Toddler vs smart devices

Hi, Dan Tindal here, one of TSG’s Telecoms Specialists. I’m writing this after my 15-month-old (Nate) wanted to hear ‘Baby Shark’ on the Google speaker again…

It made me think about how toddlers instinctively interact and communicate with the various smart technologies in our homes; in this instance, smart speakers.

Picking technology up at a young age

We are largely a Google/Android household with multiple Google devices around the home; several Google speakers, Android-driven TVs and mobiles to name a few, all linked in a smart entertainment setup – somewhat to my wife’s exhaustion of my love of all things ‘techy/gadgety’!

At 15 months old, Nate clearly has a solid understanding of what the devices do, especially the Google speakers. He knows that when he sits in his highchair, we ask Google to put the radio on – so as soon as he sits down, he’s pointing at the speaker and making hand motions for ‘Baby Shark’ or doing a little dance (of course, if his food is already out, then nothing else matters)!

If you move the speaker from its normal location, Nate will scan the room to find it and does the same. If you ask him “where is Google?” he walks around to find it, confidently pointing and smiling when he sees it.

He loves to interact with technology, as all toddlers do. The Google speakers are his favourite, as they light up and make noise. I’m keen to encourage this as his joy and excitement when you put any of the Google speakers on the floor is pure, and he has already learnt how to physically pause, play and change the volume once a song is playing.

I’m amazed at how he does it with control and not just ‘whacking it’ until something happens, like you’d expect a toddler to do. He has not quite found his voice just yet to speak commands (luckily), although there is a concern of just what he may ask it to do once he learns and how many times ‘Baby Shark’ could be on repeat!

Our future generation and technology

We’re currently in the age of the smart device as we find ourselves heavily relying on technology day-to-day, with a focus on how technology can enhance and simplify our busy lives. Seeing children already picking this up is fantastic.

In my role, I spend my working day discussing how technology can aid and streamline our customers’ business processes and working environments, focusing on simplifying communication and collaboration through technology and saving time and expense on travel.

Seeing Nate already comfortably interacting and operating technology (to a degree) gives me great confidence in how the children of today will advance as technology does, communicating with smart devices and each other in what I believe is likely to become a voice-controlled living/working environment in the not-so-distant future.

However, there is a piece of me that knows I must ensure Nate has a limit on just how much interaction with technology he has at such a young age, ensuring his development in all areas is equal and not just forcing my love of all thing techy and gadgety onto him.

Personally, I played hockey for a lot of years. The team interaction and bond has helped to shape and build my confidence to interact with others; something I wonder how the children of today will develop. Will it be in a much more anonymous and hidden way via online gaming, as we are indeed shifting how we all interact daily towards instant chat and email?

With so many options already available that allow you to interact and communicate via technology, the challenge is how do you select the best-fit solution for your need?

Stripping back the shiny and the new, what is your core fundamental need for communication and collaboration, both internally and externally? Answering this in a business context will help to guide you to your base requirement. From this, if you wish to discuss how you can fulfil those business requirements, TSG can happily help. You can get in touch with us using our short contact form.

To finish, I’d be interested to hear how your children have developed with technology and anything you would recommend I introduce to Nate…or try to keep him away from?