretty much without much guidance. I blame this game for her ability to go from two to three instead of two, eight, nine. We would always say one, two, three, but she didn't want any of it, until the repetition of the game made it stick. She even puts other number in the right sequential order, you know, like, six, seven, eight, nine. You see the game does not always start them out with one.
After my encounter I started to feel guilty about her game use, but I am not feeling that anymore. She is only being exposed to learning apps, so I don't think that this going to ruin her. In fact, I think that not teaching our children how to use modern technology often provides them with a disservice. They won't be as good as there friends are, which starts to matter around third or fourth grade more than it does when they are younger. They are going to have to use technology in their adult life. They will have to use it in their jobs.
Instead of fearing technology and what it is doing to our children, we should be teaching them to use it responsibly to make their life better. Showing them how to manage there time with a calendar, or keep in touch with family that does not live close by email, or do research for a school report (teaching them to discern good and bad resources), and even play games so that they decompress and improve hand eye coordination. None of these things is bad. What is bad is when the technology controls your life, and that I think, is more likely to happen to children who are not allowed to use the technology and are not taught the proper ways to use it.
On a side note, my big L smuggled her iPod to Ballet Under the Stars last night. I say smuggled, because she knows darn well she is not allowed to take it with her when she goes places unless she has permission. She also knew I would have said no, if she had asked. As such, she has lost said iPod for at least one day, though I am more like to keep it for five, I have not discussed with her what she thinks would be a fair punishment. This would be an instance where her and her friends desire to watch shows or play games was taking over their good clean outdoor playtime and that I am not okay with.
The plus of last night was that my daughter and all of her friends were quite proud with the dance they helped create with the help of a professional ballerina. They all did very well in their performance. Here is where a picture of the kids would be great right? Well, I am not comfortable posting pictures of other peoples children, so have one of the pros instead!