Children Are Now Speaking Technology As Their First Language

Study finds 2 in 5 children are using tablets and smart phones because they are able to speak in sentences


Technology is everywhere. Gone are the days of just owning a single home computer, a laptop if you were lucky. We now carry smart phones and have tablets. Often, we have both in multiples.

Servers in restaurants are using iPads to take orders. There are tablets in classrooms in schools. Technology is as part of our lives today as our vehicles. We need them to do just about everything.

My 2 and a half year old has been able to unlock my iPhone for as long as I can remember. My 4 and a half year old broke the code I fruitlessly put on it, within in days of it being there.

According to a new study, 2 in 5 children were using tablets and smart phones because they were able to speak in sentences.  I’m surprised the number is that low!

"This is the true sign that the digital generation has arrived," Common Sense Media's founder and CEO Jim Steyer told Mashable.

According to the study, television viewing numbers have remained steady but DVD watching has gone down. With the wide spread avialability of internet streams and Netflix, that latter finding is of little suprise. Still though, compared to other mediums, the use of smartphones and tablets among young children is growing the quickest. 

"We're seeing a fundamental change in the way kids consume media," Steyer said. "Kids that can't even talk will walk up to a TV screen and try to swipe it like an iPad or an iPhone."

This is totally something my son has done numerous times. It makes me laugh every time. He also doesn’t seem to get that neither the television nor the computer monitor are touch screens.

The article in Mashable discusses the very obvious pros and cons to the increased use of technology by young children. We are told our children should have no screen time before two. Period. But, the other side of the argument says using it on a limited basis and constructively is okay.  And of course, all of the ‘no screen time’ proponents claim parents who violate that scared rule are destroying their children’s young minds and letting technology babysit them.

Ultimately the fact the number of kids using smartphones and tables is rising shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. 

There are more kids using phones and tablets because there are more phones and tablets on the market. As technology improves and prices drop more households are able to afford them. The study says the amount of time children use them has gone up as well, but with more phones come the introduction of more educational apps so maybe the time spent is all 100 productive all the time. We can’t know for sure.

Screen time is seen as this big evil brain-destroying demon. There is no denying that sitting like a sloth in front of the television or iPad for hours a day, every day, day in and day out is not the most productive use of time or generator of brain power.

This is most definitely a quality over quantity debate and these studies never seem to account for what is on the other side of the screen as if it doesn’t matter and isn’t a factor. But it does matter. It should be a factor.

My unprofessional guess is that a 2 year old playing with child-friendly apps or watching Disney or Treehouse for a few hours a day will fair differently than a 2 year old who is slumped in front of soap operas or exclusively playing Angry Birds.

Somewhere between all or nothing is a happy medium of responsible use of technology. 

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