For the next generation, the future is written, and it's on Facebook

by Liam Britten | Research

Here at Techvibes, we’ve given plenty of coverage to a study indicating that 37 per cent of Canadian toddlers, and 92 per cent of American ones, had a digital presence by the time they turned three.

The Calgary Herald spoke to a few Alberta mothers about what they thought of the study, and why they are letting their children have iPods before they hit kindergarten.

Mom Jenny Hansen, 27, though herself a digital native, still struggles with the idea of her son being the master of his own mobile device. She tries to limit his use of the iPod to under an hour a day — she still prefers he read books and use his imagination — but at the same time Hansen doesn't want him to fall behind his peers.

"I feel like it's the way things are going. By the time he's in school kids will probably all have laptops," says Hansen, owner of Absolute Exposure Photography.

"I feel like maybe he'll have an advantage when it comes to technologies."

Hansen draws the line at an iPod though. Bryce doesn't have his own Facebook page like a second cousin in Toronto, who isn't yet one year old. Instead, she shares Bryce's and his baby sister's pictures and milestones with friends and extended family through her own Facebook page.

But a U of C professor takes a more philosophical view about what parents are doing, particularly when they create digital histories online for their children that the young ones will inherit:

University of Calgary professor Maria Bakardjieva, whose research has focused on new media, calls the iPod the new pencil — a necessary tool children will carry into the future — but wonders if a three-year-old should be given one to "lose in the sandbox."

Of more interest to her are children with digital histories created by their parents without their consent, including the eight per cent with their own social network profiles.

"It is, to my mind, a big problem that these children have not chosen — not only whether to be there — but how to be there. What to put on. What to share," says Bakardjieva. They end up inheriting a profile, which can be handy, but could cause problems if kids take issue with its contents.

You can get the full story here.

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Liam Britten

Liam Britten

Liam Britten is a writer and editor with a journalism background operating out of Vancouver. In addition to his work at Techvibes, he has been published in student publications across Canada, as well as local newspapers such as The MapleRidge-Pitt Meadows TIMES and The Langley Advance. An aficionado for the finer things in life — such as video games and sports — Liam is plugged into the tech... more

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