Reflections on Instructional Technology and Media

Parenting 2.0 February 12, 2008

dsc01510.jpgMy daughter turned 2 last month and as any parent is, I am constantly amazed at all of the things she can do and understand and how that seems to grow exponentially each day. But what amazes me the most is how uber-aware she is of technology in her life and how different her childhood is from what mine was. Here are a few examples:

1. When we get into my car she immediately asks, “Mommy, you have your ipod?” She knows that all of her music is loaded on that little white box and if I leave it in the house, we cannot listen to her music. I have freed myself from CDs and have even created a playlist of her favorite songs so that I can quickly and easily get to the ones she wants to hear without causing a wreck. She is starting to show some interest in listening to some of Mommy’s songs so I am thinking of making a playlist of songs I like that are not inappropriate for her age.

2. We limit her television time and really only have 2 or 3 shows that she is allowed to watch, but rather than have our day dictated by the airing of the shows, we record them on Tivo and play them for her when it is appropriate. This has given her a very skewed vision of how TV works. She thinks all TVs work this way. This was clear when we went to the beach this summer and she asked to watch Dora. I told her it was not on the TV at that time and that there was no Tivo at the beach house. At that time, my then 18 month old looked at me, laughed out loud, and said “No Tivo? That’s silly!” It became the running joke of the vacation.

3. If I take out my laptop at home, which I try to do as little as possible, she immediately declares that she wants to play with Elmo. The Sesame Street web site is the only one we have really let her browse and she likes several of the games on the site. She has been able to play a few of them on her own for months now. While this may seem like a waste of time to some, it is one of the ways I have been able to determine her attention to things. She actually listens to the characters and clicks when they tell her to – not just randomly as she did when she first started to use the site.

I have provided these examples of my 21st century child to other adults, many of whom immediately roll their eyes and give the look that says I am ruining my child’s imagination by exposing her to these things. I disagree. I do read to her all the time and at 2 she can “read” most of her books back to me by memorizing all of the words on each page – word for word. She can also do 12-24 piece jigsaw puzzles by herself and has an active imagination. However, the technology in her life results in a different way of growing up. I limit her exposure to all of these things, but they are all a part of my life and have changed the way I interact with media. Why shouldn’t they be a part of her life?
Wow – what will her expectations be when she starts school? Will we be able to meet those expectations?


6 Responses to “Parenting 2.0”

  1. euphonos Says:

    I think you’re doing a great job with your little one :). It’s a tough job to be the parent of a two year old and I applaud your efforts to encourage her to interact with multi-media while maintaining a balance.

    Exposure, in an appropriate way, to media and technology is as important these days as reading text and practising tactile exercises such as puzzle solving, etc. All of these stimuli can have the benefit of enriching our chidren’s intellect in a holistic and wellrounded manner.

    And don’t worry about the ‘eye-rollers’, they’re a dime a dozen. There’s always someone out there ready to point out what you should or shouldn’t do with kids. As if there is one way to do anything! Every child is unique, every parent is unique – all you can do is the best you can with what you have and when you know better, you do better :).

  2. Anu Says:

    Wow ! it was wonderful to read about your daughter. As a mother of a four year old, i am also bombarded all the time by elders as to how I should bring him up. I can appreciate your efforts…keep it up !!
    As to what their expectations will be when they grow up, it is a scary thought indeed …. they have so many things ow that we never saw till we were adults, that they seem to want more and more ….. but then , again, one never knows what the future is going to bring, so there really is no point wondering about it. we can only continue to do our duty, in the way it seems right to us, and just hope for the best..

  3. amy Says:

    I love your blog!

    I think it is amazing how tech savy kids these days are. I was amazed the first time I saw Austin’s webkin’s page. It cracked me up to see him get out his password and type in his user name. He doesn’t even KNOW what a mouse is. He doesn’t need on to navigate on line or play games. And I only I wish I had had the capability to pause my favorite tv shows to run to bathroom. Believe me, I wouldn’t have missed a minute of Brady Bunch reruns!!

  4. UpdateStore Says:

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  5. Dave Sherman Says:

    Wait until she hits 13! All kidding aside, as the father of two girls, ages 13 and 10, it is incredible to watch them grow up. Trying to find time to jump on the computer these days has been a challenge for me. The girls are constantly on MySpace, AOL, Webkinz, and Club Penguin to name just a few sites. I can’t complain, though, because they both are learning their way around the Internet.

  6. elementaryteacher Says:

    As both a mom and an educator, I was impressed. I think you are doing a great job. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise.

    Dedicated Elementary Teacher Overseas (in the Middle East)

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