From http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/04/tennis/gallery/micaela-bryan-baby-twitter-tennis/index.html

 

Witnessed at a restaurant this past week: a child less than 2 years old entertaining herself the entire time while her parents ignored her before dinner (talking with an adult friend while waiting for dinner) and then when the parents were eating dinner:

 

 

Her swiping skills were exceptional.  Her connection with adults was minimal.  The only times she interacted with her parents was when they gave her a cracker when dinner was being served and the toddler did not miss a beat as she kept swiping and eating simultaneously.  She did not start crying until the end of the parents’ dinner and her mother took her into her arms.

 

Having baby entertain herself allowed the parents to have a dinner consisting of adult conversation with no baby interruptions.  But what is this doing to the baby?  One British expert says not to worry, it’s actually beneficial to babies:

 

Another British scientist disagrees with Karmiloff-Smith and contends that babies using electronic devices is harmful to human development:

 

 

An article in mosaicsience.com gives anecdotal stories of what happens when babies use technology and the melt downs babies have when this occurs:

Jessica’s tiny fingers dart around the iPad, swiping through photos to get to a particularly entertaining video: a 12-second clip of her dancing to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies”. The 18-month-old taps “play” and emits a squeal of delight. When Jessica’s mum, Sandy, tries to take away the iPad, there’s a tantrum that threatens to go nuclear: wobbly lip, tears, hands balled into fists and a high-pitched wail. “She does this a lot,” says Sandy. “She seems to prefer the iPad to everything else. Sometimes it’s the only thing that will keep her quiet.” Technology companies and app developers are throwing their marketing prowess at the problem, slapping words such as “educational” and “e-learning” on their products, often without any scientific basis. But like many parents, Sandy is worried about her child’s obsession with screens. She wants to know which activities are best, and how much time spent on screens is too much.

The article continues with research on mice exposed to media stimulation and babies in technology studies.  A 12-month old baby has his reaction to stimulation studied:
On each of Max’s ankles is a smartwatch of sorts, one measuring his movements and the other his heart rate. The cap uses electroencephalography (EEG) to record his brain’s electrical activity, to understand whether real and virtual objects trigger different brain responses and how that relates to subsequent learning.
What a boon to baby ipad program developers!  There are also concerns raised by the increase of shortsightedness in children and disruption of sleep patterns.  A parent sums up the appeal of babies using iPads in the last two paragraphs:

Parents can get a lot out of using their devices to speak to a friend or get some work out of the way. This can make them feel happier, which lets them be more available to their child the rest of the time. For Sandy, this is a relief to hear. “Sometimes I’m at the end of my tether,” she says, adding that she shouldn’t have to feel guilty about giving her child the iPad so she can have some “me time”. With some parents, there’s a lot of snobbery about screen use, she says.

“As a mum, I put my 18-month-old in front of an HBO baby poetry video,” says Radesky. “It’s cute and calm and I can wash the dishes or do something that’s a reset for me. That’s a benefit, but it’s something parents need to be very honest about. The video is not educating my 18-month-old. It’s a break for me as a parent.”

(The article in it entirety, Smartphones won’t make your kids dumb. We think, may be found here.

 

Does anyone else find it sad that a baby is ignored at dinnertime in a restaurant and there is little to no interaction between the baby and parents?  What happened with bringing crayons and a coloring book?  Would that provide better eye/hand coordination for young children?  At the least, it provided refrigerator art for the house or the grandparents.  What does a child have to show for playing a video game?  As iPad use becomes more widespread, education will adapt to the effect it has on child development.

From the article, “The app marketplace is a digital Wild West,” says Michael Levine, Executive Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center in New York, which has analysed hundreds of children’s literacy apps in a series of reports.  Remember what else was The Wild West in education?  Education reformer Scott Joftus said it years ago:

You know we’re in a new era when school turnaround firms in the U.S. are being funded out of the Middle East,” Joftus said. “To me, that says there’s money to be made. I call this period the Wild West in education.”

 

There’s a lot of money to be made in educational technology now mandated in Common Core classrooms.  Just think how technology ready these little babies will be when they start pre-school at age 3.  Will they then need classes to teach them how to social interactions that they didn’t learn in their technology time spent on baby iPad programs?  Is this the new 21st Century learner?

I’ve got to say, it was heartbreaking to see this little child being ignored at dinner.  What does this do to a child?  We already know the answer.  Read Cheri’s post on MEW, 60 Minutes: Why can’t we put down our smartphones? Brain-hacking.

Are low technology coloring books, crayons, textbooks and pen/paper tests looking more desirable?

 

Gretchen Logue