My Toddler Plays With an iPhone…
… and I encourage it!
I recently upgraded my phone to an iPhone 4 and little Jack of course inherited my hand-me-down 3G. I wiped it of all of my more adult-centered apps (i.e. social media, restaurant finders, etc.) and it now has his toddler-centric apps only on it as well as a few of his favorite Pixar movies.
I have heard many comments made over whether or not letting a toddler play with an iPhone is just encouraging video games at a much earlier age and “books are so much better.” I don’t disagree with either of these criticisms; however, I feel it is up to parents to monitor exactly what is on these iPhones before letting their toddlers play with them. He doesn’t have just any old games on it. He has games that teach him the alphabet, words, numbers, songs, animals… I could go on and on at how beneficial these games have been! At daycare, he doesn’t have any connection to this type of technology. He spends his days reading, playing outside at recess, doing artwork and participating in dramatic play just to name a few. When he comes home, he is physically tired and we really kind of let him make the decision when he gets home at night in terms of what he’d like to do (to an extent…). Sometimes he plays with toys, sometimes he runs wild but a lot of the time he just sits and chills with his iPhone and plays his “games” before dinner. I certainly don’t feel that he is being damaged. He maybe spends anywhere from 5-30 minutes on it at best and it certainly doesn’t serve as a babysitter. I often ask him questions about what he is playing and for the ABC’s-type apps I ask him to repeat the letters and words rather than just look at them. How does that differ from a Leapster or V-Tech learning system?
Here are some of the apps that Jack has on his iPhone:
Little People Farm
Peekaboo Wild (my kid learned to say crocodile from this app at a very early age)
Baby Flash Cards
Old MacDonald Farm
ABC’s & Me
I confess he probably doesn’t need this app, but he laughs at it hysterically (must be a man thing): iToot.
I get so tired of the self-righteous moms out there criticizing things like this. We are still parenting him. We choose when he plays with it, how long he plays with it and what he is exposed to on it. We make sure he is learning something. We are interactive. WE call the shots. I’m sure there is a wrong way to go about it, but I feel pretty confident that we are doing okay.
What is your opinion on toddlers and iPhones? Love ’em or ditch ’em?