I wasn't going to blog today. Then I saw this article from The Atlantic by author Hanna Rosin.
It's the rare article that does a nice, balanced job of confronting our electronic demons in the culture. And that tries to actually examine the issue rather than take a stand for or against immediately. She brings up a lot of good points.
We have a love affair with books, but haven't developed our sense of childhood to yet include computers and handheld devices as basic to a child's learning. We want kids to be digitally savvy, but at the same time are cautious and even worried about too much screen time. We assume the "zombie effect" has to do with mentally tuning out--rather than a mental awareness and perhaps advanced cognition.
I also frequently make the point with other parents that there is a difference between active and passive and educational and non-educational. We limit screen time in our household (adult programs only after 6pm), but letting my children select movies and tv shows also gives them an early sense of independence and autonomy. ...In addition to them learning how to operate devices. My 18 month old understands that the buttons on the dvd player make it play or skip! My son takes great pride in being able to put the dvd in the player by himself. Ok, we may have a lost Cars 2 disc in there somewhere.
But the fact of the matter is that there's a good chance my daughter or son will turn to me one day and ask to debug a device that I only begin to understand. My generation has always known computers, but we have seen them go from luxury to necessity in a matter of a few years. My generation has not always had the internet. My kids will have always had the entire collection of humankind's knowledge at their fingertips for easy access.
And cat pictures. Lots and lots of cat pictures. What do I always say? It's a tool. Use it wisely!