by Mike Masnick
Fri, Oct 8th 2010 1:41pm
As a somewhat recent father, I've been thinking a lot lately about babies and technology -- and specifically the sorts of gadgets we carry around. Living in the age of smartphones, it's all too easy to simply reach for the phone while doing something with the baby, and in the back of my head I've wondered if that's such a good thing, and now try to put the phone away when I'm with the baby. It seems that some others are discovering new issues with kids and technology as well, with a short piece at Slate describing a father's confusion when his one-year old son started referring to any iPhone as "mama." The author, Eric Pape, says that he worries the kid actually thinks the phone is his mother -- nothing that he has regularly held the phone up to his son's ear when his wife calls, or shown the kid pictures of his mother that were taken on the iPhone. Of course, this seems like a bit of an overreaction. I doubt the kid thinks the phone is his mother, as it seems pretty likely that he just thinks iPhones are called "mama," due to association with the word and the phone. Kids are pretty resilient and good at figuring this stuff out, and it won't be long until he does figure out that his mother is called "mama" and a smartphone has an entirely different name. That said, I do still wonder how best to teach kids how to embrace technology without being consumed by technology... or if that's just something kids figure out on their own...
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