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Raising a Baby or Toddler in the Digital Age

By Jeana Lee Tahnk

The environment our babies are growing up in now is so differentthan it was 10 or even five years ago. It makes me sound old to bereminiscing about "the simpler times back then," but in some ways, life was easier without all the technological advances we have access to today.

There are apps for toddlers, electronic toys for babies and homesthat are filled to the brim with gadgets. As much of a proponent I am ofbabies not using technology until at least the age of 2, the reality isthat we live in a tech-filled world and it's hard to completely shieldthem from that.

Our baby lives in a house where her parents check their iPhones andher brother and sister play on a tablet, watch TV and use their gamingdevices. She sees a world around her where people can ask their phones aquestion and get a response or order their TVs to find a particularprogram.

As someone who has been in the tech industry for a long time, I haveseen my fair share of kids' apps. While I don't like the idea of youngbabies interacting with technology, I do believe technology can provideeducational (and entertainment) benefits to older kids.

Why am I hesitant to introduce technology at an early age? In myopinion, what's the rush? Kids are going to live a life full oftechnological advances, many we can't even begin to fathom. With afuture path of gadgetry and gizmos, I'd like to retain as much of thesimple life as possible, for as long as possible.

I'd rather read a book with my baby than listen to a narrative on ascreen. I'd rather play with blocks instead of tap on squares on atablet. My baby is happy to gnaw on a rubber spatula and hit it against abowl. At this age, she doesn't need all the extra bells, whistles,flashing lights and stimulation that can come with technology.

It's impossible to raise her in a world devoid of technology, butuntil she starts seeking the technology - and until I'm ready to give itto her - the rubber spatula and bowls are just fine for both of us.

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