Feature: Technology and childhood
Ages & Stages:
Getting School Ready:
Book review: Levine: Graduates flunking life
Media: View featured media
From our Readers:
About this issue
The now-ancient Bob Dylan 1964 classic, “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” came to mind as I read this issue about our children’s cyber-existence. Most ParentMap readers are younger than I am, so possibly are more tech savvy. But whether your little darling is age 3 and showing signs of early brilliance using Millie’s Math House, 8 with a cell phone that she downloads books on, or 15 and spending endless hours with her wireless laptop on MySpace.com, we have a lot to learn about technology and our children.
I encourage the most youthful parents to jump ahead in this month’s ages and stages for a preview of what is to come. By the time your 3-year-old is 9, it will all be obsolete beyond your imagination.
This issue enhances your education about the double-edged sword that technology brings, from added educational access, developmental gains and communication to the continued digital divide, MySpace/Facebook issues and — worst of all — Internet predators. When my son’s high school offered parent education on the subject, I went thinking I was “in the know.” Barely a handful of parents came to hear Sgt. Shirey of the Seattle Police Department shatter our bubbles with riveting data that forced me to engage more closely with my kids’ wireless world. “I trust you but I love you more” were powerful and wise words recommended in supporting parents’ absolute access to their kids’ cyber existence. Clearly, you cannot educate your child on safe and savvy technology use if you are not sufficiently educated.
To bring some levity to this techno craziness, I did chuckle out of sheer anxiety when having to read and re-read the Father’s Day gift suggestion in Hot Stuff (p. 11). Wouldn’t the Mister love a Father’s Day gift of clothing equipped with a PAN (personal area network) — you know, the internal conduit system that enables you to wire third-party devices (i.e., cell phones or iPods) inside garments?
For the times they are a-changin’…
—Alayne Sulkin, publisher/editor