Raising children in the digital age

November 7, 2013

The other day a friend told me that their child can’t wait to get on the iPad at every possible opportunity; they love playing Angry Birds and watching their favourite TV shows, and they can push the buttons they want to use.

Her child is two and a half.

Modern Family ipadIncredible, isn’t it, that our kids are growing up so digitally-minded? In fact, I read recently that human beings brains are changing shape because of all the digital information they’re being given – and that the next generation are going to be hugely successful entrepeneurs; they’re so used to having everything they want, when they want it, thanks to technology that they are pre-programmed to achieve.

Recently Virgin Media asked me if I thought that all the advances in technology were a good thing, and what kind of impact they’d had on raising children. Well, if I think about the impact technology has had on my family’s life, from a very young age No 1 Son and his cousins knew how to use the computer; gaming followed fairly quickly, from hand-held to consoles, and that led to XBox Live and Skype. And of course their mobile phones are never far from their hands. They are always in touch with their friends, they know how to research using the internet, they are aware of news stories before they break on TV (and they know they don’t have to put their lives on hold to watch a programme because they can control the TV). But despite all the reports suggesting that technology can have a negative impact on schoolwork, in our house that definitely wasn’t the case; if anything I think it’s enhanced my son’s learning experience. (Although bizarrely, if anything ever goes wrong with the TV or the hub, it’s still ‘Mu-um’ who has to sort it out.)

As far as I’m concerned, then, technology has had a huge, and very positive influence on our family life.

And yet when I asked if he would like a Kindle, No 1 Son replied that he still prefers ‘proper books’. Rather proud of that, actually.

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