iToy

Toddlers don’t want Barney and Elmo. They want your iPhone



Five-year-old Fritz Veltman is the proud owner of dad Ruard’s hand-me-down iPhone.

Chris Edwards

It sounds gross. A giant bug gets squashed on the screen and a disgusting sound comes out. “The girls think it’s hilarious,” says Jordan Cigler of her two-year-old twins, who are addicted to Bug Squash, one of the top iPad apps for new moms, according to Time.com. Cigler says Ramona and Clara still love playing dress-up, but it’s their father’s iPad that really makes their eyes light up. “It’s really engaging for them and it’s so easy,” says Cigler. “That’s what’s so mind blowing.”

The new toy du jour, it seems, is no longer a Barney DVD or dancing Elmo doll, but rather Mom and Dad’s iPad or iPhone. And Apple is capitalizing on the phenomenon by creating dozens of educational games for toddlers that parents can download on various devices. There’s Baby Flash Cards, for example, which teaches a child how to read and spell, and Pocket Zoo, which streams live video of animals at zoos around the world. “Fritz was probably two, when he started playing with my iPhone,” says Ruard Veltman, a Charlotte architect, of his son, who is now five and the proud owner of his dad’s hand-me-down. Nikki Alvarez grudgingly admits that she and her husband use his iPhone as a way to placate their three-year-old daughter, Luci. “For us it’s a matter of convenience. I do it so she’ll behave in a restaurant or on an airplane,” says Alvarez.

But some critics say that, similar to too much TV time, excessive playing on iPhones can affect a child’s social development. Dr. Patrice Petroff, chair/director of teacher education at Queens University, worries it could translate into stunted social skills. Not that iPhone use is necessarily a bad thing: “I think kids are interested in exploring, and that’s great,” she says. But Petroff adds this caveat: use of iPhones and the like are helpful in a child’s educational development “after [age] three, when they’re developmentally ready to engage in that process.”

Cigler says she’s careful to limit the twins’ iPad use, making sure there are more tea parties and mega blocks than bug squashing. “We don’t let them use it that often. If they had their choice, they would be on it all the time.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Charlottean of the Year 2014 (Volunteer): Rick McDermott

He gets up earlier than most other people. He goes to bed later than most other people. And in the hours in between, he spends his life giving to other people

Charlottean of the Year 2014 (Philanthropy): Six Charities Worth Your Dollar

This is a generous city. A recent study in the Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked the Charlotte metro area ninth among large American cities for the percentage of income its residents give to charity. But how do you know where to give? Start here. These groups provide healthy food, mentoring, after-school tutoring, and help paying the bills

Charlottean of the Year 2014 (Public Service): Anne Tompkins

She prosecuted the mayor. She investigated Saddam Hussein’s regime. She can be stern. But for Anne Tompkins, bringing justice brings her joy

Charlottean of the Year 2014 (Sports): BB&T Ballpark

We invite your responses and discussion. Please refrain from personal attacks, profanity, commercial promotion, or non sequiturs.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Newsletters

Stay up-to-date on all things Charlotte by signing up for our newsletters. Learn more by clicking here.

Newsletter Sign Up
Email*
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Blogs »

Edit ModuleShow Tags


Charlotte at Home

Creating Your Space in the Queen City

Fine Rugs at Couture Knots

The showroom on Cleveland Avenue focuses on service and personalization

Comments


Revue

Andy Smith on Charlotte Arts & Culture

Symphony Donates Instruments to Charlotte Schools (Plus: This Weekend in Charlotte)

Comments


Dine & Dish

News, Notes, and Gossip About the Charlotte Restaurant Scene

Christmas Eve Dinners

Several area restaurants are offering epic Christmas Eve meals - set to fill your belly without emptying your wallet before Santa arrives

Comments


Poking the Hornet's Nest

Greg Lacour on Politics

Another Lucrative Payout

It's easy to benefit from an ethically questionable deal when so many citizens cheer it.

Comments


On Tap

Matt McKenzie on Craft Beer in Charlotte

Holiday Parties at Pint Central, Flying Saucer, Salud Beer Shop and more

Your local craft beer guide to upcoming events

Comments

Edit ModuleShow Tags