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April 04, 2011

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John Rienhoff

While I understand the need to place limits on technology usage, especially for developing minds, I have a different view. I bought my son the Wii system when he was three years old; he is almost seven now. I have witnessed his extraordinary hand to eye coordination development, which superseded mine when he was four. He is limited to an hour per day of usage in lieu of television time. The skills being developed now serve him well in our high tech age; this may be especially true in the future of our military defense which is becoming more like video games each year. I purchased him the iPad2 before leaving him in Florida while I am on extended business trips in Bangkok. FaceTime at the touch of a finger across the world is how I stay in touch. He can also open my emails with photos and get a glimpse of his Daddy's day. Additionally, there are good education software applications available. Limits are important, but the value of technology should not be overlooked in a child's daily life.

Ivan

Quite agree. a good article

Eric

I think the iDevices (pad, pod, and phone) are lifesavers. I have three boys under the age of 5, and since my wife works and the (old) sitter was not always available, I often had to drag all of them to doctor's visits. It was such a relief to be able to give the two older boys a gadget for them to play with while I dealt with the baby during those long waits in the office. Likewise, on any car trip over an hour long, the gadgets keep the back of the van free of fighting and screaming.

However, when not in the car or at the doctor's, we do have time restrictions on when and how long the devices can be used, just as we do when the TV can be on or the video games.

Beth

I just don't like to use technology at home. We have a Wii - we don't hardly turn it on. We do watch TV, maybe more than we should. We have computers, I have a Blackberry and my husband has a fancy touch phone, we have two Xbox 360's, we have DVD and VCR players - and unless my husband is using them for something specific, they largely stay off. We have even started using the TV more for music to have in the background.

At work, I live off of cutting edge computers, email, phone, text, etc. Outside of work, I want REAL life. I have friends who have thought me less of a friend because I wouldn't interact with them on a digital level - but they wouldn't call, or just come by to visit. If I didn't do all the work to see them, I didn't see them, since they were so used to having all their friends at the touch of a keyboard.

No thank you - I will keep my real life real, and my kids too!

Will

I'm on the fence. As a mechanical Engineer whose worked his career in Technology in the DC area, I enjoy the benefits of being able to communicate to pay online. I submit work orders to my apt complex, a tracking record that is fair to both sides. However with a daughter of 8 and a newphew of 19, I see what happens when you don't teach the basics. I'm now having to force my daughter to read more and less TV time. I agree w/ the father that portable devices in the car work wonders, 2005, I drove down to Tallahassee, Fl we had just bought a Portable DVD player, that worked wonders in between her naps. However, I also have to counsel my nephew on proper etiquette when applying for a job, and how to follow up with a post card, email, or phone call and ask if it is OK first, and which method they prefer. Hand writing of adults today is atrocious, so getting an email or txt for a username/password are life savers vs. getting someone's scribble and having to decipher the characters. All in all, we need both. Embrace technology, but still learn the basics and we should remember, Engineering for the "Abled", makes life better, Engineering for the disabled, makes life possible.. Case in point, Sams Club in Sterling, VA has a dual keyboard for hearing/vision challenged members but who need to communicate with staff. Awesome idea..

Margaret

We often have this same discussion at home. We don't watch any television in our home, except the movies or educational videos on DVD. My husband will often use the iPad to occupy our 2-year old son while preparing his meals. I will often use educational DVDs for the same reason. While he could sit the entire way through his favourite Toy Story movie on DVD, I find our son's attention span is incredibly short on the iPad, and this concerns me. Perhaps this will change as he gets older, but he won't watch more than 5 minutes of a movie or play an educational app for more than 5 minutes. He just loves to press that "home" button and looks for other apps.
My other concern with the iPad is that it's incredibly difficult to tear him away from it. He throws a tantrum if we suggest turning off the iPad and coming to eat dinner, or going outside to play.
We are surrounded with technology, computers, iPhones and iPads, so we can't avoid it. It just seems difficult to strike a balance when a strong-willed toddler is involved.
And I dread thinking of the teenager holed up in his room playing World of Warcraft.

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