Raise your hands if you think that we should take away ALL (and I mean all) the technology from our daily lives. I don’t see any. Don’t worry I actually can’t see you, we are not there yet but I didn’t think you would raise your hand. In all seriousness though I didn’t have my hands raised either. I am pro-technology but what I strongly believe is the human factor in technology. Last 20 years has seen unprecedented growth in tech. At 3.6B the number of internet users has surpassed half the world’s population. Let me ask you this - What is the most powerful tool in your vicinity? Here is a hint - Over 40% of the adults living in this country check it within 5 mins of their waking up and again look at it at least 50 times during the day. That’s right, it’s your phone. Children 8 years old and younger spend an hour each day on their digital devices. Yet we haven’t harnessed the digital medium when it comes to creating a valuable connection between parents and children.
Thus was born PopSmartKids. Before I had PopSmartKids I had 2 boys. Raising two kids, being responsible for two human beings made me realize how important and powerful that phrase is - the human factor in technology. It brought all of that into focus - of not letting technology own your life but you owning it instead. This is important because our kids are growing up researching on google and submitting projects on google docs. They will be exchanging ideas, building companies and creating masterpieces using technology. It is crucial that as parents we embrace the presence of technology in our children’s lives and go beyond that and teach the best practices. If not us, then who? PopSmartKids was forged out of this necessity to participate in our child’s creative endeavors leveraging the digital medium. My audacious goal is to build an offering of apps that will target specific aptitudes in the growth spectrum of a child’s development, but like any child PopSmartKids has to learn to walk first. So starting with one app that you will be able to run on your phone or tablet.
With the first app, one thing I can promise you is that it is going to be a collaborative experience for parents - for when you are away or in the other room making dinner. It will allow you as parents to have an immersive experience in the creative pursuits of your kids and inspire them. This is built with the younger kids in mind. There are two explanations to this. First, kids this age respond and need the adulation of their parents the most. The greatest thing that motivates them is the fact that their parents have seen or witnessed their work. If you have an elementary schooler, how many times does he run to you in a day asking you to acknowledge the amazing drawing he made or the lego he built? You know what I am talking about. I am keying in on the two acts of love - words of affirmation and quality time. Second, this is also the age when kids are beginning to use the digital devices without their parents monitoring them and it is crucial to bring in the mentoring aspect of handling it. Think stop, drop, roll. Where have you heard it? Caution against fire, right? I think of the digital devices as fire, it is dangerous but we never reverted back to eating raw food because fire burns houses. With internet and digital medium we have discovered new fire. So instead of banning it I want to turn it around and evangelize screen time so that it is more than just entertainment. it is a channel of development for young minds. It does not need to be a black hole that our kids get sucked into.
While PopSmartKids is taking shape watch this space for more details.