Each stage of a child’s development has its milestone moments and accompanying hazards. There is the moment they learn how use a light switch. They turn it on, they turn it off. Then on. Then off. On. Off. On off on off on off. The same thing happens with the television, the microwave, and anything else that has a switch.
My personal favorite is that small window of time in their development where they can open the refrigerator and grab the pitcher of juice, but they are not strong enough to hold the pitcher once they have pulled it off of the shelf.
You can feel your life change in those moments. When they learn how to do something as simple as open the front door, you know new adventures await.
In our modern times these adventures will extend to personal technology. There is no greater example of how fast a child learns than by letting them play with your smart phone.
I was sitting in a cafe the other day with a group of my wife’s Zumba classmates. My daughter wasn’t feeling particularly social and asked if I would read her some stories using the Amazon Kindle app on my phone. I opened the app and gave the phone to her. Though she can’t read yet she can page through the picture books.
After about five minutes I turned to see what she was doing just in time to witness her pressing Amazon’s big orange “Buy it now with 1-Click” button. She had purchased a book from the movie Frozen. The big picture of that book combined with Amazon’s insidious orange button made it easy pickings for my four-year-old Frozen fanatic.
Discovering the Hidden Costs
I try to be “pound wise and penny foolish” with my kids. The one-time, $2.50 purchase wasn’t a problem for me. The real problem was she could now make book purchases when she can’t even read yet. The simplicity of it has made her believe every time I open the Kindle app we can just buy every Frozen book that scrolls across the screen and start reading. Instead of switching the light on and off, she now wants to click-click-click her way through my Kindle.
I wasn’t sure whether to be proud or afraid in that moment at the cafe. Since the damage was slight, I decided to be proud of her. I’ve been an IT professional for many years now and knowing my daughter could work her way around electronics like that made me smile.
That was until I logged on to my email account at work the following morning and found three more Amazon Kindle book purchases, all made in the minutes prior to that one I saw at the cafe.
Somewhere far away I could hear Jeff Bezos laughing…