Saturday, December 18, 2010

Technology Native

I expect to have to negotiate with my husband over who gets to use the laptop. We both have business to take care of, guilty pleasures to feed, and online shopping to complete.

I really didn't think I would have to share screen time with Violet at the tender age of 2 and a half. Her love affair with the Mac started at the hands of my mom who introduced her to YouTube videos of kitties and trains. "Kitty Moobie!" is still one of the most common phrases heard pre-tantrum around here, but Violet's repertoire of computer activities is growing.

After she navigated away from the kitten movies I had pulled up on YouTube and found herself--no kidding--viewing a Dr. Dre video, I asked her if she'd like to look at Sprout Online. Her response: "Spwout Onwine Dot Com?"

It has taken her about 4 tries to learn how to play all of the games on the Sprout website. She is dangerous with a mouse and way more dexterous than I gave her credit for. She will play Barney coloring games for 30 minutes at a time.

I can't decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. It's like the discussion Shawn and I had in Target as we fretted over whether or not to buy her the claymation Rudolph movie. She saw it on TV and loved it, but we were torn. A big part of what we both remember about the Rudolph movie was that the night it aired became a red-letter day on our calendars. We remember the music, the commercials, the splendor of it all. It was special because it was only available to watch once a year. Would buying the Rudolph movie for Violet cheapen it or lessen her enjoyment of it?

We came to the conclusion that Violet is not going to consume media the way Shawn and I did. Her budding computer literacy is an example of that. She lives in a world of On Demand Calliou and a never-ending stream of kitten movies. We grew up watching television specials once a year (with commercials!) and having posters of kittens (or, in Shawn's case, race cars). There is no way we can make Violet's childhood the same as ours, nor should we.

So we bought the whole damn Christmas Treasury including Rudolph, Frosty, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

But I'm not going to let her watch them after New Year's Day or before Thanksgiving.

There have to be some rules, after all.