Editor’s note: Terri Grauer is a consultant and writer specializing in the application of network technologies and is a regular contributor to Local Tech Wire.
_______________________________________________________________________________________When my daughter was two years old she was capable of loading her favorite DVD into the five-disk player and selecting it to play on ‘repeat’ as if she’d been born with the remote attached to her hand; which I assure you she was not.

My husband and I were both convinced she was a prodigy, a marvel of brilliance for the world to behold. After all, how many two year olds could operate a multi-disk DVD surround sound system with Direct-TV and remote control?

The grandparents agreed, as they should, we had a super-genius in our midst. Little did we know we were creating a two-year old monster, a remote-control monster. I can’t tell you how many times we endured the wonderful series of “Baby-Einstein” DVD’s, but I can tell you that I still hear Mozart and Beethoven in my head even when I am listening to Led Zeppelin.

It has paid off though, my daughter is smart. Almost, too smart!

Two years later she’s in preschool, she has her own ‘leap-pad computer’ and her own ‘desktop’ computer in her room at home. She speaks in full sentences and paragraphs and she loves learning. She constantly amazes her father and I by using phrases like “well actually” and “not exactly” correctly in her everyday conversations.

She and her grandfather have a continuous battle-royal on his computer over the ‘NASCAR’ game and to no ones’ surprise she wins most of the time (without Grandpa throwing the race). Yes, our girl is computer and electronic savvy.

So much so that when Grandma needs help programming the VCR she calls our daughter to help her — ok, I made that one up. Still the point is she knows how to work all the electronic gadgetry in our home innately.

It’s hard to reconcile that my little girl is so smart, so sophisticated and so technologically advanced and yet she still so normal and average. Yet it’s true.

All of her little friends are just like her. They all know how to work the VCR and DVD players and how to use the mouse on their parents’ computers.

From Womb to tech

It seems like they were ‘born knowing it’. Did the ability to use a computer seep through the womb while I was carrying her around at work? Did she hear my husband working on his computer at night while I was sleeping? Or is it just because computers and technology are like air and light, constantly around and on, from the moment she entered our lives?

She takes all this technology for granted just like I took the telephone, the refrigerator and the television for granted when I was four years old.

I’ve talked with parents who are pro-tech and others who are against technology for their children. Some days I am pro and others I am con. Yes I tend to waffle, I admit it.

I want my daughter to know about computers and have all the advantages of technology but I don’t want the technology to replace real-world fun. I want her to ride her bike, skin her knees, jump on her bed, make friends and play with the next door neighbors.

I also want her to learn to speak three or four foreign languages and adventure to other lands even before she’s ready to leave home and I think the internet is a fantastic tool for such things.

The computer world is also a place to lose touch with reality, become disconnected from feelings, numb to your surroundings and unaware of what you’re missing in the next room. So I go back and forth between thinking of technology as great and awful for my daughter; sometime on a minute by minute basis.

I guess it is like anything else in this world, taken in moderation it can be good, done to excess it can be bad.

Too Much Tech Too Early?

Well for all her techno-savvy she’s still just a four-year old child and I also have to remember that as well. Luckily she gives me great reminders like when we were going to visit my husband at his office one day for lunch.

We had to wait for the elevator to take us to his floor, while we were standing talking with one of his co-workers our daughter wanted to know if she could ‘push the button’ on the elephant. My husband and I looked at each other and then we looked at our daughter who was jumping up and down very excitedly and pointing to the button for the elevator.

She still calls it an ‘elephant button’.

I don’t think we’ll correct her anytime soon. Even techno-kids say the darndest things.
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Terri Grauer is a consultant and writer specializing in the application of network technologies to business challenges. She can be reached via email at terrigrauer@hotmail.com