269 Comments

Summary:

A few months back, my wife went on a girls’ weekend trip from East Coast to West, gone for a total of five days. I survived my first long stretch with our three year old daughter alone, but it wasn’t easy. At 43, I came to parenthood […]

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A few months back, my wife went on a girls’ weekend trip from East Coast to West, gone for a total of five days. I survived my first long stretch with our three year old daughter alone, but it wasn’t easy. At 43, I came to parenthood late in life, and I have to admit being a father is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. During my wife’s much-needed and deserved vacation, I perhaps relied a bit too heavily on the TV for entertainment and babysitting. But the TV gave me the few minutes throughout each day that I needed to get things done or just take a minute to myself.

When my wife returned, we settled back into our routine, consisting of 1-2 days per week when we eat dinner out as a family. These events can also be challenging, as our daughter is one of those kids who just cannot sit still for anything. She seems well connected to her surroundings and engages with us and others, but she is perpetual motion personified. So imagine my surprise when the littlest tornado actually sat in her chair for an entire meal!

My wife’s new secret weapon was a series of iPhone apps created especially for toddlers that one of her California girlfriends had recommended. The most popular with our daughter is Letter Tracer, which works as the name suggests. So my daughter was occupied by learning to write her letters. The device and screen provided the engagement that pen and paper hadn’t, and she delighted at being able to successfully trace all the letters of the alphabet, smiling and exclaiming “Look Daddy, I did it!” each time she completed a new tracing. My daughter was having a blast learning how to write her letters, and her parents were enjoying not just her growth but a nice restaurant experience as well.

As 2009 wound to a close, I engaged in my typical year-end organization efforts, scouring boxes and folders to discard what I didn’t need and properly file what I wanted to keep. When I found my original iPhone (16GB Edge; no 3, no G), my first thought was to sell it on eBay. I had great success selling an iPhone 3G on eBay, after all, getting $350 for one that had been exposed to moisture but was working perfectly. Then it hit me: why not load it up with iPhone apps for toddlers like Letter Tracer, put it in a heavy duty case with a screen protector, and make us into a three-iPhone family? Better, why not rip all the discs we use on a portable DVD player during long family trips, making it even easier to travel? My schedule didn’t allow me to finish configuring “her” iPhone before our trip to New Jersey for Christmas, but I was able to unveil it shortly after we returned, which turned out to be a good thing as I was home with our sick daughter the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

My three year old daughter now has her own iPhone, though without service so it is effectively an iPod touch. And how did I create a monster, you might ask? Easy. Her first words upon waking from sleep are “Where’s my iPhone?” Her reaction to her parents call to come to the dinner table, head upstairs for a bath or get ready for bed is to clutch her iPhone and cry. Even though I loaded her iPhone with some of her favorite apps from her mom’s phone (by re-downloading to our black Macbook, as I couldn’t get iTunes Home Sharing to work with my wife’s Macbook Air), she only really uses it to watch a small handful of videos that I ripped or downloaded. And she uses it constantly: sitting in a chair, laying on the floor, walking from room-to-room… head down, focused on the iPhone screen, it can be a challenge to get her to disengage with the device and engage with us.

So how can this be a good thing, or at least not bad? For one, I long ago read “Everything Bad is Good for You” by Steven Berlin Johnson, and take solace that her use of the iPhone at this early stage is at least teaching her some valuable skills, including human-computer interaction (for example, she is still mastering the art of touching a video then touching again on the appropriate icon to pause or play it). The videos I loaded are generally good quality educational content, so there are learning moments in them. And her ability to use the iPhone or not has quickly become the “carrot” and “stick” motivation we’ve long needed: she responds to our threats to take it away or promise to let her use it as with nothing that came before it.

As the novelty of watching videos begins to wear off, I expect our daughter to explore all of the possibilities that her iPhone offers. We’re already using the built-in clock to learn to tell time, Camera to take pictures, and Weather to see if it will snow today. I can imagine using apps like Best Camera to learn more about art and photography, or Vocabulearn Tagalog to learn her mom’s families native language (which I need to do before we go to the Philippines in a year or two). In the meantime, she’s already started to use some of the toddler apps I installed, like Kid Art, Voice Toddler Cards, and the Curious George Coloring Book.

The real challenge will be to help our daughter use her iPhone as an educational device, and avoid the trap of becoming too immersed to the detriment of social, motor, and other skills development. The real question is whether I’m a bad dad for giving a three year old an iPhone. What do you think?

UPDATE: The response generated by this post have been pretty emotional, ranging from “are you crazy?” to “way to go dude!” Most responses cautioned moderation, suggesting that as long as there was parental involvement and some limits to her using it, it likely wasn’t a bad thing.

I mentioned that she awoke from sleep asking “can I have my iPhone?” In the almost 3 weeks that have passed, the iPhone has followed a now established trajectory for many toys, games, and clothes. There is an initial period of intense interest, which soon wanes. The iPhone is now simply one of many toys at her disposal. In fact, she prefers her Barbie cupcake baking kit now, and her interest and infatuation for it seems to be lasting longer than it did with the iPhone. She can also read a couple of books on her own, though mostly through memorization. It is quite obvious that she prefers playtime and interaction with Mom and Dad, and we’re happy to give it.

Still, there are times when she wants to use the iPhone, and other times when we’re all too happy to rely on it. I really was worried shortly after giving it to her that I had made a major mistake. I’m less worried about that now, and more worried about just being a good dad.

Image courtesy of Flickr user jessica.garro

  1. Just a comment… most deactivated cell phones will still dial 911. They will look for the phone if they get called frequently.

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    1. Jeff, you’re right. Forgot to mention that at first I put the iPhone in Airplane mode, but then just decided to take the SIM card out. Thanks!

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    2. A GSM phone without a SIM card will still call emergency numbers. It will activate the radio and call instantly.

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    3. No, but your mother created an idiot.

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    4. Yeah, Jeff – thats a great point. And i heard you can get cell accounts for children where they can only communicate with a few numbers. But I wanted to say that you might enjoy the book The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. Its about 3 different girls in different family situations raised by a interactive book.

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    5. I gave my son (now 22 months) my iPhone to play with about 4 months ago. It took him about a week or 2 to ‘get it’ but now he is just as fast on it as i am. He knows that applications are his, how to access videos, pictures… if i ask him for the video of the cow.. bam.. video of a cow… he even had favorite sound bytes from my Army Of Darnkess soundboard app…

      The only problem is getting it away from him.

      BUT – it works like a charm when he is misbehaving or unruly…

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    6. Huh?

      Who buys a 3 year old a $100+ phone…am I missing something??!!

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    7. @ A.

      He didn’t buy one, he found his old junker in a closet:
      “When I found my original iPhone (16GB Edge; no 3, no G), my first thought was to sell it … Then it hit me: why not load it up with iPhone apps for toddlers…?”

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    8. I think this is one giant, slightly heart-wrenching, advertisement. It’s clever. Really clever. But still an advert.

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    9. I gave my 8 year old an old Mac 17 years ago. He got into it with a hammer and screwdriver. At 25 he now builds computers and works as on engineer at IBM in NC. I think, therefore, that this is a nascent trend and a good one at that.

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    10. I do not think this is a good idea at all. The child does not need any cell phone at such a young age. The children of today are already lost enough with computers phones and other devises that I think it will be a bad choice in the long run. We all need to take our children outside more often and get them about from electronics. I see to many children parented by the TV and games and they are not enjoying the world as they should.

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  2. Considering you can control the content, I think I would rather have given my child an iPhone with the types of apps and video’s you stated vs watching TV. Even if the TV program is rated “G” the commercials are sometimes 10x worse and TV for the most part is trash. I would much rather give my kids an iPhone/iPod Touch with content I have reviewed and cut the ability to connect to the internet. No service, no wifi I think your pretty safe for the most part.

    While lego’s and building blocks were our toys 30 or 40 years ago, nothing wrong introducing a little tech, as long as you take the time to monitor the conent. (which sounds like your doing)

    I personally see nothing wrong with this and in fact would have been a good thing if it was around when my kids were that age. I have several nephews ranging in age from 4 to 8 and I let them mess around on my iPhone and have a page specifically for them. Education games or whatever appropriate for their age. Talk about favorite uncle lol. It can be a magical experience for them, and imo no harm done if your watching what content they have access too.

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    1. I’m thrilled that she still loves legos, coloring and role playing with mom and dad!

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    2. As a Dad with 5 kids aged 3 to 13, I can agree that its the commercials that are often much worse than any show. Dog the Bounty Hunter is aired with “nudity” warnings (!) though there never is (its related to his wife’s chest), but the commercials have often put tons of bad ideas into my children’s heads. We’ve reduced television viewing to marginal. Meanwhile the networks wonder why their markets are shrinking while they forget a portion of the population wants kid friend programming (including commercials).

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  3. Bad father? No. You guys essentially created an all-in-one learning device/toy with what you already had. But like any toy, moderation needs to be practiced. For example, she could be allowed to play with it in the car or for one hour each day. After all, she still needs to pick up a pen and pencil to learn to write letters, an iPhone can’t replace that type of learning.

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  4. Same here. Just dusted off my iPod Touch (1st Gen) for my 2 year old, since he was clinging to our iPhones. Sometimes I feel guilty for introducing him so early to the technology, but on the other hand, he is really surprising us with new skills (e.g. pinpointing apps he likes, starting and stopping videos on his own) almost every time he uses it. Everything is age appropriate on the fun. Only wish you could hide some of the default apple apps (e.g. Youtube and Settings) to childproof the device even more.

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    1. Peter Kennedy Monday, January 18, 2010

      Look under Settings-General-Restrictions. This allows you to remove some of the default apps: YouTube, App Store, etc.

      Of course, Settings cannot be removed. Ditto with the innocuous ones: Stocks, iCal, Contacts, Weather, etc.

      I believe if you jailbreak it, you should be able to remove some of the default apps.

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    2. Peter, great tips! I overlooked the Restrictions setting.

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    3. Just jailbreak the device with blackra1n and install poof on it from cydia. That will allow you to get rid of any icon that you want to restrict *including* settings. The only problem is that if you hide the icon for poof, you won’t be able to bring any icons that you remove back.

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  5. Brock Gunter-Smith Monday, January 18, 2010

    I have a first gen iPhone and second gen ipod Touch that I have handed over to my 3 and 6 year old children. No Wifi, no SIM card, just an AMAZING device to entertain and EDUCATE on the go. They love all the different spelling and math games that time them and score them.

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  6. Please get her to become an IT manager. The current crop of managers seem to have grown up with Microsoft Windows on all their devices and therefore can’t deal with anything that doesn’t have Microsoft written all over it. Hopefully the future group of corporate IT managers won’t have that same attitude. Your daughter is very fortunate to be able to play with such an expensive device. I can only imagine how much she’ll love the Apple tablet when you buy one for her next birthday.

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    1. My favorite thing about your comment is how you managed to skillfully weave your seething hatred of Microsoft into a blog about a kid playing with a iPhone.

      FUN CHALLENGE: See if you can respond to 5 blogs over the next few days without expressing your irrational hatred.

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    2. I agree with MadGerbil. Shut the hell up.

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  7. This is an absolutely marvelous article. Apple is really missing the boat not having several versions of iPhone and iPod touches on the market. Here’s my list:

    1. A kiddie version of the touch ruggedized just as you described with a battery big enough for long trips.

    2. Sport versions of the iPhone and touch ruggedized and waterproofed with GPS for the touch version. Having the touch version makes sense because people won’t want to use this heavy & bulky model for day to day and managing multiple cellular accounts can be a hassle.

    3. A travel version of the touch with GPS and a SD slot for travel guides. Using the touch with WiFi gets around all the complications of cellular service in other countries. Skype and the like would allow calls back home.

    4. A productivity version of the touch as an on-the-go office with a good camera and perhaps GPS. Not everyone wants the complications of combining phone with what is for them a micro-laptop. Joined into one doubles the chance you’ll be stuck with nothing to do because of a dead battery.

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  8. I don’t think we fully understand what we’re doing to our kids. Yes dealing with kids is hard. I know because I was 12 when my two sisters were born and I raised them as my parents worked nights.

    But I never stuck them in front of a computer or even a TV without being supervised. The joy of music, activities like watering plants, drying dishes and watching me cook were much more valuable.

    TV time with family is a group entertainment effort. The entire family gets together to watch something. It’s not entertainment, it’s bonding.

    Teenagers all over America suffer from isolation issues, early on depression, issues coping with anxiety and some are on drugs due to this mostly because they watched a ton of TV as a kid or had an iPod at 12 or 13 which isolated and screwed up their sensory perception.

    So now we’re teaching kids to stare into a tiny screen at 3 years old? Teaching them to stop observing and narrowing their vision to a tunnel which in turn will affect them for the rest of their lives.

    Laptops shouldn’t be owned by kids until they’re in high school. Cell phones in 8th grade and devices like iPhone, Kindle or otherwise shouldn’t be on the shopping list until they turn 18. Kids have a hard enough time with pop culture, self-image, creating long lasting friendships and dealing with the constant issues projected by MTV and Top 40 music that the technology will only make it harder for them when they try to function out in the real world.

    I thoroughly disagree with the entire article and encourage you to write a follow up when your child is 25 because I’m curious how this kind of exposure will alter their life.

    And trust me, I know that no one should tell you how to raise your child but you put it out there and asked the question if you’ve raised a monster and I say no, humans are resilient but technology is having a negative impact on their life.

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    1. No Kindle until they are 18? What are you going to insist on next… no reading books until they are 21?

      It is a new age. The kids that aren’t introduced to new technology now are the ones that will not be able to evolve 10-20 years from now when they are looking for their first job.

      I learned to program on a Commodore 64 when I was 6 years old back in the 80s. I now make $135k working for a software company with no college education AND own my own successful 3 person software business on the side that brings in about $650k annually, all because I was able to prove myself when I was entry level right out of high school (starting at $60k which is no small sum). Before I was introduced to computers and allowed by my father to expand my horizons into things that were considered taboo by most average people, I wanted to be a magician. See any correlation there?

      Sometimes, you think you are helping your kids when you are in fact limiting them. If you want to be a good parent, just keep them away from those with bad parents, nurture their brain, and don’t be the one that they blame for repressing them for so many years.

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      1. I completely and fully agree. Thank you for putting this guy in his place.

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    2. I couldn’t agree with you more. We are creating a society where interaction among humans is minimal. We might be becoming better engineers, technologist, but we will always crave a network of family and friends. But, with such upbringing, we will never learn on what it takes to maintain a relationship. Technology does not teach us abstract human qualities like love, sacrifice which are essential for meaningful relationships. Only constant human contact can bring out these qualities in a person.

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    3. Despite having given this to her, I’m making a conscious effort to engage my daughter, both in using the iPhone’s apps as learning tools and in limiting her access to it. We still run and play, read books, and create art together, among other things.

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    4. Yes. There are long-term cognitive impacts to learning to “interact” with technology–even just screens–at an early age. They are, on the whole, not good impacts.

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    5. I agree with Adam– and here is another issue–I know some people who work at Boys and Girls clubs, and they will be pretty quick to tell you that young kids leave cell phones everywhere. Many of these expensive “toys” go unclaimed, resulting in headaches for staff and parents. It’s okay to give kids tech when they are responsible enough to understand taking care of things, and also, parents should supervise what kids watch.
      Don’t expect someone else to teach your kids responsibility.

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    6. Mario Saccoccio Thursday, January 21, 2010

      “TV time with family is a group entertainment effort”

      Agreed. When my kids were younger, they each wanted a TV and phone in their room, just like “all their friends had!” Nice try, but TV should be a supervised social time where family members can sit together and share TV time, even learn to negotiate with their other siblings around the TV schedule. All my kids received a lap top when they were seniors in collage.
      As to cell phones, My 22 month old has a locked older phone that does not work, yet it lights up and “beeps.” He loves to imitate us on the phone and learns basic skills. When he is driving, he will have a real phone.
      I am not trying to tell anyone how to raise their children. These are just a few ideas that I have used to usher mine into the world of technology.

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  9. No, I don’t think your a bad dad for giving your daughter an iPhone. However, you have a problem. She seems to both have an emotional connection to it and doesn’t have limits on when she can use it.

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    1. Luckily, we are quickly starting to work that out via active management.

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    2. I agree here . I like how you have used it as a learning tool;however, you need to set the controlling limits and teach the value of its benefits. I mean people cry enough when they don’t have or lose their cell/iphone/laptops. It’s great to have the programs installed but don’t get too carried away.

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  10. Our toddler, 3.5 now, has been playing with our various iPhones (we have 4 floating about the house) for the last 18 months. She’s been adept with a MacBook for a similar amount of time. She actually taught my wife to use Expose.

    She will happily load up iTunes turn on music or a video, and then open iPhoto to look at pictures. She can’t handle a mouse on the desktop PC, but the trackpad is just fine for her, and has been for a long time. She controls the volume when asked, picks her programs, etc. The only thing she has to ask for is the websites she likes, although since Safari 4 introduced the home-screen thing, even that isn’t needed.

    She actually prefers the educational games, and happily spends ages going through flashcards learning words, letters, numbers, etc. She enjoys taking pictures too – I’ve found numerous pictures of feet, etc on my phone after she uses it.

    She actually likes teaching herself using it – I think it’s the best toy she’s ever had. Nothing beats it for expandability. We buy her a new app every couple of weeks and she loves it.

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    1. I’d say children love almost everything. Should this be then the reason for doing and giving them this and that?
      To be honest, I am a child of my age, I wasn’t born 40 years ago yet I managed to survive until today without having an iphone even now when I’m in my last years of high school and working. My friend got one and though him I realised luckily that I don’t need it just because others have it. It’s not that I’m envious. I was. And then the self-educational process started in my head, a process which is perhaps less recognizable from outside compared to motor scills, yet this “process” made me understand what advanced technology means. Iphones and similiar which let you think you are deeply in need of a “my town” application or the last time table of the bus to your neighbourhood. Or a game or two or the weather forecast for next months possibly… Advanced technology gives me the illusion of freedom and creates dependance. I, personally, do not want to be dependant. I want to use my mind which creates the best apps possible due to memory skills, cognitive skills, ability to learn languages, appreciate nature, appreciate feelings and thoughts…This I think as a barely grown-up. Would I think the same as a child exposed to the iphone? I don’t say your child does not get the appropriate guideance. It#s just this iphone now dominates its life. Instead of something human.
      The question which should be raised now is then: is there a need for a human being to rely on mindful technology such as iphone?
      Or rather:
      Can’t a child of today, despite the scientific progress, be spared and grow up without? Do you really think the child won’t grow up properly if there’s no iphone to teach her/him how to live?….

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    2. Imagine how much your daughter would love it if you or your wife used flashcards WITH her….

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  11. Think about it this way – she is practicing her “fine” motor skills and also learning in the process. So, as long as she combines it with development of her “gross” motor skills, she should be fine. And yes, I have a 3 year old who loves to get a hold of my (or her mom’s) iphone at any and every opportunity ;-)

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  12. I have owned a 2G iPhone for about couple of years now. My son (now 4 years old) picked up the usage just by observation. He was close to 3 years when he was able to use it to watch YouTube videos (about trains & engines after my initial keyword search), take pictures and play some toddler games. We consider his iPhone time inclusive of the total screen time in a day.
    Here’s the problem…I have observed that my wife and I spend enough time in front of the computers (we don’t watch any TV or cable) and it’s difficult to stop a kid, when he sees you doing the same.
    So, we have had to restrict our ‘screen time’ as well and lead by example. I agree with others that iPhone or iTouch does improve kid’s learning, but feel it comes at the expense of his/her becoming a myopic teenager later, who may not engage enough in the physical world.
    I recently got an iPod Touch as a gift, and intend to keep it for my son’s use, under monitor, with limited access to the Internet. I fear that internet can easily lead kids to things that are ‘too much, too soon’!
    I know it’s inevitable that the future generation will be more gadget-savvy, and know more about ‘touch’ than buttons.

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    1. Question…. even if your child will be still engaged enough in the physical world, will he care for any spiritual world/level and the own spiritual needs of his soul which we all have?

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    2. Well that’s a stupid and irrelevant question isralike

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  13. My 2 nephews (my own first kid is just 6 days old :) were introduced to computers and linux at age 2 by me…they are 5 and 10yo right now, and both of them are better than their mother at using the computer for fun and homework…hell, the 5yo learned to read on the computer, by age 3.

    So…I’m a firm believer on introducing kids to tech as early as you can do it…my own kid will have his iTouch (or equivalent in 2012) as his 2yo birthday present.

    BTW, I’m 40, so…thanks for the “hardest thing ever” encouragement :P

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    1. Being 42 with nearly 3 year old son, I’d like to second the “hardest thing ever” statement. You are not alone! :-)

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    2. You believe in this because the nephews you mention are so well at it?
      Because actually this is not a news. Children are able to learn almost everything very quickly. In cotton mills in 19th century children were the ones to work best at the machines, therefore the factory owners employed them to earn the living for their family for about 60 hours a week oftenly with the purest thoughts in mind. Following, numerous studies of physical and mental disorder and suffering on the children’s part. But only after a couple of time, of course. At first they were surely eager on working with so complicated machines.

      You really believe that “computer and technical skills” fill the empty space after the question “What’s life for?” ?
      And what you think one should do if the same nephews start stealing and beating up people at school and betraying parents and have one-night-stands at age of 14? Reducing their computer hours as punishment?……

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  14. miniclubmoose Monday, January 18, 2010

    I don’t think you’ve created a monster, I think you’ve created a future handheld electronics CEO

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    1. Ha! I hope you’re right!

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  15. I think it’s ridiculous to give a thirteen-year-old an iPhone, let alone a three-year-old. There is no rational reason in the world to give a child who doesn’t yet drive a cell phone, yet it’s become the norm. Whatever. But a phone for a child who hasn’t started school? Give me a break.

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    1. It isn’t really a phone. It doesn’t have cellular service on it…it is really an iPod Touch.

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    2. I’m 14, and I had my first iPhone when I was 13. I use it to help the family on trips, and to help me in school (grades updated hourly on calendar app, as well as retrieving forgotten assignment from my home computer during class if needed.) My parents pay for it because I use it well, and not just for texting and calling my friends, but for real purposes. I program for it, I use it when I need to go online to help other people with their computers at their houses, I give the entire family internet (I’m the only one that knows how to jailbreak an iPhone/iPod Touch in my entire school, so i’ve done about 30-40 of them, all for free naturally) on vacations, which my parents use to check important email which they wouldn’t have been able to do without me having an iPhone (my dad would never type email on an iPhone, maybe read it though.)

      In conclusion: You Are Wrong, Q.E.D.

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  16. My daughter is 1 year 4 months and she already knows how to activate the iPod Touch, slide to unlock and flip through the homescreen. I’m so proud : D

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    1. Does she know to speak and to read?
      And to say thank you?

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    2. I think it’s essential that a child be required to use their motor skills with pencils, markers, crayons, and paper. Technology is great because it can teach the child to live in a technology integrated society, but they need to learn to be able to function if, hypothetically of course, all the technology was wiped off the face of the earth. The amount of time she uses it needs to be limited. I grew up in a house with technology, as my mom teaches computer classes in high school, I had computer classes as part of my curriculum from 1st grade to freshman year in high school, but it was limited, and too much computer usage can strain the eyes. There are a lot of consequences that can go along with her having access to a device like this at such a young age. It’s a great learning tool, but its usage should be monitored. Oh & isralike, thank you for the smart comments! I bet you didn’t get those from the computer. At least someone has sense enough to see the problems that can arise with giving her an iPhone at such a young age.

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  17. The big issue for me which hasn’t really been mentioned is the cost of the thing. You must be relatively comfortable financially to simply afford 3 iphones, but I wonder if giving such an expensive item to such a young child will set a dangerous precedent.

    Will it come back to bite you in the future with her expecting to always own the newest gadgets? How will this impact on her perceptions on value and price?

    Also, out of interest, how do other children react to her “toy”? And what about their parents?

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    1. The cost factor could be a problem in the future, but currently she only has vague notions of money and cost. “Her” iPhone hasn’t been exposed to other friends and their parents.

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    2. The next generation of iJunkies in the the making. Just like any addiction, the pusher always give the first hit for free but you’ll have to pay for the rest. Your daughters expectations of consumer electronics will be high for the rest of her life, and until she’s old enough to get a job you’ll be footing the bill for her iHabit. But you’re not alone…

      I gave my 2nd-gen black Macbook to a friend (in her 40′s) who was tired of her Windows laptop failing on her. She’s happy enough with it but now her craptastic cellphone isn’t good enough and she wants an iPhone of her own! Once you get hooked on the good stuff it’s hard to go back to the stuff that’s just good enough.

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    3. for one thing, he never gave her the newest of anything. she doesn’t know that of course, but even if she did she’d know it wasn’t the greatest or newest of anything.

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  18. My autistic 6 year old daughter uses both an old Nano that was mine before I bought my current iPhone, and occasionally my husband’s iPhone as well. Because of her autism she needs a constant level of sensory input and having access to some of her familiar videos in distressing situations is comforting to her. She also uses computers at school for some of her work because she has fine motor skill issues connected to her autism (diagnosed well before she ever laid hands on a computer) and can’t hold a pencil or crayon well. She’s been using a computer since she was 2 and is an absolute genius with technology…I don’t worry at all about the effects on her. The technology is a support for her, not a problem.

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    1. Technology is (in most cases) a blessing for people with disabilities or illnesses and -like with any other “medicine”- you don’t worry too much about adverse effects when the positive medicinal properties outweigh them. You’re absolutely right in doing so with the Nano/iPhone usage of your daughter!
      But the different question here is: what about the adverse effects when I swallow a pill without actually needing it?

      IMO that’s the true aspect to consider. Do I “need” a tech gadget to educate, entertain, teach… my kids, is it truly helping or may it become counterproductive in the long term?
      I am a tekkie and iPhone user myself with 3 year old son who loves to play on my device, look photos and videos etc. And I’m not yet decided, how much of this is really good for him…

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  19. fail. i feel sorry apple had to be brought into her life :(

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    1. Crapple Tastic Tuesday, January 19, 2010

      Comment WIN

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  20. Even without a SIM card, it should still be possible to dial 911, shouldn’t it?

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  21. My granddaughter has been playing with my iPhone since she was 2. (last 2 years). I just upgraded and now I have the one older phone completely dedicated to her. I have movies, songs and apps available to her. She calls it her phone. I think it is great! You can set content and moniter her activity. I even bought another mophie to extend the battery! What an amazing company apple is!

    Share
    1. The phone is truly dedicated, it has no choice.
      Who else is dedicated to your granddaughter?
      Songs being available are great.
      Even greater it has been for me as a child to have a person available to me to sing a song with.
      I don’t think a child’s mind has changed so much in the last decade. Do you?
      You say, you can moniter her activity at the phone.
      And without…can you? Would you?
      Ever tried instead of extending the battery rather extending the time of personal dedication and guideance for your granddaughter?
      Or will she search for life experience through the apple search function, perhaps?!

      Simple questions with oftenly one single word to replace and the effect would be tremendous.

      Share
  22. My daughters completely monopolize my iPhone, and perhaps giving them my old iPod Touch is the way to go. I see nothing wrong with allowing them to become proficient in the world that they will inherit. Technology is here to stay, better to arm them with the knowledge.

    Also, the very fact that you worry about the time that she spends on the “mini mac”, seems to suggest that your daughter will be fine. Besides, as all parents know, the novelty of the new toy will probably wear off soon enough :)

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  23. Studies have shown that even the most well-crafted educational content on TV has negative net results if children are left to watch the tv without adult social interaction. If your daughter is mostly using the iPhone to watch videos, it could end up delaying her language and social skills. Not to mention the fact that giving her highly stimulating, short duration games to play by herself is going to make her into a little seratonin junkie.

    Think of it this way: to take the device away would do no harm. To continue to let her use it potentially carries a risk. Which do you choose?

    Share
    1. Think of it that way: to take away a sheet of paper and a pencil would do no harm. To continue to let her use it potentially carries a risk (e.g. of accidentally sticking the pen into the eye). Which do you choose?
      It’s just not that easy. Literally *everything* comes with risks, you have to balance pros and cons in more detail.

      Share
  24. Hello Patrick,

    I can totally relate. My toddler (1.5 years old) also does this (play with the iPod Touch), but I have yet to try the Letter Tracer app. Right now, one of her favorite toys is an old 5th Gen iPod, for her videos. However, she keeps on tapping the screen (thinking it’s an iPod Touch or her mom’s iPhone). :)

    BTW, let me know when you are in town (Manila, Philippines), maybe we can have coffee and talk Mac. :D

    Cheers!

    Share
  25. As a forward thinking teacher of young children, I am torn on my response. I am excited to see parents are being bold and open to technology. It can be such a useful skill upon entering school, and will certainly be a mandatory skill for the upcoming generations. However, I don’t think that she should be learning exclusively through technology. I would encourage her to do some physically demanding tasks as well as creative thinking activities. She will still need to have built up muscles and established coordination as much as she will need to be able to push pause. Also, if she were to become an IT manager, she will need problem solving and social skills. I know that this all seems fairly obvious. Yet, many parents forego piano lessons, jazz class, or t-ball in order to afford computers. I would suggest that BOTH are necessary. Let’s be honest, technology isn’t going away anytime soon!

    Share
    1. As a fellow teacher and the parent of a toddler I feel the same way. I think it is important to have children up to date with their technology skills. Technology is a great thing and has many good advantages. I also believe that there is a growing problem with children being over stimulated. In today’s classroom, children feel that they need to be doing something active ALL the time. They have a hard time sitting still to read or do work because they don’t have a television in front of them. Now teachers have to keep their students engaged and are competing with television, computers, and now ipods. Sometimes children just need to learn things when their are developmentally ready to do so. My son is 3, and sometimes I worry that he is not doing or learning things fast enough compared to other kids. Then I have to remember that not all kids have to be reading by the age of 3. Sometimes it is better to let them learn on their own. It creates promblem solvers and critical thinkers who will have the skills to master technology when the time is right. I do let him play with my iphone on occasion, but shortly after he is off to play with trucks and bugs.

      Share
  26. Why is it a good idea to get a kid below the age of reason hooked on a piece of technology that will distract them from the normal child development process that deeply requires engaging with the real world? Instead, this is going to tweak their orientation towards something run by a battery and build a dependence on it. It’s like introducing a 5 year old to videogames and then letting that drive their life. The benefit of any skills gained is outweighed by the artificial framework it gives the kid about how to approach life. Oh yeah, it keeps the kid quiet so the parent has less effort. Nice reasoning. Poor kid.

    - Had to post this from reddit.

    Share
    1. No less effort. Not the reasoning. It doesn’t keep my daughter quiet, and that’s not the intent.

      Share
  27. to all those saying don’t let your kid use an ipod/iphone/ithis/ithat…
    think about humanity about 100 years ago or 400 years ago and the god aweful parent who said “I can’t let my kid sit in front of a book all day…they should be working and supporting the family – god damn it”

    Share
    1. Reading has nothing to do with watching videos and playing games via the lens of child development.

      Share
    2. @john doe: Full ack. One great mistake made too often is to apply the knowledge of a “right” or necessary education from former generations as if it was static and true for all times. Is book reading the best thing in the world, just because we (the privileged) are doing so for a few hundred years now? No, it isn’t, it came and it will go away again.
      Life changes constantly, education and didactics change and probably in 100 years they are laughing about us – when it’s the most normal thing in the world to endow a newborn with his/her own neuronal media interface…
      It just doesn’t help sticking to “we’ve always done it like this” memes and condemn new approaches without even trying them.

      Share
  28. I fail to see how this is conceptually any different then the 3yo playing around on a desktop PC. The only actual difference is using touch screen rather then keyboard/mouse for input and smaller screen.

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  29. Given the concerns about the radiation generated by cellphones, especially smartphones, I wouldn’t give a small child one. Their brains are still developing, and the impact could be much more significant. Too risky.

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  30. [...] rest is here:  I Gave My 3 Year Old an iPhone: Have I Created a Monster? You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, [...]

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  31. Just wait till the Itouch jumbo comes out….Ipad?

    Learning will go to the next level…can’t wait to buy one for my 5 year old…if the device is actually coming…we’ll know in a few weeks. I can’t my Iphone out of his hands!!!

    Share
    1. What point is a keyboard for someone who can’t yet read or write. My 3yo knows how to swipe, pinch and tap her way around an iPhone. With a bigger screen the possibilities for a device like tablet computer are enormous for preschoolers. And as my little general eventually becomes literate, a virtual keyboard is only a tap away on either an iPhone or tablet. (Note to self, get savvy with Parental Controls.)

      Share
  32. Get her some books on it, istorytime had a good library of books that have good messages and are nice and simple… check out http://www.istorytimeapp.com

    Share
    1. Istorytime.
      The girl will not even know what a book probably is besides that it’s a nice app, probably with sensual effects.

      Graham, I somehow think you forgot the girl is 3 years old and has just learned to appreciate the letters of her name. The next you’d perhaps recomment to get her a hourly course on advanced IT technology in preparation for high school demands?…

      Share
  33. Please don’t forget to let your daughter play outside. It’s something we always did as kids, but the following generation hasn’t had nearly as much time outside, and as Richard Louv has discovered (and written about in Last Child In The Woods), it’s had detrimental effects.

    However, there are some good iPhone apps you can use with your daughter that can increase her enjoyment of the outdoors. One company, iBird.com, makes bird ID apps that allow you to view the bird, hear their calls, and learn more about them. If using your daughter’s iPhone to explore the outdoors gets her outside more often, go for it! (And then go and play a game of hide-n-go-seek! That’s a classic ‘real world app’ that will forever be popular.)

    Share
  34. [...] Read this article: I Gave My 3 Year Old an iPhone: Have I Created a Monster? [...]

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  35. Hi,
    This is where limited battery life is your friend.

    As long as you don’t teach her to charge it up you have a way of limiting the usage without being the ‘problem’.

    Best regards
    Steve

    Share
  36. You could get her a Nintendo DS which is sort of especially designed for that kind of thing and has tons of educational games available.

    On the other hand, I share your original concern on whether giving a kid an addictive toy is the best way to make them sit still. No matter how energetic she is you should teach your kid to respect your authority enough and to behave properly enough that you can take her to a restaurant without having to dope her with electronics.

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  37. Would you please post some more of the apps that your kid uses? It’s kinda hard to find anything really good by just browsing, the app store is ridiculously huge now.

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    1. Try checking out LeapFrog Enterprises. They make some very interesting educational games!

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  38. She will be ready to use the SMART boards when she goes to school, thats for sure!

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    1. Does this mean that this child will turn out being smart?

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  39. [...] Tags: framtiden, iPhone, pedagogik, smart phones Jag läste en så intressant artikel om en far som gav sin 3-åriga dotter en iPhone och det väckte många tankar. Sen när jag läste alla kommentarer som artikeln fått väcktes [...]

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  40. I suggest you take a look at “Superfreakonomics” by Levitt and Dubner. They found data that shows an increase in crime rate with the introduction of television, the technology not the content. I think it’s impossible to know what the real effects will be on the short term, and 3 year olds are in the middle of a huge peak of their lifetime learning curve. As with all things in life, moderation tends to be good advice.

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  41. Bad Dad? No. I’m downloading Letter Tracer for my toddler after I post this reply. My boys, ages 2 and 4, love using my iPhone on the airplane or long car rides – my way of moderating their use. I like the idea of giving them a dedicated phone especially if I can get a new one out of the deal.

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  42. The idea that you are somehow hurting your child by giving them access to technology is ludicrous. Children are not that fragile. And technology is all around them, part of their world. It isn’t in any way making them less social, or myopic, quite the opposite. Teens today are connected to the world. I am always amazed at what my teenagers know, compared to what I knew when I was their age, of the world. But then, I didn’t have the advantage of computers and internet and cellphones and being connected to the huge diversity of people and opinions as they are.

    Don’t worry about your daughter. She’s clearly intelligent and lively and thriving. And she has parents who truly care. She’ll be more than fine.

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    1. I agree. Nice comment!

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  43. Major fail as a father. My God, what are you thinking?

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    1. Major fail as a biased idiot. As always. I can’t even begin to believe your thinking.

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  44. I had to chuckle when I read many of these comments. The variation of comments just shows how great people really are. If there were not differing points of view on the effects of this technology, then our society would be a boring monotony of brainless lemmings. I have two kids, one is 19 and the other 18. Both were given computers and gaming devices as young children, with limits that changed over the years. Both graduated from high school with honors. One now works for a large computer firm, the other is in college still trying to figure out just what he wants to do. I see this as a positive result!

    Ultimately, only you can decide what is right for your child. You’ll change your mind a thousand times in a single week, let alone over the course of years. Trust your judgment, and your child to tell you what is right for your family. Have fun!

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  45. Good for you, what an innovative solution to a common problem. Personally I find a bit of guitar hero (xbox in my case) works as a pretty good incentive, plus it has the added benefit of being an activity the whole family can enjoy as well as find challenging.

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  46. It does not matter what you give, it can be a Nintendo, a Barbie, a transformer, money, dog. But if the you (or the parent) can not control your kids, and then you kids can became a spoiled brat.

    “Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul. ” Proverbs 29:17

    “Discipline your son while there is hope, And do not desire his death. ” Proverbs 19:18

    “Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol. ” Proverbs 23:13-14

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    1. Addictment and dependence to be put in for “Sheol” and here we go.

      Why not adding a “proverb app” to the iPhone when the child gets bigger?………

      Share
  47. When I was that age, I too spent many hours staring at a small object, refusing to acknowledge the world around me, and howling if it was removed. It was called a “book”. Technology moves on, and you’ve moved with it, but the same principles apply.

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    1. amen.
      :)

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  48. Just so no one has to guess at my bias, I’ll just put it out there that I despise Steve Jobs, Apple, and virtually every product they’ve ever “made” (as in added a slick coat of paint to fragments of other people’s labor). So that’s where I stand on that.

    Now, as to your question, if you are really concerned, then don’t listen to any of us Joe Intarwebz in the peanut gallery. Go find a child psychologist, or any psychologist with training in early childhood development. There are known, definite risks to exposing a child to activities that don’t involve interaction with other people. There are known, definite risks involved with overexposure to artificial screens at an early age. There are speculated risks involved with young children being exposed to certain types of radiation generated from various types of devices. iPhones are made in China, and in our household, that is synonymous with “Made with lead, cadmium and/or other dangerous heavy metals known to cause developmental problems” until an independent third party tells us otherwise.

    I’m not judging you at all, if for no other reason than because I’m in no place to. As the father of a high-powered three year old, Lord knows I understand how tough it can be. I confess that there have been more than a few days when I’ve let the TV (Sprout Network and a stack of Dora and Disney CD’s) do some distraction for me beyond what the child development experts recommend. I would urge that you find out if anyone has done a heavy metal analysis on the iPhone, because for as much time as your daughter is holding it in her hands, it *is* leeching any heavy metals in its case into her skin, and you need to know about it *now*. After that, please talk to a child psych expert about her exposure levels. The costs for a small series of visits is really minimal, especially for anyone who can afford to pay the AppleT&T Taxes.

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    1. Haha.. this is hilarious!

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    2. LOL, you are an idiot.

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    3. Wow, its people like you that make me ashamed to be under the christian influence. You obviously have no sense of the bible if something as well developed as an IPhone can be anything but helpful. Its called: Putting limits, if you are not able to put limits on time your child uses technology, then you are not able to control your child and should put him/her up for adoption so they don’t get influenced by this ridiculous logic.

      Also, radiation takes years, yes YEARS to develop any kind of cancer, if your going to make an argument, then do some research and don’t put your idiotic thoughts out there with no form of direction at all.

      Also, I have gone long to avoid people, unlike superficial mindless zombies of the media like you have been promoting. I actually have thought and run to those that make their lives out of the main stream media and can develop thoughts beyond. “Oooh shiney”

      Try to make thought before you post here, good day.

      Share
    4. Nice comment Mason. 100% agree

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  49. My boy is almost 2 and uses our iPhones in the morning sometimes. He loves to look at photos of himself and family etc, he also loves to watch videos that we’ve taken of him on it. He laughs his head off when he sees himself being silly or laughing etc. I have a couple of apps, but to be honest he just likes flicking through pictures looking for his favourites. I think it is perfectly safe for him to look at photos and videos, he also adores books and stories, so I think it is just supplemental to this. He watches TV too.. shock horror!!!

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  50. You are walking a VERY fine line.

    There is nothing wrong with introducing your daughter to technology, but as so many have attested, it is the monitoring of usage, content and the development of appreciation of worth that will be the long term challenge for you.

    You think being a parent in your 40′s is the hardest job on earth. Lol. I’m your age and have 4 children, and the youngest is 16. You have it sweet right now, you have total control. When they become a teenager it’s a whole new ball game (especially with emotionally manipulative girls) and then you’ll be able to ‘partially’ answer your own question. I say partially because so many parents still believe their teenage spoilt brat is so wonderful (even though the parents are forking over for the 4th mobile phone because Jenny lost her’s… again, or paying for the $800 phone bill because Ricky didn’t realise international phone calls were so expensive – phoned his girlfriend everyday she was on holidays).

    I smile when my children complain, ‘Dad, why do you have to know so much about computers, none of the other parent’s do’; because I go through and set Parental restrictions, set access times, and read internet access logs (the Time Capsule’s being nowhere near as parental friendly as other router’s I’ve used) and then restrict further or totally remove internet/computer access privileges based on the number of Porn sites my kids may have visited that week:-(

    Restrict iPhone use based on battery life, you’ve got to be kidding!

    My kids got their own hand-me-down Mac’s when they were 5ish.

    I spent 3 weeks writing an AppleScript program that would not allow any access to the computer until their homework was done. It took my then 6 yo son 2 days to figure out a work around – start with Extension off, for those who remember OS 9. (I’m very proud:-).

    I’m lucky, with 4 kids you set the rule for the 1st one and the rest have to follow suit – You buy your own mobile phone, that way when you loose it you can feel the pain!

    Unfortunately with High School these days it’s essential that they have a laptop so we had to buy those – second hand. Of course one day our youngest son reports that his screen has been damaged, because another kid tossed his bag against a tree. The MacBook was in a protective hard case, the kid must have been practicing hammer throwing to do the damage he did – bent the metal frame! Neither the parents or their perfect son offered to pay for the damage.

    So it was live without a MB or figure out how to afford to repair it. I was able to source a raw LCD screen, I gave my eldest son the tools and pointed him to iFixIt.com where he was able to follow the excellent online guides to dismantle his brother’s MB and replace the screen. All for 1/3 the quoted price from Apple. The youngest son did the eldest’s chores for quite a while.

    My eldest son has since smashed the screen on his Samsung mobile phone (he bought what he could afford), I sourced the screen, he did the replacement in 10 min.

    My sons now have a small sideline business at school where they do screen, battery and HD replacements for Apple mobile devices.

    So, was introducing my kids to computers at an early age a good thing or not?

    Most people would consider me pretty draconian with all the monitoring and restrictions I enforce – although I consider myself fairly liberal, at their current age I allow my kids unrestricted (not time, but content) internet access, it’s only if they choose to visit the wrong sites that they suffer the consequences.
    I take my kids hiking, we mountain bike, we’ve white water rafted, we’ve gone on international backpacking holidays, the boys have their SCUBA ticket – the girls weren’t interested. We eat dinner as a family. Once a week we have a Movie Night.

    Yet with all this, I think my kids spend way too much time on FaceBook, Chatting and gaming on line, enjoying the virtual world whilst avoiding the realities of life. I really do worry about how well my kids can remain focused, prioritise, sacrifice and above all develop committed relationships. But I’m just an old fart, the younger generation tell me that that’s just the way it is. My eldest daughter’s current love she found from an online dating service. From my perspective they’re a great match. My youngest daughter found her love at college, seems pretty old school ;-) My eldest son though, he goes through girls like they’re iPhone Apps, try them out for a couple of weeks then move on to something new :-( My youngest son hasn’t quite got into the dating scene, but I’m happy to report that he’s socially adept, doesn’t seem to have a problem striking up a conversation – whether you’re 9 or 90.

    So there you go, no answer at all. I don’t know and probably wont until mine are 30ish. But I do believe, more control, more monitoring, more involvement on my behalf wouldn’t have been a bad thing – not caring, not being involved, not setting boundaries AND enforcing them, not having heated arguments with kids about what Billy’s parents let him do, not admitting you’re occasionally wrong; that I know is tragically wrong.

    So as someone else wrote, look forward to the answer in 25 years.

    Enjoy it now, it only gets harder :-)

    Share
    1. Hey,

      I’m quite surprised nobody took a minute or two to answer your comment – which by the way I found very interesting.
      Although I am a teenager myself (I’m 17 & a half) I think you’ve all in all made the right decisions. Even if I think parental controls can be frustrating and sometimes even an incitation for the kids to bypass it and would myself need to give it some time to think before settings any of those up, it’s nice to see that not all protective parents are oblivious to the needs that growing children have.
      While everyone will agree that giving a 3yo a fully working cellphone (WHICH IS NOT WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT HERE) is completely stupid if not dangerous, I sometimes see some teens my age without a cellphone because their parents think it’s not right and wonder what the hell the latters are thinking.
      Regardless of whether they like it or not cellphones today are what Casio watches were in the 80s, you’re just not in if you don’t have one. Obviously having a mobile phone will get you out of trouble in many situations (car broke down, bus can’t pick them up, 911 EC, etc) and even for that they’re necessary past a certain age.
      So yeah I’m somewhat off-topic now but I just wanted to say that it feels nice knowing some parents can find the right pacing between “overprotective” and “find out for yourself”.

      Share
    2. I’m with you on this. Technology itself isn’t inherently bad; it’s a tool, which one needs to learn to use responsibility. It sounds like you’ve found a real balance, Wayne, and I hope Patrick can as well.

      Share
  51. I am glad that you put this out there it shows that you care about the choices you are making on behalf of your young daughter. I have been and educator for children ages 4 to 8 for almost 10 years and it is amazing to see how technology has affected a child’s Psyche. For example I am not sure if you know but the level of illiterate toddlers has doubled in the last five year and it is being strongly attributed to television. So just because you have an application that is supposed to teach your child vocabulary dose not mean she will actually learn anything. They are talking on TV all the time yet children are still illiterate at an age where they should be gaining new vocabulary everyday. I understand you justifying your choice by saying that this can teach your child something but all it really is is a toy and is this toy necessary for your child to grow up happy, well adjusted and strongly tied to her family? There is nothing in the world that can bring that into ones life but quality time. Now I am not trying to say what you do and don’t do because I really don’t know I am simply giving you my advise. As far as using this toy as a punishment or reward that also dose not justify it’s use. The fact of the matter is that we have teenagers who no longer know how to interact within adult society. They are constantly texting and on their phones. Social interaction between parents and kids has changed forever. I suppose my question to you would be is, if your child will soon be caught up in this technological world as soon as she is old enough maybe now is a good time to simply enjoy your daughter as she is with her imagination and ever growing mind and personality. By the way anyone who says that a three year old child needs any human-computer interaction skills is misleading you for profits. All a child needs is love, attention, understanding, good nutrition and friends. That is what being a child is all about. Lets (the people) stop robbing them of these sweet simple times. Thank you.

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  52. Your doing the right thing, get them engaged as early as possible to give them the leg up in the future, I was given my first computer as 4, 5, 6 something like that , a commodore 64, and I think because of it it peaked my interest in technology, and have been involved ever since.

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  53. yep, im an old fart. now thats out, qualify my remarks accordingly. he he he. lets call this iPhone what it is, an escapist device from a company that evolved to help us part from our money. its a toy, now for the children and was when it was introduced for us old farts. sorry, but these kids are developing skills that may help them revel in the techno society, but will suffer on the social and interpersonal scene. it creates isolationism, and de-volves them from the critical inter-human activities that require ‘hands-on’ contact with other warm blooded humans. ok, thats my contribution.

    Share
    1. Yes, I’m elderly. Now that’s out, qualify my remarks accordingly. Let’s call this iPhone for what it is, an escapist device from a company that evolved to help us part from our money. It’s a toy, now for the children, and was when it was introduced for us elderly. Sorry, but these kids are developing skills that may help them revel in society, but will suffer on the social and interpersonal scene. It creates isolationism, and de-volves them from the critical inter-human activities that require ‘hands-on’ contact with other warm blooded humans. Okay, that’s my contribution.

      I fixed your horrible grammar and spelling, also ‘Old fart’ is derogatory the elderly, if you are going to insult someone, insult those that deserve it.

      Now then, you say that technology destroys contact with humans and leaves people isolated. This is were you are wrong, I have had more hands on relationships with people due to technology. Thanks to social networking I have made friends with my friend’s friends. I have made large, lasting and healthy relationships with people that are hundreds of miles away. I am not isolated, I am surrounded more then ever due to technology, I have more social interaction then when I did when I had to develop them in the school-yard. I strongly disagree with you on this technology surrounds us all with friends, not killing interaction but promoting it.

      Share
  54. Hey Patrick, nice going with the iPhone.

    But make sure you keep your daughter engaged in the 3D world, she needs to learn how to build relationships with real people and how to live an ordinary life without hanging on the gadgets all the time.

    I personally have always felt that using the TV as a babysitter is a bad idea, and likewise, I think too much iPhone is also a bad idea.

    I would set fixed hours daily when she would be allowed to use the iPhone where aside from those hours, she should play with more mentally-stimulating activities like physical puzzles, lego, music and maybe even really simple sudoku.

    The idea is to spread out development to all parts of the child’s brain than to focus too much on one faculty.

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  55. This is a great posting. As a new “father” figure myself to a 12 year old and 3 year old that cant stop running around and bouncing off the walls, I can totally relate to your decision to provide a means for you and your wife to stay saine. You justify yourself by making it “educational” I see it this way, small children are going to learn regardless. Their minds are empty holes soaking up everything around them. Wether its an iPhone or a stick. They will learn something from interacting with it. So feel guilt free and enjoy your quiet time. Im jealous!

    Share
  56. [...] The Apple Blog: “I Gave My 3 Year Old an iPhone: Have I Created a Monster?” [...]

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  57. Congratulations on contributing to the further zombification of the human race. You made the key observation–’it is hard to get her to disengage from the phone and engage with us.’ Get used to it.

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  58. im glad im not the only one who experiences this, when my daughter was 2 she wanted to play with my phone. she would un-lock it and just take pictures of everything! now i have apps for her & she will sit hours with my phone, i actually debated on getting her a i touch but then thought it might be a bit to much for a 2 year old to get a touch, but after reading this i didnt even think that activating my old i phone would do… Thanks!

    Share
    1. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who experiences this, when my daughter was 2 she wanted to play with my phone. She would un-lock it, and just take pictures of everything! Now, I have apps for her and she will sit hours with my phone; I actually debated on getting her an ITouch, but then thought it might be a bit to much for a 2 year old to get an ITouch. After reading this I didn’t even think that activating my old IPhone would do. Thanks!

      Run on sentences and grammatical errors.
      I fixed your post for you, no thanks needed.

      Share
  59. Wow! I am so surprised that people think that giving kids something just because they want it is a good thing! She would probably also love candy every day for breakfast. Yes, being a Dad at your age is challenging, but also a huge responsibility you cannot just simplify for the moment.

    I would recommend you consider this: There is a huge, wonderful world out there beyond her current addiction-which it is-let’s be honest! Your daughter’s sensory activated learning centers are not being stimulated by electronics alone. Television is another drug.

    Read “Last Child in the Woods” and my book and then ask yourself if you are doing the right thing. Quick fixes are usually a huge problem down the road and possibly even irrepairable! Take it from me! I have seen these kids years later in school. Not a pretty site.

    Since this is your first child, isn’t it better that you trust people who are professionals at raising children rather than feeling appeased by a bunch of like-minded buddies that don’t have that experience or your child’s best interest and future in mind.

    The fact that other parents may find the I-Phone amusing as a new pacifier and worth duplicating concerns me and inspires me to write this reply.
    Good luck!

    Share
    1. Nice little plug there for your stupid little book. As a 16 year old who from 16 months had a Mac, I can attest that technology when I was young has helped me be ahead of todays world. I would sit in front of a computer for 3 hours a day and I would do sports. By the age of 4 i could take apart and put back together that computer. By 8 i built my first laptop. Today, I’m starting my own computer and cell phone repair business because of technology. I have sat down and had REAL meeting with REAL people and i can communicate on a level that compares with adults. I agree it shouldn’t be a substitute for real parenting, but giving your child that head start is essential for life later on.

      Share
    2. Hm, interesting point yet see your flawed, technology isn’t a ‘pacifier’ it is something that allows the more intelligent breed to exploit their talents at an early age and not become a brute force meat bag that ends up in construction, or god forbid an idiot of the media.

      Grannypants, its time to let go of your pathetic ‘morals’ and ‘old-fashion’ and develop some actual sense in the present rather then sit by your past and enforce it at the quicker learning youth that we have created. We are like super humans of the mind we are better and raising us with the weaker styles you enforce will only be a downfall to us.

      Share
  60. [...] Gave My 3 Year Old an iPhone: Have I Created a Monster? By Patrick Hunt From: TheAppleBlog.com A few months back, my wife went on a girls’ weekend trip from East Coast [...]

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  61. It’s incredible how children now a days are so intelligent and learn so quikly. I have a little sister myself that is the same way; you only have to tell her once and she has memorized what you have said.

    Share
    1. You think 20 years or 200 years before they were less intelligent?

      Share
  62. You have not created a monster, you have created a genius!

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  63. HaHaHa…..You have not created a monster, you have created a genius! How so? Do you think that America has the most intelligent minds of our age? Well we don’t! Our children have a much lower average than many developing countries. The drop out rate in schools is skyrocketing every year. My students continue to get more and more detached from human interaction. Kids think life is a video game. What a sad reality for a child.

    Share
    1. And your students deserve to drop out. If they believe that the world is a video game, then whats the point? If they are unable to decipher reality and game then is there really a reason to care?

      Share
    2. You obviously don’t understand what the power of the present has created do you?

      What video games has created is not a sad reality, no in fact these kids have potential to create war commanders, leaders of the field and strategists. You are blind, these kids are building a prominent path to military success. If teachers didn’t be so lazy they would promote this in students. Also the drop rate gives us some good, easily persuaded idiots to send in as fodder our strategists and commanders could deploy.

      Share
  64. [...] you give an iPhone to a young child? He is soliciting opinions if he is a bad dad for giving his daughter an iPhone.  Something you might want to read if you have [...]

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  65. It’s great that you are thinking about this.

    I’ve worked with young kids most of my life; and met many wonderful, educated, hard-working parents who just don’t have that much knowledge about child development. I wish that it was a required course in junior high, and high school. Oh well.

    I fully understand needing some “down time” – I have a very active daughter who’s been watching some PBS/videos since she was 2 – @ 30 minutes a day til she was five, now sometimes 45 minutes or an hour. It’s very routinized with her; late afternoon; in a special place, (now that she’s seven) one or two half-hour shows only.

    Sometimes she plays computer games with her Dad.

    But – her primary “job” these last years has been growing physically, socially/emotionally, and cognitively. For that to happen she needs @ 3 hours a day of active play (as a pre-schooler); active as in outside or dancing/running etc. inside.

    She needs primary interaction with adults/other children, her age, and other ages, etc., etc.,…and the exploration of her world; the world of people, the world of nature, the sensory world of art, music, …she needs lots of book reading. And so much time playing.

    There is so much three year olds need to learn; so much they are discovering about human interaction; about cause and effect in the physical world..

    they have LOTS of time ahead to learn to use technology. And many studies have shown NO advantage to children who learn to read letters, etc. earlier than others; they all catch up in the end; …Precocity in this area – and too much time spent; (IMHO, more than 20 – 30 minutes a day “total” screen time, which includes TV, computers, etc.) takes away from time she does other things.

    Start now. When home, you probably have routines. Pick a time, a place, and set a timer for her “screen time.” When it’s done, it’s done for the day.

    Remember that creativity, empathy, physical growth – they come from movement, from discussions, from experimenting with the wider world out there. From interacting with others.

    We don’t do our young children any favors by this emphasis on technology.

    Young childhood is such a short time in life. Please let’s let our little kids be little kids.

    Go observe good nursery/preschools for ideas for activities.

    And, I’m ten years older than you with a seven year old!!!

    jeanne marie

    Share
  66. [...] I Gave My 3 Year Old an iPhone: Have I Created a Monster? A few months back, my wife went on a girls’ weekend trip from East Coast to West, gone for a total of five days. [...] [...]

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  67. When my son was 2 years old, he used to go everywhere with his calculator. It would entertain him on long drives, and he even slept with it. He was also using the computer with the mouse by 3 years old. Now that he is twelve, he is in the advanced math program at school and is getting 98% in computers (he also does well in other subjects). With parental supervision, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with introducing children to technology at a young age, as long as it’s rounded out with other healthy activities.

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  68. I don’t think you’ve created a monster. Everyone creates himself.
    I just fear that once you get into it, you can hardly get out. Neither can your child. So you should rather let adult toys be the adults’ and give your child an additional hour to sleep or draw or read something by creating words out of hand-made letters. This will not harm her sensual skills, trust me. Didn’t harm me too and you as well.

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  69. You gave a 3 year old an iPhone? You created a monster. Give them the iphone with deactivated sim / ipod touch when they’re 11 or 12. Let them use computers when they’re 8 or 9, they’ve got the whole life to catch up..

    Share
    1. Or a great time to get ahead in life.

      Share
  70. Developmentalist notions of childhood tend to overplay the significance of stuff like this. Yes, social isolation can cause some serious issues. Yes, limited physical activity in childhood can set you up for problems later. Yes, there are consequences to anything in excess or extreme. This does not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that every hour your child spends on her iPhone is contributing to an eventuality wherein she is severely socially awkward, developmentally delayed, and of limited intelligence.

    A positive environment for a child isn’t one where she is given everything she desires. Nor is it an environment wherein she is denied things on the basis of their perceived hazard, especially when that hazard only manifests in cases of excess.

    A three-year-old should be have access to tools that she can use safely when alone. As for tools slightly out of her developmental reach (i.e. kid scissors), she should be granted access to those too, assuming she has sufficient supervision. This is how children are challenged, how they learn to adapt to situations and overcome frustration, and also how they learn their own limits. Ipods, computers, Leapfrogs, etc… these are the tools of our time. She needs to learn them… just keep an eye on it.

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  71. I think I should buy one for myself, it look so fun ,and I want to have one for a long time..

    Share
    1. Then make some money and get one, this is obvious math here.

      Share
  72. Ohmygoodness!!! My 3-year-old cousin can also use an iPhone! Probably faster than my aunt! Hahaha =D

    Share
    1. Oh my goodness!
      Spaces are good as well as using punctuation correctly.

      Share
      1. You don't need to know Monday, November 1, 2010

        Who are you to correct EVERYONE? A school teacher? At first I thought it was nice, “Hey, someone is trying to teach people grammar.” But over and over seeing coments from “Mason” being sarastic and mean…don’t you have anything better to do than correct people? How about corrrecting yourself.

        Share
  73. Now a days children are so active and talented they know how to use phone they can operate this phone it is really a very nice phone.You done very nice thing if you have lots of money to spend on phone.

    Share
  74. [...] I Gave My 3 Year Old an iPhone: Have I Created a Monster? [...]

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  75. i don`t have kids but i think it`s cool if your kid can use the iphone without throwing it or breaking it. teaches him to take care of stuff, especially expensive stuff.

    Share
  76. She’s gonna need glasses by the time her 4th birthday rolls around!

    Share
    1. How do you figure this? Do you know the genes the parents have?

      Also, something against glasses?

      Share
  77. I’d say your case is very common these days. I know of a couple who came to parenthood late also; consequently, their two young boys started wearing glasses before 3 years old each, both growing up surrounded by a house maid (the youngest one day mistakenly called her “mama”), 2 or 3 different video game platforms, and of course, the TV. By the time the oldest reached three years old, he still couldn’t kick a football… which was rather bizarre (imo). Years ago, they went on vacations abroad and for what I know the kids spent most of the time at the hotel’s kindergarden.

    One of the kids is now on boyscouts and the other plays soccer, or something. But they never cut themselves, fell off a tree, anything of the sort. You know, getting home all muddy, bloody and an ear-to-ear smile (not saying it’s “better” of “worst”, just describing what they never experienced from what I assumed was a “natural childhood”). They are introverted and socially shy (even past 10 years old). I wish them the best, but it was either an educational issue, or it’s just genetic.

    I’m far from wanting to tell you how to be a father, or what’s right or wrong when bringing up a kid. Just told you a story from across the “pond”, since you’ve asked for feedback. I don’t like telling people what to do – but I surely wouldn’t put a gadget in the hands of my young ones. I’d probably buy them a cat, dog, bird, fish or whatever!

    Cheers and godspeed.

    Share
  78. You might want to gradually withdraw the iPhone to avoid excessive dependence – and limit it to occasional use – thus leaving time for other non-screen based activities. Seeing as you asked.

    Share
  79. having read and considered all parties spouting comfort thought: here is our recklessly considered

    JUDGMENT: -

    you’re techno-smug

    proud of the technology you/we members of the human race created

    it’s not about your daughter or being a good dad

    it’s about what your cel phone already did to you:

    it turned you into an insect with an antennae.

    Now: the point you aren’t allowed to overlook when reading this, is: We are tremendously fond of insects! Do you even appreciate… the complexity of a spider?

    Ok so now (proud insect) you can go on reading.

    By Order of the above honourable Kort:

    Get into an article, any article in the Wikipedia that takes you back in history 200 to 800 years. Or to a place on this planet where celphones aren’t in use.

    It’s already TOO LATE for you to realize you could throw your celphone away for the next three months and you would be fine.

    This is our FINAL judgment. It IS the truth. You will NEVER realize this and you will DEFINITELY never do it.

    The human race is willingly ‘ascending’ to the insect vibration and if you fail to realize this: you aren’t giving insects their due.

    They live very complex lives: connected and controlled by their antennae.

    In this matter this Court is also making a further (impartial, of course) finding: This blog was started by Josh Pigford who is a friendly person. His name really is Josh Pigford, or, in the (balanced) opinion of this Court: Josh Friendly Pigford.

    Go Josh!

    You wouldn’t be called Josh Pigford if your name wasn’t Josh Pigford: with or without an iphone

    Share
    1. Spiders aren’t insects. They’re arachnids.

      The rest: TC;DR.

      Share
  80. I laughed when I saw this post…I have to say that I have a 3 year old who has been using his PopPops old 1st Gen iPhone since his 2nd birthday (when is grandpop got the 3G) and my biggest challenge is finding what to put on it for him – thanks for the suggestion of Letter Tracer – didn’t know about that one.

    We have a bunch of LeapFrog videos on it – like LetterFactory – and his preschool teachers were amazed when they started to learn letters and he knew them all by sight as well as the sounds they made.

    He knows it is his iPhone, he also knows when it is time to shut it off.

    Share
    1. I knew of little ones who went to school knowing how to read and not how letters make which sounds in a so-called children program (which is actually degrade a child’s sharp mind and memory to a level of chidishness).
      You see, it’s possible. And the teachers would be amazed as well, at least some.

      Share
  81. Hello,
    are you kidding?
    what if he sees unrated photos…

    best wishes, ;)

    Share
    1. Hello, are you kidding? What if he sees unrated photos?

      Best wishes,
      Jingle.

      No need to use the return key to often. What forms a question, and you must either use best wishes as a ‘sign-off’ or have a verb and subject.

      Share
  82. Kids would rather play with their parents, than with their parents’ phone. The whole thing is rather lonely-sounding.

    Share
  83. “Techno Smug” indeed.

    Share
  84. Give me an iphone instead of your three year old – then I can throw away this nokia brick I’ve had for years! Email me for my address to send the iphone to – I really can make better use of it than a 3 year old baby.

    Share
    1. Ha! I’m right with you. I love how commenters are talking about their “old” iPod Touches, “old” iPhones, all of those extra Mac things they have just laying around, etc. Must be nice!

      Share
    2. Why don’t you get a decent job and stop complaining about what you want. If you want something bad enough, then save your money and get it.

      Share
    3. Looks like Kyle hit the mark before I could.

      Seriously this three year old could probably use it better then you could.

      Share
  85. Hey Haciendas, whisht.

    this is my scam! Beat it. Our address is 4 Aristea Crescent, Gordonsbaai, Republic of Souf Africa, 7140. Any of these gringos who unloads their tasty hardware into real space, instead of cyberspace, is sending it straight here by DHL.

    Go find your own blog to do business on.

    Scram!

    Share
    1. Souf Africa… dumbass

      Share
    2. First off, South Africa.
      Second, This is a scam.

      There you go, I fixed your fail grammar.

      Share
  86. Not at all a bad parent. When I upgraded to the new GS I did the same by giving my old to my toddlers. “Theirs” has all their apps, audiobooks, songs, movies, tv shoes, etc needed to entertain and keep them busy both in the car, in the house and out in public. My 2 year old knows her letters both by sight and in writing; the same with my 4 year old. Not only has it proved educational it helps to keep all their music and favorite books together to playback in the car and on planes. Easy peasy :)

    Share
  87. [...] apps for a three-year-old’s education? What hath Steve Jobs wrought? You gotta admire the bravery of this guy, who came to fatherhood a little late (he claims), and struggles with the fatherliness expectations [...]

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  88. I do not believe you have created a “monster”, but I do believe it is fine and quite generous of you to give your daughter a chance to experience 21st century technology hands-on.

    Share
  89. I say that if it entertains and stimulates the mind I am all for it. Nice story.
    http://www.libertyvilledental.com
    847.367.6360
    1641 N Milwaukee Ave
    Libertyville, IL 60048

    Share
  90. Why not buy your 3 year old a car? Or a gun? Or something else she cannot handle? How stupid are you?

    Share
    1. He can without being stupid. Give the 3 year old a Miniature car that she can drive around in the back yard. As for the gun… well, you can give her a Nerf gun where she can work on hand-eye coordination

      Share
    2. If that three year old got a car or a gun, I would hope she shoot or run over you. I hate people’s prejudice against the younger. The toddler could figure it out extremely quickly. Hell when I was three I had an affinity to technology and looked up book to read, when I was in the second grade I was reading at a 7th grade level. If I had an IPhone, I would look up book and read until the wee hours of the morning and would probably skipped grades 3 at a time for my affinity for words.
      What were you doing at 3? Probably sitting around doing nothing to strengthen your natural skills. If this 3 year old is half as intelligent as the phone, then she will be more successful then you and will probably use it better then you could in what, 3 days?

      Share
  91. [...] [3] I Gave My 3 Year Old an iPhone: Have I Created a Monster? [...]

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  92. Millennium child. Expose too early and much on technolgy may sound good but just be safe.

    Share
  93. i think your a good dad but im a teenager nd it’s a thing 4 me 2 say that
    cuz my mom or dad wont even get me a new phne but yeah so i vote you as a good parent. plus your using it for educational purpposes…..well half tha time you are! :) laterzzz

    Share
    1. I think your a good dad but I’m a teenager and it’s a thing for me to say that, because my mom or dad wont even get me a new phone. I vote you as a good parent. You’re using it for educational purposes. Well half the time you are! :) Goodbye.

      I fixed your incoherent wording and lack of grammar. Please, you are only proving that texting and phones are destroying a kid’s mind, refrain from it or you just look like a foolish kid.

      It’s kids like you that are the downfall of us who listened to the teacher.

      Share
      1. You don't need to know Monday, November 1, 2010

        By the way, Mason, who is really starting to make me sick, it’s you’re, not your. So if you are going to correct people every 5 seconds maybe you should correct them well. You see, everyone makes mistakes, even you!

        Share
  94. An elementary schools teacher told me… the reasons teachers don’t like any video type electronics…everything happens immediately, quickly satisfied. When they get to school the teachers seem to be in “Slow Motion”.

    Share
    1. check. :)

      Share
    2. Maybe they should teach faster then. Internet means endless resources and is out placing teachers. We hunger for the knowledge they can’t give, I would prefer the internet to teach me rather a human.

      Share
  95. DUDE!!!! UNFAIR!!!! GIVING A 3 YEAR OLD A PHONE, THINK ABOUT POOR PEOPLE IN OTHER COUNTREIS WHO DONT HAVE A PHONE, COMPUTER, HOME, TV!!!! BY THE WAY, YES YOU HAVE CREATED A MONSTER, HE WILL NOW HAVE PHONE FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE WITCH IS UN HEALTHY!!!!

    Share
    1. creativebalorina Friday, January 22, 2010

      lol ur ridiculous.

      first off its She not He

      secondly, he didn’t have to pay for the phone, he had it (old phone)

      read carefully.

      Share
    2. Dude, learn to A) Take off CAPS LOCK and B) spell correctly.
      Now that that is out of the way. Those poor people in other countries who don’t have a phone, computer or a TV probably don’t want one. Many people have tried to introduce those technological advances within these countries and the people who live there refuse to use it. So while some people in those countries may want it, they most likely have something. Most of the people in the underdeveloped countries are there for a reason. LACK OF INNOVATION.

      Share
    3. I can’t even express the stupidity in your post. Perhaps by taking Caps Lock off and showing a shred of intelligence you might be worthy enough to actually have your view taken in consideration.

      Share
  96. lol Fin1002, first press your caps lock key again. then learn proper English.
    what do poor people have to do with iphones anyway? i hate this mentality, if someone has quality things he should feel bad ?

    Share
    1. Fin1002, first press your caps lock key again. Then learn proper English.

      What do poor people have to do with iPhones anyway? I hate this mentality, if someone has quality things he should feel bad?

      Fixed your English, it is kind of ironic how you make spelling and grammar mistakes while telling someone to learn proper English.

      Share
  97. Similar experience with an 18 month old – crazy!
    http://leep.it/cJ

    Share
  98. Just blogged about your post… I feel you’ve nailed it and I’d do the same to my daughter… after all she’s a daughter of a geek:

    http://michaelnozbe.com/friday-readership-less-conversation-more-ipho

    Share
  99. creativebalorina Friday, January 22, 2010

    Its a good idea to give that phone to your daughter. It helps her learn and educate herself with different things. The only thing I suggest is limiting the time she’s allowed to play with it. Just like you would limit the tv time. It isn’t good for her to get addicted to it or expect to have it whenever she’s good.

    Limit it to 2 hours a day or whatever you’d think appropriate.

    Share
  100. aha ,yesterday I bought a pair of shoes,nike dunk low men form a online shop,it looks very nice and with low price. The online shop’s main business is Nike shoes series ,all of them are good quality .and most of the shoes are on sale now,40% discount, and shipping is free. they supply the best service, and your order will arrive in 5-8 days.
    The website is http://www.oknikedunk.com
    perhaps you can find your faves from there . Pity I can’t post the pictures of my favorite shoes I bought.

    Share
    1. Pity nobody cares about your shoes. Nor does anybody care that you just spammed this thread.

      Share
    2. Grammar is good.
      Also, you are an idiot this is about phones not shoes.

      Phone
      Shoes
      Say it with me now.
      Good boy, now go back to school and learn something.

      Share
    3. ROFL

      Share
  101. I think that really anything in excess could become an issue for a child. Whether it be an iPhone or anything else balance is probably the most important thing. Kudos for using the phone for educational purposes and not simply mind-numbing games.

    http://giveitasecondlook.wordpress.com

    Share
  102. [...] This morning a had a shower and breakfast, I woke up very late again  because I slept late friday evening, again. Fortunaly not as late as the previous week. When I started my computer, because I wanted to make a new blog. When I logged in I saw a very weird blog, I read it and found it funny.  Link: http://theappleblog.com/2010/01/18/i-gave-my-3-year-old-an-iphone-have-i-created-a-monster/ [...]

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  103. This is great, i am only 23 years old myself, i was introduced to my first computer at the age of 12. And i am always being refrenced to being a wiz compared to the vast majority of elders that i know. These days the younger generation are being introduced to tech much much younger, its mad! We are evolving technologically wise at a staggering pace. And those days where running around in the forest and shooting each other with patched up bow and arrows will soon be a far and distant memory in history, we have animated games to do it for us now! Sad.. yes, but inevitable.

    Share
  104. Ultimately, you are parenting in 2010. Unless you want to sell everything and to move to Amish country, you aren’t going to be able to avoid technology. (Although I’m pretty sure AT&T has coverage through most of Pennsylvania, you’d have to sacrifice 3G. It’s just primitive.)

    However, good technology doesn’t replace parental interaction, and the only people I know who consider their hi-tech devices their best friends aren’t allowed to be within 100′ of my children without a court order. Be sure you don’t end up with THAT kid. Social networks don’t count as socializing.

    I let my 3-year-old play Bejeweled on my iPhone. Well, I did up until he beat my high score.

    Share
  105. You made a big boo boo.

    I work in a school and am amazed at the dumbness that certain technologies have created in kids. Writing rough drafts in text? Kids can’t write full sentences let alone spell correctly. Nobody knows where they live, street names, etc because they rely on a gadget to tell them (and their parents). I could go on, but I too fell into the technology trap and allowed my 10, 13 and 14 year old texting capabilities on their cell phones. Big mistake. If it wasn’t for our strict texting rules, their heads would be buried in it constantly. Sure it’s quiet, but human interaction would wane to depressing levels. Yeah, these gadgets are cool, but you must put limits on the young ones especially a two year old! Start now or you and your kid could be paying sorely later.

    Share
    1. Do you work in a special ed school? “Kids can’t write full sentences let alone spell correctly.” That could be the “Teachers” fault. Oh, thats right, all teachers are good teachers, they take no responsibility on somebody else’s kids. I wonder what else you keep from your kids…

      Share
    2. I am amazed that teachers can’t see the benefits texting brings.
      Obviously, you need to let go of your pathetic bias and open your eyes to a world that is beyond your barbaric and simple minded view. Teacher, I am taking over your class.
      Lesson for today, stop blaming others for you epic amounts of FAIL.

      Share
  106. you gave a 3 year old an iphone???? dont you know how much damage a phone causes to ones brain? she’ll probably develop brain cancer! why not have her learn how to read with a book instead of a screen.

    Share
    1. I’m not a scientist or something. But the “damage” you claim = isn’t that created when you actually use the phone? I mean, he stated that the phone portion of iPhone doesn’t work at all (he discarded the SIM card)..

      Anyways…

      It is a good read. And in these times I don’t think something bad is gonna come from using a device for educational purposes. As long as you supervise whatever the kid is doing :D

      As for me…well I’m 20 and my dad brought a computer to the house since I was 4 or 5. And I can say that having early interaction with technology has helped me greatly :)

      Share
    2. You know so much. I can tell from your amazing spelling. This dude probably doesn’t have a microwave because it is bad for him too.

      Share
    3. You gave a 3 year old an IPhone? Don’t you know how much damage a phone causes to ones brain? She’ll probably develop brain cancer! Why not have her learn how to read with a book instead of a screen.

      I fixed your horrible grammar for you, the guy who reads a screen and ‘Has brain cancer’ Is spelling better and has a greater grasp of grammar is correcting you. Hm, it seems that people who read from screen are smarter then those who don’t.

      Seems like this comment is filled with stupidity and laziness. Also, angelwings444 needs to be capitalized.

      Perhaps you need to re-educate yourself before making wild claims of brain damage and attempted insults of thought.

      Share
  107. My son just turned 1 recently and my iPhone is also loaded with kiddie apps just for him. Just like MichaelNozbe, my husband and I are also tech geeks.

    Where I come from, virtually all grade school kids are already using laptops as a learning tool in school. They are expected to know how to use a computer for research as well as homework. Parents here have also started to buy basic cellphones for their 9 year olds mainly to keep tabs on their whereabouts.

    i agree with ersatzivy that technology doesn’t replace parental interaction. Parents still need to police their kids’ tech usage.

    Relax folks. You can’t fight technology all the time. What we should do is to use it to our advantage and teach our children self-discipline.

    Share
  108. [...] to Comments I recently came across an interesting article on The Apple Blog. The post can be found HERE. In the post, the author writes about finding an old iPhone, loading it with videos and [...]

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  109. I totally know know what this is about. My 3-year-old has claimed my wife’s Ipod Touch as his own, and likes to take our iPhones to play games. So we began putting toddler-friendly and educational games on his iPod Touch and our phones to atleast try to make it as educational as possible for him. The best part is, he actually enjoys the toddler friendly apps. We were certain he would want nothing to do with them.

    Share
  110. I allowed my son to use the iPhone maybe once a month whenever I return home to see my kids. (I work in Singapore and my family’s in Malaysia) and each time I go home, the first thing he does isn’t to come give me a hug but to reach into my back pocket where I normally place the iphone and goes off to play his games I installed.

    Now at 7years old, he even know how to go into the App Store to find the games he wants to play. My daughter is following in his footstep too. Effectively, whenever I go back for 3 days, the phone effectively belongs to the two monsters until the very hour I leaves for the airport again.

    Created 2 monsters but as long as they are learning something out of it. I guess i’m fine. Just heard from my dad that my son now has interest in learning Robotics and programming and is taking up those lessons in school. My son even proudly told me that he will try to create a program into my iPhone to run the robot he will create at school. LOL

    Share
    1. Yeah you come home once a month, your not their father and they won’t address you as such until you become a father and partake in family life.

      You created two monsters by your inability to connect with them, you only see them for 3 days a month! There is technology to allow them to see you as a father figure even while away, its called, a webcam.

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  111. Frankly, I don’t think people should be able to use cellphones at all EXCEPT for emergency use. After having them for many years now, I’m using them less and less. I now keep mine turned off 3/4 of the time. They add isolation and distraction and raise the level of pointless noise everywhere I go. Every day I must avoid idiots driving with bluetooth headsets on. Their mouthing “sorry” for side-swiping me isn’t going to pay my hospital bill if we collide. And the previous comments about focusing a child’s attention onto a tiny device were astute. A kid’s world should be bigger, not smaller. Reliance on electronic devices stunts imagination and creativity in a child under five.

    Thank you for allowing me to talk out of my…uh hat.

    (I posted about Wales & King Arthur, and 3D movies lately.)

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    1. Cell phones have brought a great way for interconnectivity. They add a new way of communicating with your friends and family on a level that kept many apart. You think that because they have a cell phone and cut you off that its the cell phones fault. Most likely, there just stupid, with OR without the cell phone.

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    2. Due to rage I am unable to comprehend your idiocy and false reasoning, I can’t even elaborate on what Kyle said.

      I have reason to believe that you should just leave the internet forever, if you truly think that electronics are a downfall to social life then try to prove it by living with out electronics for…. 5 months and see how well you have kept in touch with you friends and family. Chances are, you will have months of catching up to do.

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  112. OMG..
    I wish to be a good father.. And I learn something from this blog

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  113. I love it! My husband had to keep our two girls last week while I was in Utah…same thing!

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  114. My wife & I have 3x small kids under 5. We’re not the best parents & we’re not the worst. Have we done this right, that too soon, not enough of this, too much of that, do we expose them to this, do we protect them from that? The questions we ask ourselves as parents countless times EVERY day.

    After reading some of the posts on here, it slays me how judgemental so many are about how others are raising their kids.

    Everyone’s situation is different. It is important, to us, that our kids are educated, have values, morals, are challenged and yet rewarded for doing things right, and understand that everyone of us are unique individuals. We may not always agree with the next person (or our brother/sister), and that is fine… we do not judge.

    iPhone or not, if it’s moderated by the parent and providing an educational value, what’s wrong with that? When it becomes anymore than that, it’s time to focus their attention on something else and/or take it away for awhile.

    Our kids have a room full of toys, mostly forgotten it would seem as they bounce from one thing to another during the course of a day. We have two Leapsters, a “ClickStart My First Computer”, the “Tag Pen” and a whole arsenal of games and books for each that we’ve probably invested upwards of $1000 on. My oldest son (almost 5) and I played the demo of the latest Need For Speed racing game on my PS3 earlier today… just like we did LAST weekend. My sister-in-law scoffs at us because we have 50-60 kid movies from Little Einsteins to the majority of the Disney classics… They carry a 3rd gen ipod around from time to time because it is loaded with their music and movies and we’ve also given them our old Sony 4MP digital camera… some of the pics and their “photo shoots” are absolutely priceless.

    On most days the biggest mess we have to clean up… Thomas the Train & the Cars toy “towns” they built together in various corners of the house, children’s books, and the paint and crayon marks on our main dining room table from their writing, drawing, coloring and being creative… together.

    Give them your best and be thankful for the moments you get to spend with your kids as they’ll soon be gone.

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  115. Based on my training and experience as an anthropologist (please take into account the social sciences are inexact) the answer to your question is: your daughter will start masturbating at a younger age, say 5, and lose her virginity at a younger age, say 12.

    This will not make her a monster!

    She’s been born into a powerful generation who will start to recover from the trips their parents laid on them at about 8 and therefore she’s likely to deal amicably, at about age 11, with the fact her father was exploiting her (to ingratiate himself with his co-posters on the apple blog) at age 3.

    Thus in roughly 2022 (again, the social sciences are not statistically obsolete) when your daughter is 15 or 16 her generation may possibly use the advanced software and mobile technology available then, to: stage a global revolution equivalent to Tiennenneman Square (an uprising made possible by the invention of the fax) that pits her generation against us!

    In this sense the answer is “yes” you are creating a monster generation who who will rise up to throw off the stale old values we’re not ashamed of because: our parents ingrained them in us (their parents ingrained them in them.)

    Sound bite version: Robert Zemeckis film Beowulf showed us the “monster” = all the emotional pain we tune out as (paraphrasing from Wordsworth) “getting and spending we lay waste the hours”. Providing such equipment to the wee ‘uns is ultimately going to give a voice to all this pain.

    With respect dude, you should not be doing this. You ain’t “thinking ahead”! Experience shows it’s better to keep the younger generations slightly more ignorant than their elders.

    The level of backchat you face ten years from now will be way more than you can cope with (given you never grew up playing with such toys.)

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    1. Based on my experience as a teenager (lots of training there) I can say that your a dumbass. If you think that the whole world is full of dumb kids. Think again. People make mistakes. The author seems like he cares about his daughter, he will teach her good values throughout life and in turn, make her into a well rounded individual.

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  116. Certainly not! And at such a young age, she is learning so much! Continue on, develop her potential, teach her to read too :)

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    1. Teach her to read too?
      My, oh, my…. How about teaching her to read, period?

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  117. Big sigh…
    I feel truly sad for the little one.

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    1. Yeah, I feel sad that she has to grow up around people who constantly attack technology. Like you perhaps.

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