A good friend once told me that if I wanted to see what we’d all be doing with technology in 5 years, I should spend a day observing the life of a typical 13-year-old girl. Well, I can do better than that. I’ll ask my 4-year-old daughter.
Without a doubt, millions of toddler parents would nod their heads in tacit acknowledgement when I say kids no longer wait until their teenage years to exploit the latest and greatest in technology. Here are just a few factoids about my 4-year old daughter that are sure to elicit a knowing smile (or evoke concern?) from my fellow parents:
- My daughter has more apps on my iPad than I do, the vast majority of which are interactive games (educational games, mostly)
- The games weave storytelling via video along with interactive challenges. Some are a “choose your own adventure” format.
- She sometimes tries touch the laptop screen to swipe to different pages. Remote controls are catching on but she clearly prefers the touch interface.
- She knows what YouTube is and how to navigate it (well, kind of)
- She doesn’t differentiate between devices when it comes to video. Video can just as easily be on the iPhone, iPad, one of two laptops, the desktop, or the TV.
- She sometimes has a hard time understanding lack of immediate access to video content. Example 1: she has a hard time understanding when a video we’ve downloaded to a computer can’t be played immediately on the TV in our living room without being burned first to a DVD (I’m not cool enough to have a TV that’s connected to my home network). Example 2: inability to watch videos on some of her iPad/iPhone games when we’re driving in the car and out of range of a cell tower.
- She dresses up avatars playing “Princess Math” on the iPad (not kidding – there really is such a thing – and I’ve played this game for more hours than I care to admit). Then, she emails the avatars to my wife using the iPad mail client (she can’t read big words yet, but she knows that Mommy’s email address starts with a “v” and that the iPad will auto-populate the rest).
Lest you believe I’m parenting a tech-mutant-child with all this stimulation, I hate to disappoint. She still gets read books, completes hands-on-crafts on a daily basis, and is still at an age where we get to enjoy a great deal of in-person, “real life” family time with mom and dad.
But the larger point is missed here. My 4 year old is a sharing, swiping, YouTubing, emailing, interactive video watching human being who will never know life before the Internet and wireless devices. She’s only 4, but already she understands the concepts of electronic sharing, creating her own stories with video, direct touch interaction with content, and navigating an electronic universe that’s filled with avatars and video. As a parent and an entrepreneur, I have no doubt the future of video is social, interactive, and mobile. All I have to do is ask my 4-year old.
Until next time,