My 18 months baby boy is always busy swiping through my latest android phone. If not me, he will have my husband’s or housekeeper’s phone. Just to find out if he is the only smart one or there are others to, I visited my friends and relatives who have kids< 5 yrs. of age.
At the start of the trip, I met my cousin whose son is 20 months. It’s a mandate to keep tab or phone in his hands in order to feed him. He will not allow any bites of food if his gadgets are not around. He only knows what satisfaction does it gives. Another friend of mine has two and a half years old son – he plays all android games and have potential to defeat any ‘games freak’ adult.
Just out of curiosity, I went to meet a friend whose daughter is 4 yrs. I wanted to check if only boys have gizmo effect or girls are also in the same shoes. This small girl met me warmly and offered instantly for a one-on-one on her latest Nintendo. “My father bought me the latest one which none of my friends have” she said. In our times, we used to play on ground – outdoors was the trend, but this is another phase where everything can be done using gadgets, yes, I mean it. One can play games like soccer or cricket, can run to win a race with visual rewards and even can have a visual pet – feeding & taking care of him almost like the actual ones.
But is it good or bad? In my opinion, if you try to keep your kids isolated of the technology, they would suffer fierce competition and sense of embarrassment for not knowing what their friends know. Also, technology has helped us connecting to the world and it can be used creatively for kids to learn.
Everything has its own pros and cons, we need to understand both and try to maintain a balance. Parents should allot time for kids to play or explore these gadgets like we have time allotted for their studies or walk or food and stick to it – no matter what. In this way, kids would get limited time and they would try to explore as much as possible during that time only
Also, kids should be encouraged to participate in physical activities like running, playing football, kick boxing etc. Instead of passing time on unproductive things – they should be introduced to world of arts and music.
Since, this is a new age and new experience for all parents, it would be interesting to see the impact of ‘Gizmo Effect’ in long run. Till then, be attentive…