Psychologist Jean Piaget may have passed away before the advent of cell phones and the Internet, but his theories can provide guidance on when 21st century kids should get a hold of technological gadgets.
A New York Times article describes how parents can use Piaget’s developmental stages to guide them on technology appropriate for their kids:
- Age 0-2: Babies and toddlers should be focused on real experiences instead of mediated ones.
- Age 3-5: With kids starting to act out what they see in the real world, they can explore grown-up technologies adapted specifically for their age, such as child versions of digital cameras and computer games.
- Age 6-11: Kids still have trouble with abstract ideas so they should have a real balance between real experiences and mediated ones. They need to be steered toward appropriate media by parents because there are a lot of websites and video games that they have the skill level for, but not the maturity to distinguish that the content does not represent reality.
- Age 12 and up: Kids are able to juggle information from more than one media simultaneously, and communication with peers is key. Cell phones, laptops and Mp3 players are age-appropriate at this stage.