By MARILYN VOS SAVANT
Anonymous in Burke, Va., writes:
A friend of mine has a 1-year-old son who can already use a tablet computer. He knows how to unlock the screen, select and open apps, and scroll up-and-down and left-and-right. He enjoys using apps that are designed for babies and very young children. Do you think it’s a good idea for children this young to be using tablet computers and smartphones, etc.?
Babies are products of nature, not of modern technology. At this age, their brains are still developing, and evolution has prepared them for living interaction and hands-on playthings to further and complete the process. I call it the “organic imperative,” and it isn’t limited to infancy. Allowing electronic devices to encroach upon the fulfillment of these inborn needs is a risky business at best. (I don’t think even watching DVDs is a good idea at this age.) A child’s growing intellect might be deflected or harmed. Almost as bad, if the parents are trying to produce a superkid, they should know that these efforts typically fail (or worse, backfire), even if not until later in life.