Small Children and Smart Phones

A few days ago I watched a child, about six, reach into her little purse, pull out an iPhone, sit on a store two children playing with smart phonesshelve where she started playing Angry Birds.

For a long time I’ve been appalled by the number of small children who have very expensive phones that they use more as toys than as communication devices. When a child is given a phone to keep in touch with parents, that’s a very good thing. Add texting and that can be okay, but does a child really need any more than that?

A friend explained to me why parents get smart phones for their kids. First, the price might be good. Second, they used to get hand-held electronic games for their kids, so a smart phone is the same thing, just better.

I’d say it’s more than better.

As I watched the child playing Angry Birds, it was obvious it wasn’t the first time she played the game. I imagine that smart phone is pretty much her entire world. However, I could have the whole thing wrong. I’m  not the child’s parents. Maybe it isn’t her phone. Maybe either mom or dad lends her the phone in situations such as shopping where she is likely to get bored. I’d rather have a child playing with my phone than screaming because shopping when you can’t buy anything is boring.

I’m hoping that’s the case. That when they get home rather than tell her to play with her phone, they send her outside to play or show her the new book they just got for her and invite her to page through it (a child doesn’t need to be able to read in order to enjoy a book).

Better to have her exploring the world through books and becoming an avid reader which can help lead her in all sorts of directions and into a world of careers. I realize there are a number of skills that can be developed (eye-hand coordination, maybe problem solving, a competitive nature to list just three), but the careers that do not require an ability to read are not the kind of jobs most people expect their child to want.

It seems to me it would be much more valuable to raise a child who wanted to read before playing with any kind of electronic game. If it’s a choice between a smart phone and a book, I’ll be giving my granddaughter a book… lots of them.

Related Article:

Allowing Children To Be Immersive Readers Can Create Causal Knowledge, 7 Speed Reading Developers Reveal.


Nine Books from Your Childhood

I found a list of a Houston TV (ABC-13) station’s selection of “nine best books from your childhood.” While none of them were the best books from my childhood (none of them were written when I was a child), I think that all nine should be on a list of books any parent should want to get for their 3 – 7-year-old.

My list of the nine books of my childhood might not give away my age, but they will tell you that I’m old enough to be a grandpa, which I am, or even a great-grandpa, which I am not.

My favorite book was one few if any parents today would consider themselves politically correct by cover of Little Black Samboreading Little Black Sambo (by Helen Bannerman) to their children. While I thought the book was a wonderful story of adventure, it’s simply the title of the book that throws most people off today.

Other books I loved where:

The Little Engine That Could, with its theme of determination and its catch phrase, “I think I can. I think I can.”

Goodnight Moon, (Margaret Wise Brown), may have been my mother’s favorite book because I must have always fallen asleep before she finished it. When I encountered it again a couple of years ago, I remembered it being around when I was a kid, but I didn’t remember much about it.

Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne), the little bear is so loveable because he and his friends, Tiger, Eeyore, and Piglet are very childlike.

Black Beauty (Anna Sewell), while I remember the book and its story of success against great odds, it might have also be why I am and always have been afraid of horses. Still, I love the book.

cover of Peter PanPeter Pan (J.M. Barrie), what child doesn’t, at one time or another, feel lost. I never really wanted to find Neverland, but there were times I would have considered it.

Heidi (Joanna Spyri), which I remember more because of the movie starring Shirley Temple that came along later in my life, than for the book itself.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter), may have spurred one of my brothers into thinking that he could get away with crawling through a neighbor’s backyard of plants in order to steal tomatoes. When Bugs Bunny came along I thought of him as a cousin of the rabbits of Peter Rabbit.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (Virginia Lee Buxton), I loved this book, probably because it was about a steam engine, not because it was a story about turning defeat into victory. I might have liked it even more if I had known a 12-year-old boy suggested the ending.

One other book that I remember reading, although it wasn’t one of my childhood favorites was Madeleine (Ludwig Bemelmans), “In an old house in Paris…” My teacher gave me the book when she heard I was going to have my tonsils removed. It wasn’t much comfort to me because Madeleine had her appendix removed, which was an entirely different thing and probably not as bad. It seems I didn’t want a story at that time. I just wanted ice-cream.

So, that’s my list of 12. What’s yours?

Related Articles: 9 best books from your childhood |

Darn, I Wish I’d Thought of That

It happens often enough. I see something I think was extremely clever and I wish I’d thought of it. Every day I see a number of clever things, but I don’t always wish I’d thought of them. In fact it’s somewhat rare that something causes the feeling, somewhat along the lines of envy, but not really, that I should have thought of it because I think along those lines. I was a bit of a ‘smart-ass’ in school. Maybe I’ve always been ‘a bit of a smart-ass.” I remember looking at a test once and realizing I couldn’t answer a single question, so I wrote at the bottom, “See next page for answers.” Of course there was no next page and of course I got an “F,” but at least the teacher said, “Nice try,” when he handed the paper back to me, which now had a blank sheet of paper attached to it. He said, “Fill in the bland and return it  to me on Monday.” I did and he changed my grade to a “D.” Hey, that’s a lot better than an “F” considering.

Here are some things I wish I’d thought of:

Math-question My choice was only neatly print or typewrite




Stuck on an islandTrue-False

Dr. Seuss Quote – Late

Dr. Suess Quote- When Did It Get So Late“How did it get so late so soon?” ~ Dr. Seuss

I ask myself this everyday, not in these words exactly, but something close. In fact, I’ve been asking this question since my 40th birthday. The time and the days and the years fly by so fast that before you notice it’s afternoon or before you have the chance to dwell on June, it’s gone by. You didn’t miss it. It was there. It drifted past and you simply didn’t take the time to enjoy it. Nevertheless, you’re still here. You can still enjoy today’s and tomorrow’s and every tomorrow afternoon as well as the next June and every June after that for the rest of your life. But don’t miss another one or one day, one moment of your life it will have gotten too late too soon.