Computer Tricks From a 1 Year Old: Smarter than the Smart Phone

Posted on Sep 15, 2011 in Computer Fun

Abigail says, “Wait, your phone is locked.  That’s supposed to stop me?  My generation was practically born Smart Phone in hand.”

My wife and I and two couple-friends all had daughters born within about 6 weeks of each other.  Emma is the oldest, Abigail (pictured and quoted above) is next, and Rachel is the youngest.  All three girls are now over a year old have become the basis for this series.  Abigail’s dad, random guest blogger Mike Morgan, is in the same field that I am (technology) and Rachel’s dad is a Video Guru / Baptist Preacher (yep), so our girls have all had various bits of technology in their faces from the time they were born.  There was a certain expectation that our girls would all be very comfortable around technology at an early age, but I have to admit, I find it a little scary how comfortable they are already.

Smart Phones (for most people that means iPhone or Droid) are becoming one of the most widely and consistently used pieces of technology in our everyday lives.  Last weekend I came to the realization that Smart Phones were almost surely designed with the idea that children below reading age would have access to them and need to be able to use them.  The three girls mentioned above have been around iPhones and iPods almost exclusively, so that’s going to be my example.

Designed for a Toddler
Everything about the iPhone screams instinct driven.  If you look a an iPhone that has a blank screen the first thing you see if the large button beneath the screen just begging to be pressed.  Kids love buttons, any button that they see must be pressed.  Their natural inclination is to press the button and when the screen lights up the iPhone reels them in a little closer.

Next their eyes are drawn to something flashing on the bottom of the screen.  Words that they can’t read say, “slide to unlock”.  They can’t read it, but the animated light sliding from left to right gives them something to try.  Their little brains tell their little fingers to follow the light on the screen and that light just happens to be traveling in the right direction to unlock the phone; wonder of wonders.

Do you have a Micky Mouse app on your phone?  Admit it, you have Apps on your phone just for your kids.  It’s okay, we all do it.  Anyway, kids can spot the Mickey Mouse symbol from three miles away through a dense fog, and amazingly enough, the icons for programs on your iPhone are little pictures.  What do kids do when they see Mickey?  They point and touch, now the program is open and the tiny tot didn’t have to read a thing.

All that leads me to Abigail, who surely could have gone through all the steps above to get what she wanted while playing with my iPhone.  Instead, she thought she would show off her iPhone skills and go with a shortcut.  I probably knew this was possible before hand (I’m going to stick to probably) but I was definitely surprised to see Abigail hit the button on my iPhone twice.  Not three times, not four times, as if she were just playing with it, she hit it just twice.  This brought up the iPod controls that you can access without unlocking your phone.  She then proceeded to start the music playing, she decided she didn’t like the song that was on, so she hit the arrow to go to the next song until she found one she was satisfied with.   You might say, “She got lucky, she didn’t really know what she was doing.”  To which I will reply, “Nuh-uh.”  She is friends with my daughter and the two of them and their younger cohort are just devious enough to learn these things without us knowing about it.

I stand amazed and I learned something else from a 1 Year Old.

Dennis Edmondson Jr
Computing Concepts LLC

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