Children using technology - polarising potential - What do you think?

We live in a world full of technology, and so do children.

We would like to ask what do parents, older siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents and older parental figures thing how much technology use is good for children?

We are especially interested in how people who would describe themselves as avid technology users or even developers see this question.

During our recent call on Freelancing, Remote Work, Technology and ... Childcare? we had a great discussion touching on many relevant topics from setting boundaries to the shift perception of family life in the background of professional work, but one point that stood out a lot was @Vann, who himself is a technology developer, startup founder and taught himself programming at an early age, described his shift in how he views technology for children. Before having children he was a proponent of giving them full access to technology as soon as possible, but after observing the interactions of his first child with modern technologies (iPad) first hand, he shifted his view. He now keeps their access to technology limited. As a reason, he sites that the entry barrier for technology now is so low that children can interact with it without any effort, other than his own early experiences with computers which were characterized by a lot of trying and learning.

I would like to invite @Vann to elaborate on this shift in views of his and invite everyone else to share their experiences and views on technology for children.

  • Are you a developer? When and how would you introduce your child to computers?
  • Are you a gamer? Would you play with your child?
  • Are your devices containing a large part of your professional and personal life? How do you explain that to your children?
  • Do you think it is possible to prepare a child for the future technology it is going to live with?
  • What technology (interactions) would you wish would exist?

In addition to what we might see as a potential ideal form of technology interaction for children there are also certain realities we are faced with:

  • In times of home office children see their parents stare a screen for work for hours at a time. How do they react to that? How do you explain to them what you do and why?
  • Children see adults look at and stroke their smartphones all day. (Had my little cousin ask my to build here a smartphone shape toy to cuddle with). What do you think about children using smartphones? What do you think about smartphone toys/plushies?
  • Remote learning becomes more and more relevant. How do you make distinctions between using technology for learning and for playing with your children? What are your experiences with educational technology/programs? What would you like in this field? (@erik_lonroth your experiences and views on this topic would be very interesting)
  • In times of lockdown and globalised family and friend structures, children grow up with grandparents and other family members framed by facetime, WhatsApp and zoom windows more often than not. What do you think are the effects of that? (personally, I am seeing my childhood friends in a video call once a week, hold a contact to the family in another country via video calls as well and went through 5 years of long-distance with my partner before we moved together and I already can not always relate to digital connections being described as cold or distant as I am used to having some of my closest connections this way for years. And all of this development took place after my 18th birthday, so how might children perceive it who grew up with family videocalls?)

@unclecj also posted an interesting article a while ago “Assorted thoughts about IT that I wish I knew when growing up” and made reacted with some thoughtful remarks and reading suggestions when I brought up this Interesting can of work" to him last week: