Aside from the obvious dangers of your toddler using your iPhone -- a 2-year-old's drool can kill the phone or they could buy loads of apps -- letting Steve Jobs be your babysitter is a bad idea. For the most part.
But The New York Times is frowning at the parents who dabble in letting our phones be a toddler toy.
A pediatrician from the American Academy of Pediatrics with the forbidding name of Gwenn Schurgin O'Keeffe says:
We always try to throw in the latest technology, but the cellphone industry is becoming so complex that we always come back to the table and wonder should we have a specific guideline for cellphones ... At the moment, we seem to feel it’s the same as TV.
But wait, you say, no way! It's nothing like trashy TV! I've got highbrow apps that teach my tot to read and count and reason and deduct! For you they roll out educational psychologist Jane M. Healy:
Any parent who thinks a spelling program is educational for that age is missing the whole idea of how the preschool brain grows. What children need at that age is whole body movement, the manipulation of lots of objects, and not some opaque technology. You’re not learning to read by lining up the letters in the word 'cat.’ You’re learning to read by understanding language, by listening. Here’s the parent busily doing something and the kid is playing with the electronic device. Where is the language? There is none.
Alright killjoys, point taken. But I will say a few things for the toddler power of the iPhone:
- On long trips it's just priceless: When it's iPhone or screamfest, iPhone wins. Plus they can watch TV shows without the far more insidious permanent screen in the minivan.
- They can impress you and your friends: My mind was blown the first time my daughter touched my iPod touch. The finger-dragging magic was all so intuitive for her I became convinced she was going to be a tech genius come 2020. Okay maybe 2030.
- There's a potty training app!: iGo Potty makes automated calls to your toddler and tells them it's time to go. Any toy that can shine some bright light on that fight has got to be good.
Do you let your child play with your phone?
Image via AbigailBatchelder/Flickr