Last week my wife called me during a meeting, which means it must be urgent. Our two-and-a-half-year-old son, Joe, quickly got on the line, anxious to tell me something. “Daddy, get Gabby a iPad!!” Gabby is his little sister. At 18 months, she’s ready for a tablet.
After watching my kids interact with technology, it was interesting to see the data from eMarketer released a few days ago on kids growing up in digital homes as “digital natives.” According to the report, tablet usage of the youngest (11 and under) already outpaces the oldest (65+). This makes sense, especially if the children are growing up in hyper-connected households with parents who use technology as a normal part of their day-to-day.
At 18-months, I’m wondering if my Gabby is off to a late start – the digital connection in some household reportedly extends down to newborns. “eMarketer estimates that 45% of kids younger than 12 will be internet users this year—an impressive rate for an age bracket that includes newborns. In fact, internet use is so widespread at such a young age that the forecast does not predict much growth in this tender-aged group.” Even when the child doesn’t have a device of their own, they have access to them – often handed mom’s smartphone or tablet to keep them busy (and quiet) in the car or at restaurants. (My kids are always quiet, but I hear this happens with other families.)