Parents are very familiar with children asking questions like “How do turtles get in their shells?” and “Why do things die?” But when Judith Danovitch heard her four-year-old asking these questions, he wasn’t asking it of her or any other adult. He was talking to an iPad which would then reply by giving him the answers.
Danovitch, an associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Louisville, in a New York Times Parenting internet article (11/11/19), poses the question, “Do children trust these devices more than humans?”
Children view smartphones as toys, not info sources
“Given children’s attraction to technology,” she writes, “you might suspect that they would trust technological devices to get answers to their questions, much as adults do. However,” she responds, “recent research suggests that this may not be the case. Children seem to view computers and smartphones primarily as toys, and ignore or at least be skeptical of their value as sources of information.”
The article, Your Kids Trust Humans More Than the Internet, concludes that, “Despite their experience using technology devices, young children don’t seem to view these devices as a means of learning new things.”
The question has become one of deep concern since the internet has become so much a part of our lives to the point that it also has affected our children. Infants know how to swipe on touch screen, and toddlers find their favorite YouTube videos before they are able to read. When children depend on the internet for all of their information they don’t have the need to read and write. “Although this might sound worrisome, the good news is that when young children ask devices questions, they don’t believe everything they hear in response and they would still rather ask a human being,” Danovitch declares.
The important thing to remember is that children need to communicate with people and build heathy relationships. They feel secure and loved by their parents when they relate to them and trust them.