My two-year old daughter can take my iPhone, turn it on, switch off the app that I was previously using, swipe three screens over to her selections of apps, and choose one. She’s been able to do this for more than a year.
And she doesn’t use the iPhone very often at all. We use it to keep her still when we are changing her diaper or brushing her teeth, and we’ll also turn to it in our most desperate moments in restaurants and the car when everything else fails.
I don’t mind that she is so proficient with the device. The iPhone has actually helped her to learn all of her letters, expand her vocabulary, learn to count and distinguish between a hexagon and an octagon (something my fifth graders still can’t do).
But it makes me nervous. She loves books, and I don’t want that love to evaporate in a haze of touch screens and interactive media.
We don’t own an iPad, partially because I have yet to find a real need for one, but also because Elysha’s mother owns an iPad, and I sometimes think Clara loves it more than she loves me.
The girl loves her some iPad.
But I worry that the iPad and other interactive media distribution devices will replace her love for books in a time when it is critical for her love for books to grow.
I have seen what happens when a child spends more time playing video games and watching television than he spends reading.
I fight those battles every day with my students.
I know the challenges that lie ahead of the struggling reader.
It is a trap into which I never want my daughter to fall.
I think this amusing yet frightening video demonstrates my fear perfectly: