I was on the bus this morning and in front of me there was a little girl watching her mum chatting on the phone and mimicking the action with her banana.
Funny, yes, but it also made me think about the digital world that children today are born into and how to that child the smartphone her mum was talking on is as normal as the banana she was holding.
A recent study carried out by the Michael Cohen Group has made headlines by claiming that touchscreens have become the new must-have toy for children, overtaking the traditional dolls and board games of generations past. More than 60 per cent of parents participating in the study, across a variety of household income levels, claimed that their child uses a touchscreen device from as young as 2 years old.
According to Cohen’s report, the main activity children are using touchscreen devices for (quite rightly) is gaming and play, closely followed by using the devices as a tool for learning and education.
The technology industry is certainly a fast-paced one and you just have to look at the wonderous plethora of devices available now compared to that just five years ago to see how quickly the industry is evolving. With that in mind, it isn’t that surprising that some people do worry about exposing children to so much technology at a young age. A report released by Ofcom last year highlights just some of the fears expressed by parents where their children and technology is concerned, particularly with such a strong media focus on the rise of cyberbullying. Some parents even said they feel that their children understand the internet and technology more than they do so feel it can be hard to properly monitor.
Is this relatively sudden influx of technology really going to be damaging for children? In the ever growing technical age that we live in surely teaching children from a young age how to safely and responsibly use devices can only be a good idea, especially when it’s highly likely that technology will play a large part in their future education, as well as later when they enter the world of employment.