This may not come as a surprise to those of you who currently have very young children or who currently work with very young children, but last night, while out with my family at a local restaurant, a young mom was holding her baby and her smart phone, and, if I didn’t know better, I would swear that the baby was making the “swiping” motion with her teeny tiny fingers.
Now, I know that a three-month old infant is not swiping a smart phone screen, but it is only a matter of time before that baby is better at technology than I am. She will have more experience with technology in her first five years than I had in my first 40. There are apps for toddlers, children’s books for the Kindle, and computer games and software specifically designed for the very young. Children are very good at manipulating this technology, as they come to it as natives- born into a culture of technology, immersed deeply in every aspect of their lives. We are very close to a second generation of technology natives, as even my teenagers don’t remember a time before smart phones and computers.
The telephone has always held a lot of interest for children. It is one of those tools that they see everywhere, but is not for them. They are usually told not to touch the phone, play with the phone, throw the phone…with good reason. However, the phone is super interesting and pulls them because they see how immersed their grown-ups are in that screen.
So, do they make that for infants and toddlers as well?
Yep- even though this isn’t a smart phone toy, and is not trying to be. It is a telephone designed for infants and toddlers. There are numbered buttons and a small mirror so they can see themselves. It makes noises just like a phone and flips open just like those antique phones from the early 2000’s.
Here’s another option for a play phone except it is for ages 3 and up. It looks more like today’s smart phones than the other and does cool stuff (talks, responds, etc.).
However, I don’t know how I feel about all of these battery-operated gadgets. Sometimes, I think we have gone right over the top with the amount of plastic, spinning, ringing, noisy, complicated toys we are exposing our children to.
I supposed it depends on the purpose of the toy. If a toy phone is about pushing the numbers, and pretending… then simple works just fine. If you are going to go all in, and buy an expensive smart phone toy, you might as well let your kids play with your iphone.