As family living in the center of the high-tech universe, we are a fairly non-technical family. We don’t own a family computer. My first smart-phone purchase wasn’t until the release of the iPhone 4. My sons don’t play on the internet. There isn’t Club Penguin or whatever it’s called. My third grader has already asked when he can get a cell phone, since he has friends with phones. Our response hasn’t wavered from “Not until you’re older. Much, much older,” or my husband’s favorite “When you can afford the monthly bill.” My dad gave my eldest his 1st generation iPod Touch last year, much to my chagrin. My dad has the iPod on lock down. My son can’t download apps and has to pick from what my father has wisely loaded.
My toddler, however, seemed to miss the memo. His favorite place to play in the whole house is at my computer desk. He’s not happy if he isn’t seeing error messages left and right on my screen — mostly from him erasing my files and reformatting my hard drive. It’s amazing what havoc can be wrecked with only a few innocent clicks of the mouse and random typing on the keyboard.
Lately his fascination has turned to my iPhone. I downloaded an innocent toddler app, Peekaboo Barn, a few weeks back. Now the kid can’t seem to wake up in the morning or in the afternoon without playing a few rounds of peek-a-boo with farm animals. It’s sweet to see his face light up at the next pig or sheep. It’s also not how I planned my toddler to spend his time. We’ve always been hesitant to embrace the tech world for our children. We figured a strong foundation in the real world was leaps and bounds more important the developing pint-sized tech gurus.
But I still find myself handing over my phone twice a day to my not-even-yet two year old. A losing battle? Perhaps, we’re already on the slippery slope. All I know for sure is that Peekaboo Barn makes a cranky boy turn into a happy boy. Sometimes, if not all the time, parenting is about picking your battles. The war on tech isn’t over, but my toddler surely seems to have the winning advantage.