‘Dad, the Magazine’s Broken’

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 I recently read an article about a 1-year old who didn’t quite understand why a print magazine didn’t behave the same way an iPad does.

Here’s the Culture Clip we ran on the subject earlier this week:

How do children growing up surrounded by digital technology respond to old-school, analog media, such as a magazine? Or, as poynter.org contributor Jeff Sonderman put it, “What does it mean to be a digital native?” Sonderman answers that question by linking to a YouTube video titled “A Magazine Is an iPad That Doesn’t Work.” In the video, a toddler struggles to understand why a magazine doesn’t respond like Apple’s tablet computer does when she tries to interact with it. “For my 1-year-old daughter,” the video’s creator comments onscreen, “a magazine is an iPad that does not work. It will remain so for her whole life. Steve Jobs has coded a part of her OS.” 

I totally get that! My own 8-month-old girl likes to point at the numerous App icons on our iPad 2 and watch what happens once one’s been touched. Cute little animal apps are a hit. But for us the real fun is sliding a printed piece of media in front of her. She tries to make it move, but it doesn’t do anything. It doesn’t jump or slide or make a funny sound. So she must figure something’s wrong with it.

Sometimes I wonder what she’ll be doing her homework on when she’s older. “Did you finish your assignments?” I’ll ask. “Yeah, Dad, it’s all on the microchip that’s in my brain and I’ve already uploaded them to the main school’s cloud server.” Yup, it’s an iWorld we live in. And it can’t help but change the way we’re wired. I’ve seen it firsthand.

Who wrote this?

Graphic Designer for PLUGGEDIN.COM. Cutting his design teeth at Scripture Press/Cook Communications, Kevin brings years of ministry and freelance experience to Plugged In's visual presentation. He also analyzes video games for our reviews and contributes an occasional blog.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Vance:

I think the "digital native" video was a cleveryly-edited hoax. The child was not "using" the iPad—just grabbing/swiping at the colorful pictures. And during the magazine shots, the child actually turns pages. (Seems like a pretty good understanding of print to me.)

While the clutching motion on the magazine pictures could be an expectation for the images to behave like apps, it could also just be the normal child's curiosity on something that looks photoreal. My youngest daughter has never seen an iPad in her life, but if she sees a realistic picture of a fuzzy-looking chick, she'll do that same grabbing motion, not because she expects to be able to fling it at a stack of grumpy pigs, but because it looks... well, fuzzy.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Emily:

I honestly think that's sad- the days when kids would be completely content with making their own toys and fun seem to be long gone. I spent hours as a kid making clothes for my barbies out of leaves and yucca fibers. Kids now have video games, ipods, and computers to fill their days. I didn't have any of that stuff when I was a kid, and I didn't really miss it. I actually read REAL books and not a computer screen. What happened to simplicity in our culture and lives?