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Technology Smart Kids

      images      “Good Morning!” I said to my youngest Grand.  His mother passed her sleepy 20-month-old son from her arms to mine.

“Ish!  Ish!”  he said to me.

“Fish?”  I asked.  He nodded his head and looked around the room.  When he spotted my iPad, he repeated, “Ish!  Ish!”

While riding in the backseat of a car with my Grand for over an hour the previous day, I had opened my iPad to entertain him.  He quickly learned to place his finger on a floating circle on the iPad tablet screen and drag it to the fish’s mouth.  He laughed when the fish’s mouth opened wide to swallow the circle.  And that night, I showed him a concentration game, thinking he’d like the way the blank tiles flipped to show pairs of birds and toys and zoo animals that I’d match and then the tiles would disappear.  When only a few blank tiles remained, he pointed to the two that matched.  At first I thought it was by chance, but it wasn’t.  He purposely chose matching pictures several times, but his favorite iPad game was “ish.”

Every time my older Grands come to my house, they ask, “May I play your iPad?”  I set a timer for them to each have a 15-minute turn.  My book-loving Grand always chooses to ‘watch’ a read-aloud book.  The Photo Booth app gives my creative Grand a way produce swirl and mirror and kaleidoscope pictures.  My oldest Grand chooses video-type games.  After they play their just-for-fun games, I encourage them to play learning games.  Now, I know everybody’s child is an advanced technology student.  And that’s what intrigues me.  Youngsters know how to play games on tablets and computers like I knew how to stack blocks.

And today’s kids never tire of their games like my children never tired of PacMan, that yellow, circular, open-mouth character, but the PacMan jingle drove me crazy in the 1980’s.  That’s when my dad told me, “Now, Susan, when I was a kid, I was told to get my head out of a book.  And I told you not to listen to the radio and watch TV so much.  Now you think your kids are playing those video games too much.  Next generation, it’ll be something else.”

One little tyke learned to spell his last name because he wanted to use the new family tablet.  He repeatedly asked his mother the password for the iPad.  Finally, she said, “If you want to use it, you have to learn to spell the password.  It’s our last name, Resudek.”  The next day he announced to his preschool teacher that he’d learned to spell his last name.  His teacher listened as the proud little boy stood straight and tall and recited, “R E S U D E K -Enter!”

Enter…that’s what all our young ones are doing.  Entering life with passwords, computers, tablets, readers, smart phones, MP3 players – all sorts of technology.  That’s where we are.