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The real digital natives: iPads are child’s play

A tech-geek father proudly films his "User-interface experiment"

A tech-geek father proudly films his "user-interface experiment"

These kids are just as impressive as the technology they are using.

With some rare time to kill a few days ago, I wondered into the Bentall Centre, Kingston’s vast modern cathedral of consumerism.  One of the more futuristic side chapels of this grand business basilica is the Apple Store, and it was here that I found myself in rapture of an iPad.

After 10 minutes on a slightly overused sample version, I was awoken from my trance by a toddler who had waddled over and reached out for one of the other test versions.  I expected a parent to come rushing over to emancipate the fragile slate of technology from his snotty fingers, before he started chewing or dribbling on it, but this child, barely able to walk or talk, began to amaze me with his dexterity.  Holding the tablet with a determined stare, he began to inquisitively tap and then expertly navigate the touch screen interface.

This story speaks volumes for the user-interface of Apple’s burgeoning technology; such an intuitive system must have taken years of development.  But it also reinforces the theory of digital natives; this generation of toddlers will grow up with such a strong expectation of intuitive interactivity that traditional media will seem more than just a little archaic.

After a quick search, it turns out this child is not alone in his ability.  This blog claims that iPads make the perfect gift for toddlers (“Young children think with their fingers. If they see something, they jab at it”), but my strangest discovery was on Youtube.

Welcome to the peculiar world of tech-geek dads filming their children using iPads.

One video has the caption “Maybe the first kid in the UK using it”.  What a proud day, “Quick get the camera! James is using his first iPad!”

Another enthusiastic dad presents his  toddler as some kind of guinea pig: “A fascinating UI experiment.”

Another father brags: “Both my kids are smart for their age”.

Here are just a few…

UPDATE:

Part 2 of the real digital natives available here.  Nine year old Korean reviews an ipod touch!

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