Years ago, a child wouldn’t have been exposed to a computer for many years, and when they were exposed it was usually in the form of a standard calculator. Now kids are given “computers” as toddlers. A company called Baby Geniuses makes a toy laptop for children to get used to the idea of a computer. Why a baby would need to get used to the idea of a computer is beyond me. I don’t feel like many children are afraid of computers when they need to use one, and I don’t think that their experience as a toddler opening and closing a cloth “laptop” is going to help with their computer skills later down the road.
Educational software for babies six months until two years also goes by the name “lapware” and is used while seated on a parent or other adults lap. Another software for the same age range offers babies the chance to “touch any key on the keyboard without erasing any of their parents files!” The commercials show babies pounding away at their parent’s keyboards all the while smiling and laughing. What the parents are assuming is that their baby is enjoying the dancing frogs on the screen that wiggle each time the baby touches a certain key. What I think is more likely is that they like children who didn’t have laptops growing up, love the idea of being able to press many, many buttons.
I don’t know if these programs and toy laptops are really preparing our society’s babies for their future in the technology age, but I highly doubt that an infant’s exposure can really have that drastic effect on how they deal with technology in later years. I am all for giving three year olds interactive books, and simple children’s computers for learning, but giving an infant an old keyboard would probably have the same effect as giving them a laptop with baby computer programs on it. The keyboard would just be a lot cheaper.