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Are You Ready To Introduce Your Kids To Technology?

Tech 2.0 Birthday GiftMy youngest daughter (AKA, Tech 2.0, AKA, Pooter) turned 3 years old this past weekend. We asked her what she wanted for her birthday. She’s into “Dora The Explorer”, so she had a laundry-list of Dora-branded merchandise she required.

Since I’m a techie, I had half a mind to give her a ton of age-appropriate gadgets to as they say “train up a child…” So I did some research of course found a magnitude of geeky toys you would expect my kids would have. Suprisingly, my other half wasn’t so sure about forcing encouraging her to adopt technology so soon.

Since she is only 3, I’m certain she would’ve loved anything we bought her. Conversly, she has the attention span of your average 3 year-old. So no matter how big her eyes got after unwrapping them, and no matter how interactive or educational the tech gifts were, she would be “on to the next” probably sooner than I would have liked, especially if I spent a good amount of money on not only the gadgets, but also the must-have accessories.

Additionally, I wasn’t born a techie. Growing up my parents were just below middle-class, so we didn’t have all the latest and greatest tech gifts of our time. Fast forward to today, all I can think about are gadgets. As a result, slowly but surely, my kids will be exposed to technology simply by watching Mrs. Tech and I. I mean, they already know how to unlock our mobile devices and navigate the screens to get to their favorite apps & games.

In the end, “Granny & Pop-Pop Tech” went overboard and got her a bunch of stuff, while Mrs. Tech and I made a compromise and got her some items off her “Dora List” while sneaking some tech in there and got her a cute little digital camera…that takes horrible shots, but is cute.

Technology is everywhere. My girls are only 5 and 3, so they will undoubtedly grow up in the digital age. Eventually, we will start integrating S.T.E.M. type stuff into their daily routine. But for now, I think I will let my kids just be kids and enjoy some of the simple things that we grew up on like dolls, blocks and candy.

What do you think? How soon should parents start introducing tech into their kid’s lives?

Terrance GainesAre You Ready To Introduce Your Kids To Technology?
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  • Shareef - June 25, 2013

    They should be introduced as soon as possible. It’s sort of like learning a language – early exposure works best. Many of the engineers I’ve worked with are kids who’s parents were tech focused and made sure they were fiddling around with gadgets at a young age.

  • DNLee - July 14, 2013

    I like the approach you & the Mrs too – a little of both. I’m pro STEM & that includes Tech, but I’m not for feeling obliged to get the latest & greatest everything as soon as it comes out.
    I think there is value in kids (& adults) knowing how to entertain self without a battery-operated or plug-in device. Plus, I worry about kids becoming too focused on ‘stuff’, acquiring things, & consumerism. I like that you got her something that focuses on her doing something, something that can be used for her to express her own creativity.

    BrothaTech - July 15, 2013

    “I think there is value in kids (& adults) knowing how to entertain self without a battery-operated or plug-in device.”

    There it is! Thanks for the comment. Keep doing big things in the Scientific community

  • Randy J Mitchell - October 10, 2013

    Good article bro. Diggin your Digital Teaching Style ;-)

    We started introducing ours pretty early. Currently they have access to all tech in the house. We don’t restrict them from using any devices they show an interest in. We monitor and guide their exploration but we don’t stop it. We have a box of old tech that we allow them to explore and experiment with, everything from webcams, cell phones, laptops, circuit boards, 3D Printed items, etc…they’re allowed no limit exploration of this stuff. They can pull it apart, put it back together, break it, whatever…

    BrothaTech - October 10, 2013

    Sounds like a good plan. We try not limit tech exploration, but I definitely don’t want to force it on them either, especially if/when they just want to be kids and prefer to goof around with a cardboard box.

    Randy J Mitchell - October 10, 2013

    I feel you bro and I agree.

    The first step is awareness, followed by access, followed by opportunities to go/dig deeper as they show interest. Parents can follow this regardless of industry (art, medicine, sports, law, science). Just so happens that Technology has historically been an industry that African Americans haven’t –

    1. Been aware of as a professional or entrepreneurial option
    2. Had access to + people in there lives who could guide them / educate those who were interested…

    I was fortunate to have two parents that both worked in Technology (IBM) so I was introduced earlier than most of my peers. But I wish I/they would’ve done more…don’t think they really understood what a big deal personal hardware + software would turn out to be.

    But we get better with each iteration (generation) ;-)

    My kids may not end up in Tech, but it wont because they didn’t know it was an option…


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