Ideas

Musings of a Digital Dad (Part 2)

This is less of a blog post and more of a question for anyone with a view on the subject...

How young is too young to encourage kids into the world of emerging media?

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On the one hand, as someone who was practically raised by the blinking cyclops, the last thing I want is to encourage my son to watch lots of television. We turn it off as much as possible when he's awake and even block his view when neccessary.

But any kid of mine was always going to love tech, and the moment I grab my phone or open my laptop he is absolutely mesmerised. I'm fully aware that at 5 months, this is mainly due to the dull light that they each give off, but lets forget that for the time being...

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On the other hand, I am proud of the work I do and strongly believe that most children raised in the coming decade will require a deep understanding of digital tools.

I love my son and only want the best for him, just like every other parent.

I want to see him grow up as a well balanced, productive and proud member of society, no matter what path his life takes him on. Almost daily (while changing his nappie) I tell him I couldn't care less what he wants to do with his life, as long as he does it with every fibre of his being and goes to bed a little bit smarter than when he wakes up every single day.

But for the estimated 60 million plus people who have viewed the Kony 2012 video in the past week or so, there was an element to the production that caught my attention more than most... Director Jason Russel pointing out how much he enjoys creating and watching films with his son.

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Now, say what you will about their campaign and criticise their use of a 5 year old alongside some pretty heavy content all you like, but in my heart I know I would have made similar choices, and possibly made exactly the same film.

But the question remains: How young is too young?

If the magic of Steve Jobs was to create electronic devices even a 3 year old from the third world could understand at first glance, does that mean our children are destined to fall under their spell... Or will it be all my fault for encouraging such things?

In time, I imagine the much harder question will be 'How much is too much'? Until then, I guess I'll be sticking to David Pogue's mantra "All things in moderation" and just cling to the only thing that has got us this far...

Pure gut instinct.