The iChild

We all know about Generations X and Y (the Millennials) and now, I present to you generation i. Generation iEverything to be more precise. My daughter is our latest [and greatest] member of this generation. What makes her a member of the i generation? Quite simply put — the fact that she is not yet 18 months old and has figured out how to use our old iPhones and the iPad.

There is simply no tricking this kid. She can’t be confined to one 2-minute episode of “Elmo” (Sesame Street). As it finishes, she simply clicks “Back” and scrolls — that’s right, scrolls — down until she finds one she likes. She selects it on YouTube, presses play and happily sits back entertained by the little multicolored creatures as they sing.

I haven’t quite figured out if I should be terrified or pleased. On the one hand, that’s pretty great that she can set up her own entertainment. On the other hand, however, what does this teach her? That technology is everywhere, that she can have information on demand and patience and rewards or special things are overrated. I gather than parenting is altogether more difficult even though we have everything available for parents and children all the time.

I am reminded of a conversation I had with our pediatrician awhile back — probably Sophia’s 14th month appointment. We were talking about her diet and what she can and cannot eat. Our doctor is a strong proponent of trying everything with the exception of shellfish. Even nuts before 2 are back en vogue. I asked him about chocolate and he looked at me a little taken back and said: “Yes, she can have chocolate but as an extremely rare, special occasion treat”. I wonder if he would say the same thing if I asked him if she can have a hand-me-down iPhone?

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