Kids and technology

It’s a topic that’s been in the news for a long time and almost always with negative connotations. Kids playing games with violence in them turning violent and becoming disobedient. But there are positive outcomes too.

I was watching in amazement at my youngest daughter, yesterday, as she was playing Mahjong Solitaire (not to be confused with the actual Mahjong game). But it’s just a pattern-matching game, you might say. Except there are quite a number of various patterns on the tiles, some look similar to others and in various colours, so not always so simple to find the matching tiles.

But it’s not only the fact that she can manage to finish some of the levels on her own but that she has already figured out how to navigate the various menus to start a new game or exit the game and start another one. I think we need to be worried once she figures out how to use Windows Explorer!

Oh, did I mention, she only turned 3 last month? Yup. Think back to when you were a kid at that age. Would we too have been able to so quickly grasp those concepts that some just can’t get. Remember it’s not just the fact that she manages to find the matching pairs but at the same time she’s moving the mouse around which in turn moves the mouse cursor to where she wants it to be as well as clicking the mouse button at the right time.

I’ve been working with computers for the last 24 years and pretty much take the act of using a keyboard without looking at the keys and using a mouse to navigate around a website or application for granted. But take two minutes and just think about all those neurons firing in your brain to be able to make all those connections and make us do the things we do and then think of all of that happening in a three year old’s brain.

Our eldest was also a semi-pro using the computer when she was her sister’s age. Now that she’s in grade 1 and quickly learning to read more and more her computer use is going to get better and most likely more frequent. Good thing I’ve been systematically keeping tabs on the various technologies out there which I will have to implement once the kids start using the computers more regularly. As technology advances I think too our kids are getting smarter and smarter. One of these days we’ll have a generation of toddlers that will be re-programming our VCRs (sheesh giving away my age there), erm, I mean PVRs and understanding what they’re doing not just randomly pressing buttons or hiding jam-sandwiches or keys where they shouldn’t go!

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