This week, a study by a tech company called AVG implies that “kids are learning tech skills before life skills”–with examples like the ability to use a mouse over the ability to tie a pair of shoes. You can read about it in a good ABC News story about kids mastering tech skills before life skills.
I spoke to ABC News about it (I’m quoted in the article along with some other great tech bloggers) and my feeling is that first of all, this shouldn’t be an either/or situation. Kids should learn how to
dial a smart phone, the same way they should learn how to ride a bike,
swim, and draw little heads with legs and feet and call them people. (Or are those just my kids’ drawings?)
The survey itself seems to imply that tech is delaying other skills, or that parents are somehow forgoing swim lessons and bike riding practice in favor of games; but of course it doesn’t conclude any sort of causal effect at all. If a two year-old can work a mouse before she can tie her shoes, it’s probably because…duh, working a mouse is easy. Tying shoes is hard. It’s like saying “lots of adults have memorized the Burger King jingle but not the Bible” and somehow concluding that Burger King is ruining religion.
(And it bears pointing out the survey was conducted by a company aiming to launch products for parents “to keep kids safe.”)
I’m in the camp that tech skills are now an essential part of life. I’m not sure that two year-old needs her own computer, but I’m all for teaching my kids how to click the mouse pad and make Brobee sing a song too.
Besides, it’s probably the proliferation of Velcro that’s replacing shoe-tying. Not smartphones. –Liz
What do you think? Is it every too soon to teach kids about tech? Do you think it’s delaying the acquisition of other skills?
[photo: linda spashett]