Family Magazine

I is for iPad Or Ice Cream?

By A Happy Mum @A_Happy_Mum
Recently, I read a news article published in The Straits Times titled "Hot debate over apps for toddlers" and it piqued my interest.
Remember I wrote a post right after Angel's second birthday that talks about the simple pleasures of childhood, how I've not yet gotten sucked into the Apple fad, how I feel that though evolution may take place and technology may advance by leaps and bounds, childhood remains as a very simple phase of life?
Today, I still maintain that view. And yes, we still don't have any iPhones or iPads in our house.
Don't get me wrong, that doesn't give me the right to brag about being the odd one out and no, you shouldn't term me as the most obsolete mommy. It merely serves as a reminder to me on how simple life can be in Karlskrona without the aid of technological devices and before everything risks changing when we get back to Singapore, I'm contented with sticking to real juicy, apples for now.
I is for iPad or ice cream? ******
Are you a parent who thinks that the advent of the technology gadgets is a blessing or a curse?
Regardless of what we believe in, I guess there are some facts that we do have to accept and acknowledge.
1) Technology will keep on improving and new devices will constantly appear in the market.
2) iPhones and iPads engage a child's interest to the extent that they can become babysitters. How many of us have given our child a gadget to play with when we want to take a bath, when we want to have a meal in peace, when we want to watch our favorite TV show, when we want to blog, when we simply just want some 'me' time? Like it or not, these devices can do the job.
3) Educational apps for toddlers, even babies, will keep emerging. Whether or not they are really helping our kids to learn, that's for you to decide.
4) Experts and parents will always be divided on this debate. While some people jump onto the bandwagon and agree that gadgets are beneficial to children, there will always be others who disagree and choose to stick to conventional toys instead.
I pulled out some excerpts from the news article to share with you.

Paris child psychiatrist Serge Tisseron worries that apps fail to teach children to properly apprehend three-dimensional space, a key developmental milestone. 
'We know the toddler absolutely needs to engage all his senses,' he said. Despite the iPhone and iPad's much-lauded interactivity, Dr Tisseron says they remain limited in terms of sensory experience: They can engage sight, hearing and touch - to an extent - but not taste or smell. 
'There are some pretty good apps and activities that encourage problem solving, memory, ordering, sequencing - virtual versions of games we used to play as kids,' Dr Brown said. 
But 'no app can replace the value in taking two blocks and figuring out how to stack them one on top of the other'. 
That view is shared by Mr Jean-Philippe Vieira, a 46-year-old cook, who has neither a tablet nor mobile phone and limits his children's television time to 20 minutes on Friday. 
He believes toddlers need space to invent their own games, the way he did growing up in Portugal. 
'There were moments when we had nothing to do, but that was great because when you do nothing, you come up with ways to occupy yourself. You don't need technology to play,' he said. 
So, do you agree or disagree that we don't need technology to play?
When I was in Singapore, I would get caught up in keeping up with trends and I bet I would no doubt own at least an iPhone by now. However, 4 years of simple life in a foreign land as a SAHM has totally changed me. I don't even know how to unlock an iPhone or what is meant by Whatsapp. No joke.
So what if there are:
1) Apps for my toddler to watch YouTube videos
Why don't I just sit on the couch and watch her favorite Dora or even Animal Planet with her, explain to her what is happening while holding her hand and sharing her excitement?
2) Apps for my toddler to improve her memory, ordering and sequencing
Why don't I just play a game of flash cards with her where she can touch, feel and flip over each and every card?
3) Apps for my toddler to improve her finger dexterity
Why don't I play stacking blocks, threading, or simply conduct a fun craft session for her?
4) Apps for my toddler to learn to draw
Why don't I get a pencil and a piece of paper which she can hold and really doodle on? Better still, I can let her play with water colours or finger painting. I mean, real finger painting.
5) Apps with e-books for my toddler to read
Why don't I let her choose books from her library, sit beside me in bed and have our usual bedtime story telling with books that she can actually feel, pull the flaps and turn the pages?
6) Apps with other educational games for my toddler
Why don't I simply take her out for a walk in the park, let her chase after butterflies, let her play on the swing, let her learn about flowers and trees, let her meet people from all walks of life and not on a screen?
You see, these are the reasons why I am iPad-less and iPhone-less for now. Because every time the hubby and I walk into the electronic store and get tempted to buy one, we somehow remind ourselves that we can actually live without it and be just as contented with life.

It made me laugh out loud but yet ponder in deep thoughts after watching this video.
Does your kid do that sometimes too?
Well, the fact that we do not have an iPad or iPhone doesn't mean Angel has never touched them, considering the fact that 99.9% of our friends have either one or the other. In fact, I've seen how her eyes get glued to the screen, how she scrolls like she's even more expert than me, how she gets a thrill out of it, and how she keeps asking for more. I wonder, I just wonder, is that honestly a good thing?
To clarify, I love technology and have nothing against the inventors, propagators or end users of these gadgets. I agree that they're convenient, affordable, light, portable, and best of all they work when we wish to pacify a crying child or entertain a bored one. And of course, you can always limit how much time your child spends on these devices. Nonetheless, I still view them like Pringles - once you pop, you can't stop and it's gonna become a habit. For now, I prefer other means instead of using the iGadgets as my secret deadly weapons.
It has got nothing to do with Steve Jobs. It's what we believe in as parents and how we determine our kid's childhood. In case you forgot, childhood comes, goes and never returns.
For now, I'm sticking to books, blocks, balls, butterflies and yes, ice cream too.
P/S: It's a Red Day here today and we are off for a long weekend getaway in Ölands, again! Yes, we are going to have breakfasts with zebras and listen to the horning of peacocks through the night. It's going to be a holiday dedicated to spending every moment with Angel, so no blogging, no soccer news, no emails, no facebook, no you-do-your-stuff-while-I-do-mine. My idea of a perfect holiday. So see you when I'm back!

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