by Mary Fischer
Before I had kids, I was one of those people who insisted my child would never EVER so much as touch a video game controller, computer mouse, or anything else remotely associated with technology. He was going to color and build stuff with blocks and frolic in the backyard and all that jazz. Then one day when he was about 2 years old, he got a hold of our Mac and was addicted to the damn thing in an instant.
And I probably could've stopped his fascination with the computer right then and there and never let him get near it again, but I didn't. Why? Because, duh -- letting him play on it for 20 minutes or so each day let me do things like throw in a load of laundry, empty and reload the dishwasher, or just sit down and catch my breath.
And while in the back of my head I kept thinking, "This is a really crappy mom move. You're frying his brain by letting him stare at that screen ..." -- in hindsight, I'm so glad I gave in and let him take the Mac for a spin. Because now, at 7 years old, he's a total whiz at technology and picks it up so quickly -- a skill that is going to be essential to him as he grows up and the next "big thing" comes out. Which it will ... over and over and over again.
Love it or hate it -- technology isn't going anywhere. It's only going to evolve and grow even more until it probably won't even be necessary for us to have physical interactions with anyone ever again. (Which kind of sucks, but whatever.)
And if I hadn't introduced my son to technology as early as I did, I can't help but wonder how much more difficult it would be to explain things to him now, as opposed to when he just figured it out for himself as a toddler. (One less thing on my plate. Winning.)
I'm not saying you should plop your kiddo down in front of a screen for hours on end each day, but trust me -- you're doing both him and yourself a favor by handing over the mouse. Think of it as giving him a little early study time for something he's not going to be able to live without in the future.
Actually, you're kind of doing him a disservice if you don't let him fumble around with the computer once in a while. (Yeah. That's my theory, and I'm stickin' to it.)
Do you let your toddler use your computer?