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Should a 6 year old play games on the iPhone?
August 24, 2012 12:25 PM   Subscribe

6 year old playing games on the iPhone? Too early?

Is it too early for a 6 year old who is homeschooled to start playing games on the iPhone such as Angry Birds?

We have kept him away from TV and movies after reading how terrible those things can be to a child. But recently and slowly, he is flicking through pics on the iPhone and also asking to see animal video clips on YouTube.

Your thoughts?
posted by alshain to Education (43 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Why on earth would it be "too early"? Angry Birds is a fun game that also happens to contain intuitive lessons about physics.

This kind of super-strict control of your child's media consumption is almost certainly likely to backfire, by the way.
posted by downing street memo at 12:27 PM on August 24, 2012 [21 favorites]


It's never too early to develop logical thinking and hand-eye coordination. And if it wasn't for the fact that I got taken to the arcade on a regular basis starting at five years old, I would have never developed the fascination and expertise I have with technology.
posted by griphus at 12:27 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Little llama plays iPad and iPod games, and she's four. We gave her the iPod Touch when she turned two and she's really enjoyed it. A lot of those games are very interactive, more active even than a book. Maybe it's slowly turning her into a vegetable.

She doesn't ask for it constantly or play it constantly, it's just one activity among many--just another toy, really.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:29 PM on August 24, 2012


There's nothing inherently good or bad about movies, tv or video games they're just mediums. It's all about the content. Is the content something that will hurt, help or do neither? With Angry Birds, it'll likely help a bit as well as delight and entertain him.

Make it part of a complete media breakfast. A little bit of gaming, a bit of reading, a bit of television or movies...
posted by inturnaround at 12:30 PM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Nope.

My son is three and plays games on the iPad --- we use iPad games to help him improve his pincer grip and other fine motor skills as well as games that encourage speaking and vocabulary development (he has a speech delay).

The iPad can be incredibly educational and appropriate/helpful for development in a lot of ways.
posted by zizzle at 12:30 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


We have kept him away from TV and movies after reading how terrible those things can be to a child.

I missed this. If those things are universally terrible for children it's amazing that any of us can function at all.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:31 PM on August 24, 2012 [29 favorites]


My two almost-twins started "playing around with" iTouch games when they were 1.5 years. They don't really do it often, maybe once a week for 10 minutes. Angry Birds was one they liked OK, but now they like Tiny Birds a lot...
posted by circular at 12:32 PM on August 24, 2012


My toddler watches kittens on YouTube, but only because I am a lazy parent.

6 isn't too early, as long as it's appropriate for his developmental stage, with appropriate limits.
posted by snickerdoodle at 12:32 PM on August 24, 2012


My not-quite two year old was playing games on my iphone to keep him subcritical on an airplane. Mind you, at that age the games are "flick a simulated light switch on and off" and "pop simulated bubble wrap," but still. I think as long as you keep a rein on it you're good.
posted by KathrynT at 12:33 PM on August 24, 2012


We have kept him away from TV and movies after reading how terrible those things can be to a child.

At that ages, my mom and dad kept an eye on how much time I spent watching TV and playing games (on the wretched-but-amazing Odyssey2 system) and reading and encouraged me to go outside sometimes, but they also engaged me about the things I watched and read and played. I did not turn out a mutant and now I get paid to write things set in worlds that I make up. That's pretty OK.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 12:37 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


(Also, I bet you twenty of your Canadian dollars that you name any aspect of how you are raising your kid, and I will find you literature detailing how whatever it is you're doing is dangerous and bad and wrong.)
posted by griphus at 12:39 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was playing Nintendo games, watching Mr Rogers, and had several favorite movies at 6. I'm currently working on a PhD.

No, 6 is not too early. WTF.
posted by strixus at 12:42 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like everyone has said above, it's a great learning tool, and can be a lot of fun to boot. My 3 year-old gets limited time to play kids games on my smart phone with no ill effects (in fact it's encouraged his pre-reading/letter skills along). I also look at it as a tool to learn self-regulation skills too. You need to manage your frustration learning a new game, you need to wait until the appropriate time to use it, and even if you're having fun, you will need to put it away to focus on other things. It can be a great motivator too. Think of that screen time as something he earns by working hard on other things (e.g., when the school work is done, you can have X minutes to play with the iPhone).

So in short, treat them just like any other tool you have at your disposal. They're useful in a whole host of ways, but you don't want or need to solve every single problem with the same tool.
posted by goggie at 12:43 PM on August 24, 2012


It's 2012, you want your child to be very comfortable with technology from an early age. This is a fundamental skill.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:44 PM on August 24, 2012 [34 favorites]


Get your child "Presidents vs. Aliens"! It is fun and edumacational.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:52 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know a three year old who loves his parent's iphones - I think he plays angry birds, though his favorite thing is taking pictures of himself. Like A Terrible Llama said, it's just one activity among many - he also loves playing with trains, playing outside, reading books . . .

I think that screen time (iphone, video games, tv) to the exclusion of other activities is a problem, but as a sometimes activity, it's great. And you never know what your kid will get out of it - my brother watched a lot of movies starting as a toddler, absolutely loved them, and is now working in the film industry.
posted by insectosaurus at 12:54 PM on August 24, 2012


Our oldest has been playing "educational" games on the iPhone since she was 3 1/2 and Angry Birds and the like on Kindle since she was 5.

No Ill effects have been observed so far except you can't use the thing around her without her demanding it and sometimes it's difficult to get her off of it to eat/bathe/go outside etc. - like any toy really.
posted by Artw at 12:57 PM on August 24, 2012


I was playing Doom when I was 6. I did well in school and haven't killed anyone yet. Although I am crippled sexually.
posted by WhitenoisE at 1:03 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Insofar as screen time reduces attention spans, or causes a child's brain to go passive, I would think Angry Birds would be worse than zero screen time but better than TV, because it's not as passive an experience as TV. Frankly, this is a question that a bunch of strangers can't advise you on. There's a lot of evidence that screen time is bad for kids, playing Angry Birds is not teaching your kids computer literacy skills, but on the other hand it's up to you to weigh how much you want to wall your kid off from what every other kid is doing. I never envied those kids who weren't allowed to watch TV, even if I'd have been better off reading a book.
posted by Dasein at 1:21 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Both TV and games are fully justifiable if the kid also does other things. If they only stare at a screen they are missing out.
posted by Artw at 1:23 PM on August 24, 2012


I hate to go semi off-topic, but I have a feeling the stuff below is what concerns the OP so I'm going to go for it, just so the information is out there. I don't meant to second-guess or offend anyone here, as I registered just to post this and I don't want to create waves on my first day of class, but I've done a LOT of research on this topic and would like to share what I know. :)

"There's nothing inherently good or bad about movies, tv or video games they're just mediums. It's all about the content."

Actually, that's not true. At least, up to a certain age. While I certainly plan to let my (currently less-than 1 year old) child watch TV well before 6, there's a reason the AAP recommendation is 0 screen time before age 2. It has to do with how the brain creates neural pathways and their inability to look away from "new and shiny" things. I'm not a scholar, so I'm not doing the science justice, but the abridged, normal person version is this:
When a 1 year old watches TV, it doesn't matter what the content is. The Simpsons, Lost, Baby Einstein - all equally bad for them. Their minds can't comprehend the continuity of what they're seeing, as they don't have a developed concept of permanence. Each on-screen jump (camera angle change, scene change, etc) registers as something new. They literally can't look away, as their young minds are constantly processing what is new and interesting (that's why babies will tire of their toys quickly, but be very interested in a new object, even if it's not "interesting" to us). So, in their brains, the neural pathways that are firing (and thus being strengthened/myelinated) are the ones that lead to constant, rapid jumps in thought processes. In short, you're setting them up for ADD, in a sense. Repeatable studies have shown that babies (and we're talking 0-2 here, not 2-6) who are given significant screen time repeatedly perform worse on tests and have, on average, a much more difficult time focusing on tasks - even into adulthood. Also just as important is the fact that, when a young child is in front of the TV, they are not exploring, they are passive. Active exploration and play are probably the single most important learning tools a child has, so even if you think TV isn't actively hurting them, it is blocking their exploration which, in effect, is hurting their mental development.

Now, as I said, I don't have (at my fingertips) the scientific research to back this up, but I assure you I've read it, I'm not making this up - it does exist if you search around a bit. If you're really interested, you can read Buy, Buy Baby by Susan Gregory Thomas. There are a lot of great footnotes and references in there, which jump-started my interest in the subject in the first place.

There is also a lot of research on "learning from the screen" vs "learning from a parent or teacher", with the latter winning hands down. For example, and forgive my paraphrasing here, but if Dora spends an hour teaching a child Spanish, and a mother spends an hour teaching the child the same exact lesson word for word, the child might absorb 10% of what Dora taught, but would absorb 75% of what the mother taught. These numbers are a rough retelling of research that I only have at home, but I wanted to post before I forgot, so please don't ding me for not being more specific. Anyway, while the physics lesson learned from Angry Birds is a great one, and I'm on board with that, the child would learn significantly more from the same lessons taught by, for example, playing catch out back with mom or dad. However I'm on board with the idea of Angry Birds in that it also gets them started with a love for technology at a young age, which will likely prove to be important in the coming years.

"I missed this. If those things are universally terrible for children it's amazing that any of us can function at all."

Actually, most of our parents didn't raise us on as much TV as today's kids are getting. If you look at the numbers, from age 0-10, most of today's "adult" generation did not get very much television time at all (on the average). Definitely not even close to the significant amount of time today's kids are getting. As for the younger generation (older teens, early 20's), just because there are examples of people who were raised on a lot of TV that turned out fine, there are *significantly* more that did not, can't focus, and in general are not functioning "well" in today's society. Is it TV's fault? I'm not saying that at all. What I am saying is that anecdotal "evidence" is a fallacy, all we can trust is the science - the controlled, repeatable studies - and they all point to significant negative effects of television on kids. Please keep in mind, I'm talking about a certain age range here - as I'm the parent of a baby, I've only extensively studied that which is immediately relevant to me. I don't know nearly as much about the effects of TV on a, say, 4 year old.

tl;dr: It doesn't matter what the content; *up to a certain age* movies, tv and video games *are* inherently bad. Baby Einstein and the like are pseudo-science with no basis in scientific reality or study, have not been shown in any way to be helpful, and in fact are known by the scientific community to actually be harmful to young minds.

OP: I share your general concerns about TV with a passion. However, I would say at age 6, playing on an iDevice is quite alright - it's an interactive medium, not a passive one, and at 6 their neural pathways are developed enough that the stuff I mentioned above isn't as big of a concern.
posted by bender b rodriguez at 1:32 PM on August 24, 2012 [28 favorites]


My five year old has had an iphone in his hand from at least one year of age... he has an ipad (Dad's old one) he watches some TV every day and he can play the x-box and run his sister's macbook like a champ. We are very careful of content and try to limit daily screen time, but he does get it. I personally feel that he has thrived from the exposure to technology. We read, do art, sing, he has piano lessons, we do other things too but he is reading on his own, can do some very basic algebra, rocks at math..... and I think his carefully chosen apps have helped, not hurt. I'm a certified elementary school teacher and I really think that today's tech has really broadened his abilities. Balance out his activities, give him limits, have him learn how to play on his own, he'll be fine. Technology is happening and we have to make our kids ready to deal with it and thrive from it.
posted by pearlybob at 1:43 PM on August 24, 2012


Hi, I'm your Internet twin. I have a 6 year old boy and we homeschool him, keep TV out of the house but we do let him play angry birds on an iPhone. My wife and I felt strongly about the television watching in the first few years but we do occasionally allow videos without advertisements as a treat.

I had some reservations, but I think angry birds is pretty engaging to practice dexterity, angles and so on. It is a pretty harmless diversion but like many things we have to explain how long he can do it before moving onto other things to avoid excess.
posted by dgran at 1:44 PM on August 24, 2012


Just as a follow up....I think Team Umi Zoomi tv show and App is one of the best for early math skills... just wonderful.... They focus on patterns, basic skills, but do it in a way that really relates to young children. A very good program and game IMO.
posted by pearlybob at 1:53 PM on August 24, 2012


I kind of hate all the computer/video games for kids but I'm being a big hypocrite about it because I played them as a kid, even had this kind of blippy, LED football game thing. We let our kids (6, 8) play on our phones every now and then. I hate the expectation/reward thing that the games set up, where they want to see the next level. Where the reward is novelty for novelty's sake. And I hate the passive aspect of it, the staring at a screen.

But we let them do it every now and then because, you know, moderation in all things is important. These games aren't forbidden fruit, but I do want them to keep them in perspective - games are cute, jumping into a lake and swimming to the other side, hiking to the top of a mountain(big hill), other, real world stuff, is awesome.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:12 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's less about whether he/she is "too young" to be playing games on an iPhone and more about whether it's the best use of his/her time. Yes, as others have noted, all kids need to be able to live in an electronic world. I seriously doubt you have to do anything to ensure that your child gets plenty of opportunities to work on these skills.

FWIW, I just got off a fairly crowded train (Chicago) where I was surrounded by people who all appeared to be playing games on phones - absolutely no one near me was reading anything that required sustained attention. That cannot be an improvement over the "good old days" when people read on the train.

(Also, I'm not a Luddite. My now 20 year old son could boot up the computer and call up his favorite games—educational, as were most computer games for tots—when he was 3.)
posted by she's not there at 2:20 PM on August 24, 2012


I do appreciate the responses. But those of you who have absolutely no problem with technology and kids and screen time - please read up on the subject. I am not talking about books written pre-internet. Books written 2009-2012. All very relevant. In Africa where I come from, kids drink Coke from age 1. Hmmm, so why not right? If I tell them that's wrong and the answer I get is, we did and we turned out fine - well thats what lemmings do.


I think most of you advised on moderation. Thats really good advice.

Lets be honest, its really dumbed down technology too. Anyone can get a grasp on it in a mere five minutes. So I am not really worried about them being luddites when they grow up. But sooner or later, he has to be introduced to this stuff without being addicted to it all the time.
posted by alshain at 2:28 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll take a different view here, and suggest that you should be considering how it is impacting your child physically. If your child is regularly walking around with their head held low, staring at a little handheld screen and squinting, that might not be so great for 'em. If your child is reclining in a well-stuffed beanbag chair and looking levelly at a larger iPad, that might might be so bad. Consider it as a question not only of content appropriateness, but one of "should my kid have that posture for this much time in the day?"

Also, when deciding what was appropriate for my kids, I did consider studies (I have no links, sorry) that suggest a correlation between having a lot of outdoor time and having less nearsightedness, and it was suggested that outdoor time requires more long-distance focusing and so the eyes get lots of practice focusing on things far away. So my kids get to use iPads, but they also get to spend a lot of time outside, and so far their eyes are solid (more than I could say for me and my indoor-lingering, nearsighted selves by the time we were their age.)

In short: in moderation, with at least equal time in non-electronic play.

However...you might also consider multi-player vs single player at some point, as I find my kids (after, say, 30 minutes making a video game do their bidding) have noticeably worst social interaction skills immediately following than they do otherwise. If there are games you can play with them, so that the game is a device used to foster social interaction, it might be good to try. Similarly: board games, which my kids initially rejected but now adore, because they get to laugh and tease and fight adults as well as kids, without actually fighting, which are great social skill growth opportunities.
posted by davejay at 2:31 PM on August 24, 2012


apologies for "noticeable worst", which shows you what I was learning growing up
posted by davejay at 2:33 PM on August 24, 2012


My brothers and I were only allowed to watch Sesame Street and other public television programming until I was about 10-12 years old. Perhaps as a result, none of us particularly enjoy watching television and none of us, as adults around the age of 30, own a television at all.

I don't see this as a bad thing, but I have to admit, a lot of the cultural references made towards people in my age group are lost on me. For example, I just watched the movie "Ted" and I don't think I got half of what they were referencing. When I see things like "You might be a child of the 80s if...." and so forth, I don't understand most of the items listed, even though I was a child of the 80s. I don't wish I spent my childhood watching TV, but I do wish sometimes that I could share the nostalgia of others in my generation about such things. I'm assuming that such references in the future will be about the internet and phone apps and stuff. So yes, I think moderation is a good thing.

From a very young age, like around age 5 or 6, my father taught my how to use a computer for word processing (his life was easier since there were no decent computer games back then). He also taught me the BASIC coding language so that I could write my own little programs. Now, I am no computer genius, but I have a much greater aptitude for it than most people my age, especially for the technical side of using software. I have worked as an amateur website designer. My brothers do software engineering and computer animation. So, I'm completely with you based on my anecdotal experience on the fact that dumbed down technology like touch screen games probably isn't giving kids many life skills, but if you use technology as a tool for learning in certain ways, it can definitely help kids get skills they don't teach much of in school.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 2:35 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are lots of awesome interactive apps out there. Some absolutely fuel creativity, like some of the "puppet show" apps. Some teach problem solving skills. But screen time and real life don't have to be separate.

Coincidentally, I'm reading this thread with a picture my 4 yr old and I were working on in my peripheral vision. It's an Angry Birds collage. As we have been working on it, we've been talking about the shapes and colors of the different birds, trying different structures with the popsicle sticks and even inventing new birds. I'm using his interest in something to as fodder for our activity.

(Your relationship with TV can be like that, too. You choose how passive your child's experience with these things can be.)
posted by wallaby at 2:55 PM on August 24, 2012


My 16 month old plays animal, colour and number recognition games on tablet and phone, very successfully. These aren't any different to physical flashcards, and she's learning how to use the technology at the same time. Angry Birds teaches basic physics as well, your kid will be fine.
posted by goo at 4:55 PM on August 24, 2012


I agree with keeping an eye on the content of the games/videos he sees and the time spent on devices/screens but otherwise a little bit of even passive gaming/television/movie-watching is not going to ruin him. I promise.
posted by pink candy floss at 5:13 PM on August 24, 2012


Look. The answer always is that you make the best decisions for your kid as an entire person. I do not, for instance, believe that all screen time is inherently bad for all children. My son's speech therapist uses a combination of physical play and iPad apps to work with him. We've overheard OTs recommending apps for kids who need to strengthen certain motor controls. The iPad has revolutionized how to get kids to want to participate in their therapies. And you know what? It works! And I don't believe that qualified and trained professionals would be actively recommending iPad apps for these kids if the screen time was going to so terribly harm them. But the iPad is so new that we do not yet have a body of research to weigh in on it as a therapeutic tool.

It probably isn't true to say that video games are inherently bad when there are situations for which not playing video games is worse ---- an underdeveloped pincer grip helped by Dexteria, for example.

The challenge is, as always, balancing all the needs of your child as an entire person. If your particular child has no need or desire to play with your iPad, there's absolutely nothing wrong with holding off on your child being exposed to it. Nothing at all. But if he is interested, there is also nothing wrong with letting him have at it with an interactive learning game for half an hour or forty-five minutes.

The question you asked is if six is too early. It isn't. But he also doesn't have to use it if you see no benefit to it for your particular child.
posted by zizzle at 5:21 PM on August 24, 2012


I am literally writing a research paper about this right now. As in, I took a break to surf AskMe.

Short answer: You're fine. It isn't violent in a way that will affect him, and the only potential danger comes if you let him start to only play video games. But you knew that already.

Fun fact: Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer are great for children because they elicit interaction from them and reinforce proper grammar and strong language skills. Teletubbies and Baby Einstein actively damage a child's ability to develop language skills because they use nonsense words/structure and combine it with over-stimulation and lack of grounding for scenes, i.e. no story for the kids to follow.

Also, there is some research that suggests that because children have trouble conceptualizing 2D images on a screen actually being real, that they learn less than interacting with real things. This, or course, seems correct, but I feel like it's mistaking correlation for causation.
posted by InsanePenguin at 6:11 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't do it. Honestly, I think it's a good idea for kids to learn how to handle boredom, and the combination of iPhone games being so! entertaining! and constantly accessible (even if you take them away from him after a certain time, he'll get the message that in their natural state, iPhones really are always there) may get him used to a very high level of entertainment. 6 is still young enough for slower-moving and more concrete things -- he can contribute the maniacal energy himself.
posted by ostro at 7:46 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know where you are, but here in BC, our health authorities provide handouts on screen time for kids. The Canadian Pediatric Society, I think, recommends no screen time for kids under 2, an hour for the next group, and 2 hours a day for kids in general. Total screen time - TV, computer, tablet, phone, gaming devices, etc.

Other than that, I think it's up to you to look at the content. My friend is a child psych and she said that the literature she has read suggests that the use of interactivity, narrative, plot, cause and effect and so on in these media can be positive. But you need to make sure you don't end up with an inactive child or one who has no other stimulation.

One thing I have found, though...kids can have a hard time stepping outside of the game. Things can get really intense, even with Angry Birds. But it's fun and it's probably important for kids to learn to manage that intensity.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 8:18 PM on August 24, 2012


Set time limits (15 minutes twice a day?), use it as one of several reward options and be firm about what they're allowed to play.

With kids under two, passive screen watching is worse than them just sitting quietly watching the world. The rapid screen changes and the faces and voices that seem to be aimed at them but don't respond to the baby's attempts to communicate, confusing them.

A six year old can use a computer/ipad sensibly and as an additional fun tool.

babieswithipads.blogspot.com is a great blog that talks about how apps can be amazing for kids with challenges, and links to some great interactive apps. They're probably all too young for your kid, but they're a different perspective than most on how apps and games selectively used can be very helpful to kids.

Look for open-ended building-type games, games with storylines and games that encourage thinking. Start with classics - board games (there are some neat teaching chess games), puzzles (soooo fun on an ipad), doodling games, and then add new games. Common Sense Media has sensible reviews of apps and games for kids.
posted by viggorlijah at 8:35 PM on August 24, 2012


My three-year-old (who started playing Angry Birds at two) says "No. No way." I always limit how much he can play--five or ten minutes a day is probably fine, especially since he doesn't play every day.
posted by zardoz at 9:20 PM on August 24, 2012


The opening movie to Angry Birds (where you learn the backstory about why the birds are after the pigs) freaked my otherwise stoic 8yo right out. It may be different now, but the mean-spiritedness of the pigs was visceral, not cartoony, and he had nightmares about it. YMMV. This did not happen with Plants vs Zombies or Army of Darkness Defense, two apps that are much more obviously violent/martial in their play.
posted by apparently at 7:12 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lets be honest, its really dumbed down technology too. Anyone can get a grasp on it in a mere five minutes. So I am not really worried about them being luddites when they grow up.

Nobody is suggesting that your child will ever, at any point, struggle to learn to use an iPad. That is completely not the point. What we are looking for is technological fluency, which is best and most easily acquired in early childhood, just like language. It's the same reason it's optimal to teach second languages to very young children; those children will have an easier time learning more languages later.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:17 AM on August 25, 2012


There is a great book on this very subject called Into the Minds of Babies that takes a in-depth look at screen time and the way screen time affects children from birth until age 5, with a focus on examining the the AAP's recommendation for no TV for children between the ages of 0 and 2. This might be a little young for your child, but the book is great at presenting the results of lots of studies on child cognition and TV from infancy up to early school aged children.

In summary, there is plenty of evidence to show that children don't learn as well from screens, but any evidence linking television watching to ADHD or any other attention disorders is highly flawed. For instance, confusing screen time as a cause of ADHD when it may be correlated instead, or relying on reports of parents' perceptions of whether a child is easily distracted rather than a formal diagnosis.

There are no studies that link limited amounts of screen time with permanent damage. Just don't expect it to teach your kid anything.

But really, you should read the book instead of listening to a stranger on the internet and check this book out from the library. It's a pretty good literature review of the current science of this subject and you can draw your own conclusions.
posted by Alison at 12:19 PM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


My almost-6-year-old son loves Angry Birds and has been playing it and other app games since he was about 3, and online games before that. His grasp of the physics and geometry in Angry Birds, in particular, is stunning to me.

We limit screen time, and monitor content, but I think it's exceedingly naive to expect that kids - even young kids - wont have some exposure to screen-based media. I also have a 20-month-old son. I'm not banning him from the family room when his older siblings are watching an appropriate program. Do we sit him down to watch? No. But he gets engaged because most of what they watch is stuff that is engaging, like Team Umi Zumi and the like. I suppose that's a difference in parenting philosophy, the real experience of each family, and the battles we choose to fight.

There are other very appropriate apps (the Teach Me apps have been fabulous with my kids) that aren't at all remotely violent or game-like. Consider checking them out and playing them with your child. Look at it as another tool in your teaching toolbox.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 3:19 PM on August 25, 2012


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