[telecom] The Touch-Screen Generation

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The Touch-Screen Generation

Young children-even toddlers-are spending more and more time with  
digital technology. What will it mean for their development?

By Hanna Rosin
The Atlantic
MAR 20 2013

On a chilly day last spring, a few dozen developers of children's  
apps for phones and tablets gathered at an old beach resort in  
Monterey, California, to show off their games. One developer, a  
self-described "visionary for puzzles" who looked like a  
skateboarder-recently-turned-dad, displayed a jacked-up, interactive  
game called Puzzingo, intended for toddlers and inspired by his own  
son's desire to build and smash. Two 30-something women were eagerly  
seeking feedback for an app called Knock Knock Family, aimed at  
1-to-4-year-olds. "We want to make sure it's easy enough for babies  
to understand," one explained.

The gathering was organized by Warren Buckleitner, a longtime  
reviewer of interactive children's media who likes to bring together  
developers, researchers, and interest groups - and often plenty of  
kids, some still in diapers. It went by the Harry Potter-ish name  
Dust or Magic, and was held in a drafty old stone-and-wood hall  
barely a mile from the sea, the kind of place where Bathilda Bagshot  
might retire after packing up her wand. Buckleitner spent the breaks  
testing whether his own remote-control helicopter could reach the  
hall's second story, while various children who had come with their  
parents looked up in awe and delight. But mostly they looked down, at  
the iPads and other tablets displayed around the hall like so many  
open boxes of candy. I walked around and talked with developers, and  
several paraphrased a famous saying of Maria Montessori's, a quote  
imported to ennoble a touch-screen age when very young kids, who once  
could be counted on only to chew on a square of aluminum, are now  
engaging with it in increasingly sophisticated ways: "The hands are  
the instruments of man's intelligence."



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