My two-year old daughter, who cannot pronounce the letter L in the word please and is not potty trained, picked up my wife’s iPhone and brought it over to the shower door. She held it up to my wife, who was taking a shower, and said, “Animals.” “Alright, my wife said. “If you can find your animals, you can play with it.”
Clara pressed the button at the bottom of the phone to turn it on, swiped the “slide to unlock” bar, exited the app that my wife was using, swiped two screens over, located her “Animal” app, pressed it, and began playing.
The girl still sleeps in a crib, sucks her thumb, and cannot negotiate stairs. And we don’t even allow her to use the iPhone very often. She usually plays with her apps while we clip her toenails, change her diaper, or when she loses her mind in a restaurant.
Much of what she has learned has simply been by watching us.
Which is why I was not surprised to learn that a survey of online mothers found that more small children can play a computer game than ride a bike. In addition, only 20 percent can "swim unaided," 11 percent can tie their shoelaces without help, and 20 percent know how to make an emergency phone call.
I know that I was not allowed to leave kindergarten without the shoe tying and emergency phone call skills mastered. Mrs. Carroll would take us out of Mrs. Dubois’s kindergarten classroom and test us until we passed.
I recall the process being quite stressful, at least for me.
So we’ll get around to the swimming and bike riding and shoe tying in all good time, but for now, I think her ability to navigate the iPhone is quite impressive.
And a little frightening.