7.12 What is it about kids and computers?

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Along with being an experienced educator, I am also an experienced mom, and these two functions in my life often weave themselves together to give me either an insightful “aha” moment or just lead me to ask more questions.  So here are my questions, What is it about kids and computers? Why are they so attracted?

In cleaning up blocks after a visiting three-year old departed, I noticed that one of the wooden blocks had a computer drawn on it from a childhood long ago. In complete transparency, there was also a block with a refrigerator drawn on it. My own children, now 23 through 28 years old, haven’t touched these blocks in a long time, but it was definitely their handy work. My kids falsely believe that we had computer games and the internet when they were young, we did not. We had some floppy discs with a few early education games like Reading Rabbit and maybe some  speech recognition software that made for some funny moments, but the computer was not a part  of their everyday life back then. Since they didn’t have much interaction with technology, I find it funny that they were drawing computers on their blocks, as opposed to the refrigerator which they interacted with daily.

As a professional who works in the ed tech field, I understand some of the thinking behind why young children are drawn to computers. Pushing a button on  an interactive toy or technology enabled device can give little ones that rush of independence that they receive when they manipulate something on their own. It can be a satisfying sense of control and engagement with cause and effect. Similar to pop-up books  and levers and switches, little ones are interested in exploring the sights and sounds around them, especially if they have a button to push or a flashing light. This explains the eternal attraction to the TV remote, but what sense of satisfaction was drawn from playing with a computer drawn on a block? It offered no sights, no sounds, no flashing lights, no cause and effect.  What was the attraction?

Like I said, sometimes I just have more questions.