My son first used an iPad about 2 years ago, when he was 2 1/2. He was fascinated by the thing but, more impressively, he figured out the interface within a matter of days. Soon he scaled that knowledge up to apps, calling people (via phone and FaceTime), sending texts, and playing Angry Birds. He enjoyed using the camera and timer apps almost more than anything else, though: these acted as a view into his world and understanding what was happening around him.
Last year I met Elysse Zarek via Twitter, and we finally had the chance to meet (and enjoy tacos together!) earlier this year at SXSW. Elysse is the project manager and producer at Bloom Digital, a Toronto-based startup that promotes healthy childhoods. Their first app, Long Story, is an episodic game targeted at teens. It explores dating, gender, bullying, and all of the incredibly complicated stuff of growing up. It is a great game.
I got to talking with Elysse and her coworkers about technology and kids and how different it is for us, as parents, than it was for our parents. Most importantly we yearned for something beyond the whole, "How much screen time is 'too much'?" debate. It was frustrating, because there are bigger issues to explore around how this aspect of parenting changes you, too. For example: if you set up your kid with a Twitter account, when do you hand it over to them? Can she delete all of your "cute" tweets about things she said at the age of 3, or 4, or 5? How do you introduce the positive aspects of tech? In essence, how do you design your life to support a healthy relationship with technology for you and your children?
Elysse and I are proud to share our SXSW proposal with you. Our talk, Growing Up Digital: Raising Tech-Savvy Kids, will explore these topics in depth. Here's our SlideShare about it.
You'll be hearing more about this talk during the SXSW 2015 voting period, which ends on September 6.
But most importantly, if you'd like to see us at SXSW 2015, then you should vote for this talk right now. We hope to see you in Austin!