Toddlers and tech - reasons to share your smartphone
A lot of things change when you become a parent. The shows you watch, the restaurants you go to and the concept of sleep as you once knew it all evolve when your family structure transforms from a "me" to a "we." And increasingly, personal gadgets like smartphones are following the same trend.
"One day I looked at my phone and realized I had almost as many apps on it for my daughter as I did for myself," says Kat Holmes, principal designer for Microsoft's Windows Phone. "My smartphone had stopped being just mine." In fact, a recent study conducted by Babycenter.com shows that 75 percent of moms regularly hand over their smartphone to their kids.
We asked Kat for a few tech tips for creating balance as you share your smartphone with your kids.
- Partner with your kids to curate their mobile experience: To make mobile time fun, set aside time with your kids to choose new mobile content together, including new apps, music and videos. You'll have peace of mind knowing what your kids are looking at, while giving them a sense that there is a space that's just for them.
- Smartphones can be a simple way for kids to create and share: Smartphones aren't just about apps, they're also a way for kids to capture and share the world from their point of view. "My kids like to make little video messages for me and post them for me to find later," says Kat.
- Technology is more than entertainment, it can be educational: A recent Qualcom survey found that 74 percent of parents have downloaded a mobile app for their kids. While many apps out there are solely for fun and entertainment, there are hundreds of great educational apps that can help kids hone their skills - everything from drawing to spelling to memorizing.
- Turn that fighting into a lesson on sharing: As a mother of two, Kat has learned that sometimes one phone isn't enough, noting, "With more than one kid in the room, it's pretty common to have fights over whose turn it is. Try uploading a stopwatch or timer app to your device and encourage your kids to engage in five- to 10-minute increments, and then hand it over to the next in line."