The value of exposing kids to technology

About a year ago I wrote an article for Smashing Magazine called A Dad’s Plea To Developers Of iPad Apps For Children. It was generally well received, but some of the comments were inevitably judgemental about parents who let their kids use iPads.

With that as backdrop, I really enjoyed Gary Marshall’s post Don’t fear your kids’ tech tantrums. He starts by making this point:

Let’s start by separating the “lazy parent” argument from the “kids shouldn’t have devices” argument. You can be a good parent and let your kids play on the iPad, and you can be a bad parent with a house full of encyclopaedias.

Gary’s main point is that giving kids appropriate exposure to technology — as part of a wider mix of non-tech activities — is essential to help prepare them for the digitally-focused world they are growing up in:

These are all valuable skills, critical skills, and the older she gets and the more tech-saturated the world becomes the more important digital literacy will become. I want my daughter to be ready for that world, not to be afraid of it or to be manipulated by it.

So thank you, Gary. I feel a little bit better about those comments now.