Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Miffy About Children’s Book Apps?

Iconic children’s book character, Miffy, has an iPad app. The 84-year old Dutch creator Dick Bruna doesn’t sound quite as enthused as I suspect the publishers would like him to be. "I think babies and toddlers need to get used to books first, feeling the covers and turning the pages, this is part of their learning," he said. "I wouldn't want too much interactivity – something to do on every page for instance – as I think that would make it too complicated for a young child."

Although a large number of parents would agree with him on this and to a certain extent I do too, I also believe it's pointless burying our heads in the sand when it comes to new technology. According this recent survey, 19% of  kids between the ages of two and five can play with an app compared to only 9% that can tie his or her shoelaces. 

Kate Wilson, founder of the brilliant children's publisher, NosyCrow, maintains publishers have really had no choice but to engage with new technology. The alternative, according the Guardian, is irrelevance in a digital future. The demand is there and even Miffy's resigned herself to progress. 

I see Wilson's point but I do think it’s important that whatever platform you use for entertaining you kids, it’s important for the parent to play too. Show your child how to use the app. Play with them and discuss the characters and activities. For instance, in this trailer for NosyCrow's Three Little Pigs book, the kids are talking amongst themselves and commenting on their favourite bits of the book. 

Personally, I think my little girl is just too young for apps just yet. She seems quite happy with her cardboard books and the only interest she's show in my iPhone is to chew on it. This is not encouraged I might add as she's also got to the banging/flinging stage and I'm quite attached to my gadgets. I suppose chewable/unbreakable iPads are in the pipeline though?

Do you have an iPad or similar and use apps with your children?
What are your thoughts on children being tech savvy before learning other life skills?

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