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Here’s one of our members writing about technology and babies – thanks Severine!
When my daughter Clementine was 9 months old we took her to France to visit my parents. After a long train journey I sat on the sofa for a well-deserved coffee a la francaise whilst Clem amused herself with one of the many educational apps on my iPad. My mother, a maternelle educator with 40 years’ experience, frowned and mumbled something about my sister and I being raised into fine individuals without the benefit of such devices.
I can’t remember when Clem first picked up my iPad or my smartphone. Friends of ours, with a daughter 4 months older than ours, recommended a couple of apps made by the publisher, Penguin, called Peek-a-boo Baby and Happy Babies. Upon downloading them we found that they were not only sweet and fun but Clem loved them. We would sit with her and play them the way we would with a book and she soon started mimicking animal noises and interacting with the app like it was second nature. These games became something else we could do together.
I remember trying to have a meeting in a coffee shop with Clem in tow. As any parent might expect, without my fullest attention she was quickly losing patience. She reached into my bag, took out my phone, managed to switch it on and load an app she was familiar with. I then went on to have a productive, uninterrupted meeting for the next 40 minutes. Since then any time I might need ten minutes here or there to cook or have a shower, the iPad comes out.
While many parents are embracing new technology there will always be parents more wary of its influence. For years the negative effects of games and technology overuse have been speculated and I understand the fear associated with anything potentially damaging. Though it’s probably too early to tell the full effects that these new technologies might have on development I believe, like so much else, that responsible supervision and moderation is the key.
Our daughter goes to Officrèche and I was delighted to find out how much new technology is used in her care plan. There is an interactive screen on site displaying pictures of daily activities, you are encouraged to email or text your child’s key carer with pictures of your child enjoying any new activities you have shared that they might be interested in incorporating. Officrèche’s own Twitter feed offers both information on weekly activities and a chance for parents to share tips and join conversations over social media. It’s important to us that the nursery we chose is in tune with the way we’re raising our daughter and embraces the brave new world she’s inheriting.