Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2 computers, 3 users.

Yes, I'm embarrassed to admit how much time my 2 year old spends on the computer. It all started innocently enough, sitting on my lap while learning colours or words, pointing to the screen and telling me which one to press. Then I found a game where she just had to move the mouse around. Then another game where she just had to click. Suddenly she was doing it on her own and now here we are - she has her own log-in and we've set up the favourites so she can find her own games. At least she plays lots of different games, but still I have to fight her off to get on "my puter!" It's going to be scary what she can do by the time she gets to school, it's a completely different world to the one we grew up in.

Which begs the question - is it good or bad? And of course it's neither, that's too simplistic. A couple of hundred years ago books were considered terrible, frivolous, a waste of time. Now they are extremely important, a part of "high" culture, and parents are anxious about their child learning to read. Of course there are "good" and "bad" books, and there will be good and bad things to do on the computer, it is just the medium.

But this is the information age. When I was in highschool I used to wonder what it would have been like living during the industrial revolution, but here we are in the middle of the information revolution. The rules have changed, the skills we learned are not going to be enough for our children. They need to not only know how to find information but how to evaluate it and what to do with it. And quite frankly a lot of us don't have those skills. The internet is a quagmire of information, anyone can write anything (like this!) and each discipline has its own way of writing. Which is fine if you are writing for other members of the same discipline, but when outsiders start reading you both have a problem, and both sides are going to have to develop new communication skills.

So I suppose I shouldn't be embarrassed about my 2 year old using the computer, I should be planning how I am going to guide her to develop better skills than my own.

(It's just taken 3 goes and almost 2 hours to get Midget to sleep. The four month monsters are definitely here.)

1 comment:

Michelle said...

And that, my friend, is why I've hardly let DD (2.5) near my computer! Its mine dammit! ;-) I'm really worried about how long she will want to spend on it. On the other hand I don't want her to be the only preschooler who can't use a mouse, especially since both her parents are computer nerds!

At some stage I think I'm going to set up a small computer with a keyboard, mouse etc for her. The laptop can be a bit tricky since I don't normally have a mouse attached.

Good luck with the four month monsters - I remember it being such a shock. DD literally went from sleeping 6 hours or so and occasionally longer to waking every hour.... aarrrgh! It was so sudden I thought she must have been sick, but nope, she just doesn't like sleep.