…here we go again.
68% of parents in the US said they have, or intend to purchase an App for their children aged between 2 and 10 years old. 73% of these parents were between the ages of 18 and 34.
These are US statistics and I wanted to see it for myself, so I went to the one person who could help me … My Sister.
(The source for this statistic is PBS KIDS ‘Parent Survey’ (Dec 2, 2013)
Upon arriving at my sister’s house, I was instantly greeted by my overly excited 3yr old nephew, Aiden. He runs over and asks me if I want to play a game with him.
“Of course” I say – Woosh! – Aiden whips out his mums IPAD and together we play Pepper Pig. In hindsight, I don’t know what I was expecting, Jigsaws? Lego? Actual toys? – I’m sure there’s an app for all of that.
Aiden, the kid who still wobbles when he runs too quickly, was able to switch on the iPad (including cracking the 4 digit pin code) slide/navigate through the pages FILLED with games and land expertly on the game he wanted. He loaded the game and was playing it all within seconds.
Even though I’d seen him do this countless times, this was first time I’d noticed it… And I was stunned.
And within five minutes, the process was repeated with another game. I think the most time Aiden spent on a game was six minutes; a curious game, where he was required to hang washing on a line within a time limit.
The Theory Rings True
What shocked me more then anything else, was the sheer number of apps that were available to Aiden. Of the 10 pages of apps on my sisters iPad, 8 of them were filled with games. That’s 160 apps for Aiden to use whenever he is allowed to play on the iPad… That’s crazy!
And it doesn’t stop there, when I asked my sister about this, she replied “All his friends have iPad games, they connect and play with each other”.
She wasn’t wrong, since then I have watched Aiden play dozens of different games with children of a similar age (family friends mostly). They interact with the iPad with surgical focus, each trying to solve puzzles before others.
When I questioned their parents about the reasons why they download so many apps for their kids, the most common answer was educational content. Although, those with older children also informed me that more ‘action based games’ kept them quiet for a while…
While Aiden was connecting to his friends online, I asked him “Do you know what the Internet is?” His answer was “a thing that makes cake!”
I find it interesting that the majority of parents who do buy apps for their kid are millennial parents (18-34yr olds). Which I suppose makes sense, as this is the generation that has grown up with developing digital media. I’m not a parent myself, but if was, I imagine would probably invest in apps as a means to entertain (and even educate) a child.
Based off the enjoyment and convenience I myself get from apps, and other digital technology, I do feel compelled to pass my tech habits onto others.
Although, I’m not entirely convinced it’s the right thing to do. Surely there is a limit on how much interaction a young child can have with technology before it turns negative?
Calling all parents out there…
Do you buy apps for your children? Or do you know anyone who does?
How do you feel about children and their obsession with technology? Is it positive or negative?
Drop your comments below.