Posts Tagged ‘Babies and technology’

This is something that every parent questions, and I won’t lie, when calling my mother up the other day to find out how Monster was, and receiving the answer “Ok, they are on my tablet”, it did send a slight chill down my spin. But we are a society obsessed by technology, is it any wonder that our children are now born knowing what to do with a smartphone?

Well actually, I think it is. I am still amazed when Monster is allowed within a few centimetres of a device and knows what to do with it.

If there is one thing I have learnt over the last 6 months doing this Monster rearing lark is that children are like sponges. Even from birth they are continuously learning, we are continuously training them and we sometimes forget just how perceptive they are.

The above may be a very obvious statement, but when seeing my in-laws’ children recently who are 2 years and ‎17 weeks, I noticed when in the presence of technology, for example a smartphone, much like my Monster they will, as if by instinct swipe the screen. It is not like they are scrolling for something in particular, they just know to swipe the screen. It was comforting to know that it astonished my sister-in-law the first time she saw it as well.

This seems to be the same with laptops. In the space of a minute, Monster had scrolled using the trackpad to several browser tabs, nearly purchasing something off of Ebay and was scrolling through some random website – must remember parental blocks in the future – all because they had sat and watched how it was operated by my husband and I. It makes you wonder what was going through Monster’s head at the time.

The Daily Mail (which is not my first choice of rag), published an article about this and other sites, namely Medical News Today have mentioned the benefits and disadvantages.

While I am inclined to just go with it and accept that technology will be heavily involved in the lives of the coming generations, I can’t help but say, let children be children. Though when I was a child it was the norm to go outside, run around, climb trees, ride bikes and do our homework out of text books, now we have Google. Need I say more.

Well it’s been four weeks since our little human arrived and even at this early age it is quite extraordinary seeing the world through their eyes. Everything is new and this of course is only the beginning of a series of ‘first times’. It is the first time they see family, toys, animals, scenery….and television.

One thing I have found so far is that everyone is so unbelievably eager (eager in the sense of an excited puppy), to offer so much advice, the dos and don’ts and the all-time Nos of parenting. In fact I am so sick of hearing ths so called ‘advice’ based on ‘good intentions’ that my head is spinning, and let’s face it we all know what road is paved with good intentions.

So this opens the doors to the latest controversy, should you let your baby watch television?

If you asked this question to my in-laws they would say definitely not and would be unanimous, adamant and any other firm declaration you can think of. If you asked my mother she would say providing it was not being used as a babysitter, in small doses, television is fine. It contains moving images which stimulates the mind, and you can use it as an educational portal where you can watch it together, learn and have fun at the same time.

Now I know some would say what can you teach a baby less than 4 weeks old? I was actually surprised what you can teach them. Every day I see Monster’s brain developing more and more, as well as facial recognition, features and coordination. I am convinced that Monster has smiled a few times now (and it is not just wind), but the engagement with humans is fascinating. We were told by the health visitor to hold Monster 9 inches away from our faces so they could concentrate on our facial expressions and ascertain who is who, but Monster was doing this before we were told that. The eyes engage with my own and you can tell the focus is completely there as well – this kid is very sharp (probably due to the fish I ate) and not to mention incredibly strong (probably due to all of the spinach I ate while being pregnant).

I do allow Monster to watch television with me, but it is in small doses and I do filter what is on the television.

A great example of how I think television works is the short films that are currently on Netflix called Moving Art. These 25 minute(ish) films show amazing photography and cinematography accompanied by soothing background music. There isn’t any narration, just a quote at the beginning of the films and they concentrate on underwater, waterfalls, desserts and so on. The one I love to watch is the Moving Art Underwater film and this quite literally concentrates on marine life and anything under the water. It was amazing watching Monster’s face light up when they saw seals and some of the marine animals – clearly takes after mum, and perhaps we have another marine conservationist in the making – though that would be Monster’s choice.

Overall I do not see there being a problem with television, how else could I show my Monster these magnificent animals other than on the big screen or a computer. So the next time someone feels like offering advice based on their own experiences of being parenting, keep this in mind that parenting methods are subjective and what works for one child, will not work for another.

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