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Home » 9to5to9, School days

9to5to9: How to make your kid a technological cripple without even trying

Submitted by on Monday, 8 September 2008 No Comment
"I chuckled to myself at a birthday party in the spring when another mom mentioned plans to move her 2-year-old to a new preschool in the fall. ""They even do keyboarding there!"" she said.

When Big Guy was 2, I was doing everything in my power to keep him away from my keyboard, though he saw me using it often enough that he quickly developed a fondness for typing in green.

He'd sit on my lap occasionally as we surfed Noggin or Sesame Street, but no kiddy software lived here until he was almost 4.

Though the guys have their own computer-- a move that was more of a desperate attempt to keep their hands off my work than out of a desire to get them plugged in -- it was only recently that I let them sit alone . It's not connected to the ""hinternet,"" as Big Guy calls it, otherwise there's no way they'd mouse solo.

Let the children run! Let the children play! Let the children make dirty messes and explore with their hands. Keep the preschoolers away from computers! Ignoring the hypocrisy of someone who makes a living online keeping her kids technologically ignorant, I congratulated myself on my curmudgeonly ways.

Until I saw a blog post last week at chrisbrogan.com about a teacher who uses social media as part of his lessons. His students record their book reports on MP3s. They take walks to capture images with their cell phones as another student shoots video to chronicle the excursion. Class assignments are sent to the students' Ning group -- which has an RSS feed -- so they don't have to write down anything.

These children are in third grade.

What in the name of Bill Gates have I done to the guys? Is Keyboarding Mommy right and I'm so wrong that it borders on abusive? Is it too late to retract my rejection of the Game Boy someone tried to give Big Guy last month?

Then I took the paper bag away from my mouth and thought rationally enough to realize that what those third-graders are doing is not all that different from what I did back in the dark ages in grade school.

I did a science project on pollution one year, but with film and poster board instead of PhotoShop and html. I recorded many mock radio broadcasts on cassette.

I still don't like the idea of oral instead of written book reports, and I think children should be responsible for keeping track of their assignments, not spoon fed. But I suppose, on the whole, the third-grade teacher's merely put a modern spin on techniques used since time in memoriam.

So go ahead, guys. Type in green. Click your way through Reader Rabbit. But read books, too.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Genevieve said:

    “I held off on electronics with my youngest son. He has some delays with his fine motor skills, so last year we decided to let him try the computer.

    Took one time to show him – he’s been zooming around Playhouse Disney, PBS, Noggin, etc ever since.

    He’s even had a go with Wii tennis a few times. Amazing how fast they pick it up!”

  • Debra said:

    “It sure is amazing how quickly they get it. Little Guy in particular, but he’s had great manual dexterity from the start — could pick a hair off his high chair and gripe about it at six months. Plus he has the big brother to keep up with.

    Now if only Big Guy would let him touch the mouse …”