Lionel: Technology And Child Development

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(NEW YORK) - Let me start with the usual disclosure, disclaimer and disavowals. First, I’m not a child development expert but I do know the ravages of interrupted development. Like a grown man propelled by snowboarding, motorcycles and stealing coworkers` money in ponzi-like lottery scams.

Oh, I’m wise to you, sparky!

I was, however a psych major and can rattle off vague references to Piaget and object performance. That being said. I`m as qualified to say what I’m about to say now as any of the clowns on TV appearing in the capacity of expert. There will come a day when science absolutely establishes that the best toys for children in early development are an empty box, building blocks and maybe a rock. I predict that science will determine a causal link between today`s electronic toys, devices and games and the rates of pandemic developmental problems that kids experience today. That and a witches brew of vaccines and medications that we blast these innocent babies with, but that`s for another time.

Today an article in a French publication whose name I can`t pronounce but whose English translation is 'The Cattle Are Dying', I think, the article headlined 'iPads For Infants Stir Debate.' Now listen and listen good. Children, especially infants and toddlers, do not necessarily process what you process. You see colors and sound and neat graphics but a child sees a blast of sensory overload that could one day result in a hyper-infantilized world view of snowboarding and Italian motorcycles.

But I digress. Kids are not adults, and you can quote me on that. You hear Mozart, they hear a mess. You see graphics, they see a hodge podge of stimuli unable to be referenced or addressed. We even do it with animals. We think dogs think like we do. That they`re happy, elated, mirthful, delighted. They`re dogs but the anthropomorphic part of us kicks in. We think that chimps are smarter than dogs; after all they share 99% of our DNA. Point to something and a dog says, oh you mean that. Even look at it, and a dog thinks 'you`re talking about that thing again.' point to something and a chimp, our nearest relative, Mr. Phylogenetic smarty pants, says 'why do you keep showing me your finger?' they don`t get pointing to things. We do the same thing with children and babies. We think that our worldview applies to kids. Age appropriate stimuli may be nothing more complicated than an empty box.

And finally, if you haven`t already, please see the 2010 documentary babies. Four kids in San Francisco, Tokyo, Mongolia and Namibia. The Namibian kid played with a rock. The American and Japanese kids were from hipster parents.

Guess who seemed to be the happiest?

Exactly.

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