Recently, many young adults in Generation Z have started discussing the actual effects that constant technology and social media usage have on young people, and why they refuse to have “iPad babies.”
An iPad baby is basically a child who, instead of getting to play with physical toys, go outside, or socialize with other people their age, is essentially plopped down in front of an iPad to keep from bugging their parents.
So many parents see absolutely no issue with this. An article from HuffPost shows “funny tweets'' from parents talking about their children’s screen time. Some of these tweets include:
You don't let your kids have screen time? That's cool. Tell me some other ways you enjoy punishing yourself.— The Real American Dadass (@R_A_Dadass) February 10, 2017
What does it mean that every time I ask my daughter what the best part of her day was, she says “screen time”?— Rachel Simmons (@RachelJSimmons) May 18, 2016
I don’t think these tweets are funny at all. In fact, I think this is just embarrassing, and bad parenting. And many people from Generation Z agree.
While it’s been discussed before among young people who experienced first hand the negative effects of having access to technology at such a young age, recent TikToks have sparked the conversation up once again.
A TikTok made by Talon (@talonbuzzbee), has gained a lot of attention since first being posted Jan. 24.
In the TikTok, Talon acts out a typical interaction with an “iPad baby” at a restaurant when ordering dinner. Talon plays on the fact that the kids themselves are insanely annoying, while the parents of said child are painfully oblivious, while also showing how uncomfortable it is for anyone else to interact with the child or even the parent.
Another Tik Tok made by Helen (@h.elengrace) simply stated, “can all of gen z agree that we will not be buying ipads for our children,” and had many other users agreeing in the comment section.
Aside from iPad babies just being intolerable and annoying, iPads can actually have a large impact on a child’s mental well being, according to psychologist and parenting columnist Kim Knull, from CBC, which backs up a lot of Generation Z’s claims.
While some could argue that because the majority of Generation Z, and young people in general are not parents themselves and therefore cannot deem something “good” or “bad” parenting, I actually think Generation Z is the perfect group to consult on something like this.
Generation Z is the first generation that grew up with all of this new technology being an integral part of day to day life. Because of this, we understand the ways that it can negatively affect so many aspects of life.
Speaking from personal experience, I got an iPod around the time when I was 10. While I personally view that age as too young to have access to that kind of technology, a study done by Common Sense Media in 2013 showed that about 38% of children under the age of 2 regularly use iPads or tablets before they can even speak. And I’m sure that percentage is only getting higher.
Nevertheless, when I was 10 and had an iPod, I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I had essentially unlimited access to the internet and could do whatever I want. This however led to less than fortunate things. Like any kid, I immediately did everything I was told not to do. I got on websites I shouldn’t have been on and downloaded apps I shouldn’t have downloaded. One of these apps included ‘Kik.’
If you’re unfamiliar with ‘Kik,’ it’s basically an instant messaging app. Which seems harmless at first, until you take into account that the app is crawling with older men looking to groom children.
Without going into detail, this happened to me as a kid, and I had no idea what was going on. All I knew is that it was bad, and that I was absolutely not going to tell my parents.
And I think that is exactly why Generation Z is a prime group to really listen to about this issue. We might not have our own kids to parent, but we know what’s out there, and it’s worrying to see so many parents just exposing their children to it.
We not only know what your children are being exposed to, but we also know how easy it is to hide things on technology. And when you give them technology basically from the time they’re born, they just get better and better at hiding things. And that is why the majority of Generation Z does not agree with giving your kids iPads at such young ages.
I don’t believe that parents of iPad babies are intentionally trying to mess their children up, or just condition them to be utterly annoying. I just think that parents who give their children iPads don’t truly understand the effect that it can have on them. I think once parents and older generations can listen to what the younger generations have to say and can explain, there will be a lot fewer parents just plopping their children in front of screens.