Thursday, December 15, 2005

Does baby 'get' tech?

Pretty good NYT article on a new study questioning the value of electronic toys for babies. It touches only lightly on what i think is the most important concern with the increased use of media and electronics for babies: What it replaces. Every half hour a baby or toddler plays with a flashing button-pushing machine is half an hour that she is not learning about balance or texture or all the real things in her world. These parents in the story who think it's so great for their babies to be learning letters and numbers asap, I think they're just ridiculous. These symbols are tools we use in our society, they are not the world itself. Learning letters and number before you have learned about what happens when you throw a ball or splash your hand in water? Doesn't make sense to me.


Notta Wallflower said...

I had similar thoughts when I was watching a recent "Leap Pad" commercial. It features a child being read to by the Leap Pad with a very electronic voice. One question I had was, "where in the hell are the parents?". In the old days, I held my son in my lap and read to him with my real voice - with inflection and everything! Imagine!! :-P

As far as teaching skills, K has always been "hands on" - nothing can compare to real life experiences for teachable moments.

Kori said...

Let me quote a mother's quote featured in the article:

"But there's only one thing better than having a baby, and that's having a smart baby."

But what about a beautiful baby? Should we bring them to spas for facials? Or a rich baby? Should we teach them about investing in preschool? Or what about an athletic baby? Should some of those precious tech toys encourage children to squat and do bicep curls in order to push the buttons?

Give me a break.

I like a smart baby as much as the next person, but I'll tell you what I don't like: I don't like a punk little kid who was told during his whole toddler existence that he was smarter than anyone else, and therefore, talks to adults like they are idiots. I've met some of these kids, and they could have used some wooden blocks and extra face-time when they were little.

Carrie said...

If I may go back and quote from Koriluexpecting: They could have used some "ud#!@($#)*) blocks---"don't get legos, because they don't work to help baby's balance, and you can only find the ud#!@($#)*) blocks I'm recommending at Target, not Babies R'Us!


Kori said...

We still haven't gotten any darn ud#!@($#)*) blocks, and I'm not afraid to admit that I set my kid under the singing, flashing star at the top of her gym and thank heaven above that I have a moment to go get a glass of water.

But ud#!@($#)*) blocks are on our Christmas list, even if we have dismissed the nasty doctor that recommended them. :)

Kayadela said...

Well, Big E does love his noise makers, but more importantly he loves to climb, kiss Hazel and drum. We hope he learns to love life, continue to test all textures by rubbing stuff all over himself and that he learns to love learning. Active and interactive learning a not passive rote learning. Hear, Hear my friend.

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister! My biggest reason for avoiding the techy toys? They're so damn annoying!

And how about those toddler flashcards? Have you seen those? I saw some mom on Oprah who worked with her toddler and the flashcards every evening!

Hee hee, that reminds me of a hilarious, though kinda dirty, Daily Show skit. Do you watch the show? So the piece was on the competition to get into exclusive Manhattan preschools. Rob Cordrey was interviewing a preschool admissions counselor (you can actually hire someone to help get your kid into the "best" preschool!) and they had this exchange:

Rob: So, I don't have kids yet, but is there anything I can do now?
Counselor: No.
Rob: Nothing? Should I be doing any research?
Counselor: Uh, no.
Rob: Should I be masturbating to baby einstein videos?
Counselor: umm...

ha ha hahaha!

(I hope this isn't too dirty for your blog. Feel free to delete!)