The Touch

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And the Arcee RC Twins, a. We prefer when these movies wallow in paranoid government conspiracy theories. It may also be the most visually striking of all of Michael Bay's movies. It's wonderful, but not quite excessive enough. And, yes, it's delightful.

The Touch – Spaces Designed for The Senses - Norm

Hailee Steinfeld is a miracle for the way she's able to conjure up all those emotions acting against a CGI robot. To cap it all off, you've got the traitorous Leonard Nimoy-bot attempting to usher in the apocalypse from Trump Tower in Chicago -- in , no other "Transformers" movie feels that correct.

View In Gallery. Show Comments. Norman Rockwell never painted Boy Swiping Finger on Screen , and our own vision of a perfect childhood has never adjusted to accommodate that now-common tableau. Add to that our modern fear that every parenting decision may have lasting consequences—that every minute of enrichment lost or mindless entertainment indulged will add up to some permanent handicap in the future—and you have deep guilt and confusion.

To date, no body of research has definitively proved that the iPad will make your preschooler smarter or teach her to speak Chinese, or alternatively that it will rust her neural circuitry—the device has been out for only three years, not much more than the time it takes some academics to find funding and gather research subjects.

I n , the education and technology writer Marc Prensky popularized the term digital natives to describe the first generations of children growing up fluent in the language of computers, video games, and other technologies. The rest of us are digital immigrants , struggling to understand. This term took on a whole new significance in April , when the iPad was released.

Plus, parents tended to be more possessive of their phones, hiding them in pockets or purses. The iPad was big and bright, and a case could be made that it belonged to the family. Previously, young children had to be shown by their parents how to use a mouse or a remote, and the connection between what they were doing with their hand and what was happening on the screen took some time to grasp.

But with the iPad, the connection is obvious, even to toddlers.

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Touch technology follows the same logic as shaking a rattle or knocking down a pile of blocks: the child swipes, and something immediately happens. Their hands are a natural extension of their thoughts. I have two older children who fit the early idea of a digital native—they learned how to use a mouse or a keyboard with some help from their parents and were well into school before they felt comfortable with a device in their lap.

Now, of course, at ages 9 and 12, they can create a Web site in the time it takes me to slice an onion.


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My youngest child is a whole different story. He was not yet 2 when the iPad was released. As soon as he got his hands on it, he located the Talking Baby Hippo app that one of my older children had downloaded.

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The little purple hippo repeats whatever you say in his own squeaky voice, and responds to other cues. Gideon poked Baby Hippo; Baby Hippo laughed. Over and over, it was funny every time. Pretty soon he discovered other apps. At first he would get frustrated trying to zoom between screens, or not knowing what to do when a message popped up. But after about two weeks, he figured all that out. I must admit, it was eerie to see a child still in diapers so competent and intent, as if he were forecasting his own adulthood. Technically I was the owner of the iPad, but in some ontological way it felt much more his than mine.

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Without seeming to think much about it or resolve how they felt, parents began giving their devices over to their children to mollify, pacify, or otherwise entertain them. The market immediately picked up on the pass-back effect, and the opportunities it presented. In , when Apple opened up its App Store, the games started arriving at the rate of dozens a day, thousands a year. As these delights and diversions for young children have proliferated, the pass-back has become more uncomfortable, even unsustainable, for many parents:.

Most parents can sympathize with the disturbing sight of a toddler, who five minutes earlier had been jumping off the couch, now subdued and staring at a screen, seemingly hypnotized. Ever since viewing screens entered the home, many observers have worried that they put our brains into a stupor.

An early strain of research claimed that when we watch television, our brains mostly exhibit slow alpha waves—indicating a low level of arousal, similar to when we are daydreaming. Because interactive media are so new, most of the existing research looks at children and television. In the s, Anderson put the zombie theory to the test, by subjecting roughly children to a form of TV hell. He showed a group of children ages 2 to 5 a scrambled version of Sesame Street : he pieced together scenes in random order, and had the characters speak backwards or in Greek.

Then he spliced the doctored segments with unedited ones and noted how well the kids paid attention. The children looked away much more frequently during the scrambled parts of the show, and some complained that the TV was broken. Anderson later repeated the experiment with babies ages 6 months to 24 months, using Teletubbies. Once again he had the characters speak backwards and chopped the action sequences into a nonsensical order—showing, say, one of the Teletubbies catching a ball and then, after that, another one throwing it.

The 6- and month-olds seemed unable to tell the difference, but by 18 months the babies started looking away, and by 24 months they were turned off by programming that did not make sense. But they started to see TV watching in shades of gray.


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  • If a child never interacts with adults and always watches TV, well, that is a problem. But if a child is watching TV instead of, say, playing with toys, then that is a tougher comparison, because TV, in the right circumstances, has something to offer. H ow do small children actually experience electronic media, and what does that experience do to their development?

    A perfect example of a well-engineered show is Nick Jr.

    The Touch (Stan Bush song)

    Each episode features Steve or Joe, in later seasons and Blue, a cartoon puppy, solving a mystery. Steve talks slowly and simply; he repeats words and then writes them down in his handy-dandy notebook. There are almost no cuts or unexplained gaps in time. Small children feel much more engaged and invested when they think they have a role to play, when they believe they are actually helping Steve and Blue piece together the clues.

    For toddlers, however, the situation seems slightly different. In one series of studies, conducted by Georgene Troseth, a developmental psychologist at Vanderbilt University, children watched on a live video monitor as a person in the next room hid a stuffed dog. Others watched the exact same scene unfold directly, through a window between the rooms. The children were then unleashed into the room to find the toy. Almost all the kids who viewed the hiding through the window found the toy, but the ones who watched on the monitor had a much harder time.


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    • A natural assumption is that toddlers are not yet cognitively equipped to handle symbolic representation. I remember my older son, when he was 3, asking me if he could go into the TV and pet Blue. But there is another way to interpret this particular phase of development. In the real world, fresh grass smells and popcorn tumbles and grown-ups smile at you or say something back when you ask them a question.

      On TV, nothing like that happens. A few years after the original puppy-hiding experiment, in , Troseth reran it, only she changed a few things. She turned the puppy into a stuffed Piglet from the Winnie the Pooh stories. More important, she made the video demonstration explicitly interactive. Toddlers and their parents came into a room where they could see a person—the researcher—on a monitor.

      The researcher was in the room where Piglet would be hidden, and could in turn see the children on a monitor. Before hiding Piglet, the researcher effectively engaged the children in a form of media training. She asked them questions about their siblings, pets, and toys. She played Simon Says with them and invited them to sing popular songs with her. She told them to look for a sticker under a chair in their room.

      She gave them the distinct impression that she—this person on the screen—could interact with them, and that what she had to say was relevant to the world they lived in. Then the researcher told the children she was going to hide the toy and, after she did so, came back on the screen to instruct them where to find it.

      That exchange was enough to nearly erase the video deficit. The majority of the toddlers who participated in the live video demonstration found the toy. The pause could trick children into thinking that Steve was responsive to them. But the holy grail would be creating a scenario in which the guy on the screen did actually respond—in which the toddler did something and the character reliably jumped or laughed or started to dance or talk back.

      That kind of contingent interaction I do something, you respond is what captivates a toddler and can be a significant source of learning for even very young children—learning that researchers hope the children can carry into the real world. Gideon is one of their research subjects.

      This study is designed to test whether a child is more likely to learn when the information he hears comes from a beloved and trusted source. The researchers put the iPad on a kitchen chair; Gideon immediately notices it, turns it on, and looks for his favorite app.