The "iPad toddlers"
I just read a post on 9to5Mac.com that I wholeheartedly nodded my head in agreement with: it was about the so-called "iPad toddlers," or what I like to call, the "touchscreen generation."
The iPad is not only a popular device for adults. It's also become a computing device that toddlers are gleefully interacting with -- because it's so darn easy to use.
My daughter is 2 years and five months old, and she's been interacting with an iPhone since she was 6-8 months old. The iPad she's taken to with a delightful fury. She doesn't really care to watch TV, but she knows how to open and close apps and find Dora the Explorer on Netflix on the iPad.
The iPad as near-perfect toddler computing device became evident to me recently. I sold my first-generation iPad a few weeks ago and we haven't had one in the house since. I've ordered an iPad 2, but it's probably weeks away from delivery.
In the meantime, I've introduced my daughter to the household laptop. She's learned to play a few games on it, but that's it. Navigating the file system is far more difficult for her, and she keeps touching the screen in an effort to interact with it. She has more difficulty using the trackpad on the laptop to move the mouse on the screen and select stuff. Sure, she'll eventually grasp it as she gets older. But there's no way my daughter would have been interacting with a laptop at 20 months, the way she did when we put the iPad in her hands.
The traditional computer or laptop requires better hand-eye motor skills that a two year old doesn't quite possess. But the iPad offers a more direct touch experience.
My daughter has even tried to touch the screen on our HD television to select video options on Netflix, for instance. She's growing up with a touch screen mentality, with an expectation that she interacts with a screen, and not just passively consumes information from it.
So, parents, what's been your experience with touchscreen devices and your young kids?
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