Tech Savvy Tots Can Use Smartphones Before Writing Their Name
A new survey says kids are learning to use mobile devices before learning to write their own name, and I'm not surprised.
Have you ever noticed how technology comes so easy to most little kids? Even as young as babies and toddlers?
I’m not even referring to tech toys aimed at kids, but to the very devices we use every day as adults.
When I was little, VCRs were a thing and the race was on between VHS and BetaMax. Along with that were the first video cameras. Something we don’t even need today since most of us have one on our smartphones. Back then, adults would joke about how they could barely figure out how to operate their VCRs, but little kids had no problem. And, while many of my family members would hide their faces from the video camera, I got excited about seeing myself on TV.
Fast forward to today and I see how easily my children pick up on technology. Although it is not recommended for children to have any screentime until the age of 2 years old, both of my kids began playing with mobile devices early. (No, I don’t feel guilty about their screentime.) My daughter, now 3 years old, is able to play some computer games on her own using a mouse and knows her way around a tablet. She figured out how to unlock my phone before she was 18 months old. My 14 month old son has also figured out how to unlock my phone, but mostly likes to play with his sister’s LeapPad2.
According to a recent survey by AVG, as reported by The Huffington Post, a lot of young children are able to navigate a smartphone or tablet before they learn to write their name.
- 66 percent of kids ages 3-to-5 can play a computer game, but only 58 percent are able to ride a bike.
- 38 percent in that age range can write their full names and 14 percent can tie their shoes (a skill that’s usually mastered by age 6), compared to 57 percent who know how to operate a tablet.
- 47 percent of little kids are able to operate a smartphone while parents reported only 26 percent know how to make their own breakfast.
In all honesty, I wasn’t too surprised by these findings. Little kids are going to pick up on how to use a smartphone or tablet if they use one or see their parents using one. The technology of swiping through an ebook, for example, is pretty intuitive. Both of my kids started out by learning to swipe through photos before moving on to using other apps on their own. Also, my kids are too young developmentally to learn how to write their names or tie their shoes anyway. Though, my daughter has been practicing tracing letters on her LeapPad which brings her a step closer to writing her name!
It’s almost impossible to escape technology as a kid these days. So many toys have buttons, light up, make sounds and are responsive to motion, sound or touch. At times it seems like too much, especially when my son asks me to “turn on” various non-electronic toys, but we try to offer a balanced mix. While it is still important for kids to learn skills, such as tying their shoes and riding a bike, I think being tech savvy is also important in today’s world. Plus, I’ll need them to help me figure it out in a few years, right?
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