"Mom, can I play Angry Birds?" Josie asked as she took off her shoes at our front door.
"Can you what?" I asked in complete shock while I accidentally dumped the sand from Owen's shoes onto the carpet.
"Play Angry Birds," she repeated with the tone of a tech-savy teenager. "It's a game on the phone. But like a really big phone,” she said as she held up her hands to approximate the size of an iPad.
"First of all, we don't have an iPad. And second of all, I don't like the name of that game," I said.
"It's fun. Can we get an iPad?" Josie asked. "Maybe 2. One for me and one for Owen.”
'And so it begins,' I thought. I was hoping to avoid conversations like this until my children were old enough to have chores and homework. Then I could stall by saying things like, "have you done all your chores?" and "did you finish your homework?"
"We don't have in iPad because we don't need an iPad. And neither you, nor your brother nor mommy is careful enough with things to have an iPad. Maybe when we're older," I said with a wink. Fortunately, she moved on...for now.
It's impossible to live in an area like Mountain View and not appreciate technology and all the cool gadgets that make life easier and more fun. I want my children to know everything about technology so they can excel in school and in the real world– but does that mean I should buy a $500 handheld device and let them play games with Angry Birds?
Last year, I read an article in PC WORLD that called iPad the “Children's Toy of the Year." At the time, I thought it was ridiculous - How would a child even know what to do with an iPad? But, less than one year later, my 4 year-old daughter would probably sell her little brother on eBay to get one.
I know there are plenty of educational games and tools on the iPad that help with cognitive development and hand-eye coordination. Likewise, I am sure there are plenty of reasons why it's bad for a child to sit with eyes glued to a handheld device. So I remain undecided on the issue – for now still confident and a little relieved that the price is too much for us.
Eventually, maybe even tomorrow, Josie will go on a play date and jump at the chance to use her friend's iPad. Deep down, I'm happy - maybe even a little jealous - that she gets to use one. When mom's away, Angry Birds will play. And maybe, just maybe, in between bird attacks, my daughter will learn something worthwhile about technology.