Tag Archives: iPhone

Mommy [Daddy] Bloggers Know Best

I came across this blog today from Mortlemania.  Such an interesting read.  The title of the post is, “If you want smart kids, show them your smartphone.”

As many of the blog postings on this site refer back to iPhone applications and other mobile technologies, consider a dad’s perspective on teaching his trying-to-avoid-bedtime daughter about mosquitos from his iPhone.  Dad is proud of teaching his daughter how a mosquito sucks your blood as well as the difference between Google, You Tube, and Wikipedia (not to mention their corresponding icons).

Dad says in response to those against the advancements of digital technology in kids’ lives,

With appropriate parental guidance, the web in your pocket is your kids’ gateway to all of the world’s knowledge, achievement, creativity, aspiration and inspiration.

As long as we steer children in a way that stimulates both their curiosity and confidence – today’s technology can help bring about a future where human beings are not only better informed, but better equipped to meet the huge social and environmental challenges facing the planet.

How’s that for a bedtime story?

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iPhone Aper

I had coffee tonight with Carla Engelbrecht Fisher and we got to talking about, what else, children’s technology.  We started talking about the iTouch and the iPhone.  I mentioned I’d been noticing more and more kids playing games and using applications on their parents’ phones.

Carla told me, one of her friends saw her three-year old daughter touching the television screen to try and change the channel.

The digital natives strike again.  This three-year old girl thought it natural that to change a channel, you swoosh the screen.  She learned from previous experiences (on a slightly smaller iPhone screen) that to change the screen, you touch.

Carla said she can’t wait for these kids to grow up and start making technology.

I said I can’t wait for those people making technology now, to start listening and watching what these kids are doing today.

The Digital Toy Connoisseur

Last year, I was at a Women in Children’s Media event, when one of the speakers looked at me and said, “I know you?”  After a few seconds, Wendy Smolen said, “You were my summer intern!”

Call it a memory lapse, the woman who mentored me nearly five years earlier at Nick Jr. magazine was now standing before me about to speak about her new organization, The Sandbox Summit.  Since reconnecting, I’ve attended one of The Sandbox Summit’s conferences and kept in great touch with Wendy.  (Her daughter applied to my undergrad alma mater Colgate University)

As the expert on toys and play, I sat down with Wendy to talk about children’s digital technology…

Perhaps the coolest job in the world, Wendy tests toys.  Not too shabby, huh?  I asked her what she’s playing with these days, and she said, “I just played an amazing game for the Nintendo DS that’s not coming out until July called ‘Treasure World.’ It uses random WiFi connections to open up ‘treasures’ in the game.”

When I asked about the best digital toys, Wendy said, “‘Best’ is a relative term,” and the best digital toys for kids are those that “engage them in positive ways, whatever those ways may be—-physical, mental, or social.”  But if we had to name names, the major players in the space, according to Wendy, include: Nintendo (especially the Wii), EA, Activision, MTV Games, Lucas Arts.  “The list goes on and on,” says Wendy.  She did add that companies like TechnoSource, Leapfrog, Bandai, Jakks Pacific are all “getting into the game.”

Being a true toy connoisseur, I was curious to hear what Wendy’s absolute favorite digital application was… “Chocolate Shop Frenzy on my iPhone.”

I is for Index Card and iPhone

If you have a  child, seriously, the iPhone may be your new best friend.  Yet another interesting application, this one called “ABC Animals”, targets kids 18 months to 7 years old, teaching them letter recognition as well as writing and using the letters of the alphabet.  For $2.99 on iTunes, you can toss the index cards and writing tablets, instead opting for interactive digital flashcardsabc-cards.

Is it me, or is learning how to interpret and write the alphabet on an iPhone just a step too far removed from childhood?

iPhone… Don’t Leave Home Without It

Move over American Express Traveler’s Cheques, apparently the Apple iPhone is the new “don’t leave home without it” item for parents of pre-schoolers.  PBS Kids Sprout announced preschoolers and their iPhone owning elders would soon be able to stream three- to four-minute podcasts from the Apple iTunes store, view promo clips and play games in a branded Sprout player.

The nine-year-old iPhone programmer was onto something.  If you have a little tyke, they want what they want when they want it.  Be it from a television, a computer or a mobile phone, give them content or give them death.

iPhone Whiz Kid

BBC News posted a story on a nine-year-old Malaysian boy who developed an iPhone application called “Doodle Kids”.  The application allows users to finger paint on the device’s touch screen, and has been downloaded more than 4,000 times in less than two weeks.

While talking to colleagues about this little iPhone Whiz Kid, I heard polar reactions.  One colleague couldn’t believe over 4,000 people had downloaded the application.  Believing adults weren’t finger painting on their iPhones, she was frustrated that parents would give their child an iPhone to play with instead of talking with their child or actually playing with them sans digital technology.  Another colleague said, “How inadequate do we feel right now?”

Both colleagues have made valid points.  On one hand, it is amazing that a nine-year-old boy has the digital know-how to create an iPhone application, which he says he made for his two younger sisters who like to draw.  But might parents be misusing iPhone games and mobile video streaming as a babysitter or child pacifier?   People used to criticize parents who plopped their children down in front of the television to keep those children busy while mom or dad got a cup of coffee or cleaned the kitchen.  Have iPhones and mobile devices brought the babysitting on-the-go?

If you have iTunes, you can try Doodle Kids here

Who are today’s wired and crazy kids?

When I was younger, one of my favorite television programs on Nickelodeon was ‘Wild and Crazy Kids‘.  I enjoyed watching kids, like me, participating in outrageous competitions across the country.  But when I think about kids today, they aren’t popping balloons in open fields across America or pouring chocolate on each others heads.  The ‘Wild and Crazy Kids’ of my youth, are now ‘Wired and Crazy Kids’.

The world has changed.  In middle school, I remember my mom telling me to bring quarters so I could call her (from the pay phone) after play practice.  Or bringing on vacation, a backpack that was big enough to hold my Case Logic 208 CD binder  – so I could have my entire music collection with me.  I wrote my friends letters, by hand, on paper, before going away for the summer.  Yet now, my 16 and 13 year old cousins have already had: two generations of iPhones, Sidekicks, an iBook, a MacBook Air, iPods, the Wii … you name it, they’ve had it.  And even though I consider myself a moderately tech savvy person, my cousins and I represent two entirely different bodies of people.

My cousins, and the kids around them, represent “Digital Natives” – or those to whom digital technology is as natural as running water.  I, on the other hand, am part of the “Digital Immigrants” who remember pay phones, CDs and cameras with 35mm film.  Marc Prensky, who coined the term “Digital Natives”, refers to the difference between groups by the thickness of their accents.  In real life terms, American immigrants from Spain could speak English with a hint of or full on Spanish accent, whereas as the child they raise in the US could speak perfect English.

Real world, digital world – who is to say which is good, better, best?  I plan to use this blog to examine and deconstruct the world today’s wired and crazy kids live in.