Just as adults have a hard time putting down their iPhones, so the device is now the Toy of Choice for many 1-, 2- and 3-year-olds. It’s a phenomenon that is attracting the attention of some childhood development specialists.
Natasha Sykes, a mother of two in Atlanta, remembers the first time her daughter, Kelsey, then barely 2 years old, held her husband’s iPhone. “She pressed the button and it lit up. I just remember her eyes. It was like ‘Whoa!’ ”
The parents were charmed by their daughter’s fascination. But then, said Ms. Sykes, “She got serious about the phone.”
Kelsey would ask for it. Then she’d cry for it. “It was like she’d always want the phone,” Ms. Sykes said.
Apple, the iPhone’s designer and manufacturer, has built its success on machines so simple and intuitive that even technologically befuddled adults can figure out how to work them, so it makes sense that sophisticated children would follow. Tap a picture on the screen and something happens. What could be more fun?
Many iPhone apps on the market are aimed directly at preschoolers, many of them labeled “educational,” such as Toddler Teasers: Shapes, which asks the child to tap a circle or square or triangle; and Pocket Zoo, which streams live video of animals at zoos around the world.
There are “flash cards” aimed at teaching children to read and spell, and a “Wheels on the Bus” app that sings the popular song in multiple languages. Then there’s the new iGo Potty app, with automated phone calls reminding toddlers that it’s time to “go.”
Along with fears about dropping and damage, however, many parents sharing iPhones with their young ones feel nagging guilt. They wonder whether it is indeed an educational tool, or a passive amusement like television.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has long advised parents not to let their children watch any TV until they are past their second birthday.
Jane M. Healy, an educational psychologist in Vail, Colo. said: “Any parent who thinks a spelling program is educational for that age is missing the whole idea of how the preschool brain grows.
What children need at that age is whole body movement, the manipulation of lots of objects and not some opaque technology. You’re not learning to read by lining up the letters in the word ‘cat.’ You’re learning to read by understanding language, by listening.
intuitive: easily understood or grasped by intuition（直观的）
nagging: continuing for a long time and difficult to cure or remove（纠缠不休的；难以摆脱的）
opaque: difficult to understand; not clear（难懂的；隐晦的）
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