Here’s a post from Martin Lindstrom for Fast Company, in which he suggests that today’s babies are born ready to operate Apple’s hardware:
“As part of an experiment for my forthcoming book Brandwashed, I lined up 20 babies between the ages of 14 and 20 months. I then handed each one a BlackBerry. No sooner had their soft chubby fists reached out to take the phone from me than they touched the screen expecting it to light up. When nothing happened, a few stuck it in their mouths whilst others moved on to something more interesting.
These babies, all under two years old, have already been converted to the Apple brand.
It does not stop with phones. If you place a toddler in front of a TV screen, chances are they will run their little fingers over the screen expecting the channel to change. Some are even more advanced, moving their fingers in such a way as to expand the screen to explore the finer details.
A whole new generation is being primed in their most formative years to think Apple. It’s fascinating the way these new technology rituals have entered our lives. And they are replacing old rituals.”
It’s an interesting observation, but not indicative of an innate pre-disposition towards using Apple’s products. Around the age of 18 months, a child’s understanding of the cause-and-effect relationship is maturing. They begin to combine simple actions to cause things to happen or change the way they interact with objects and people in order to see how it changes the outcome.
The behaviors Lindstrom describes are typical of a normally-developing baby in that age range. Those kids would have reacted the same way if presented with a Mickey Mouse doll, a clipboard or a watermelon rind. The fact that Jr. dragged is fingers across a BlackBerry’s screen is less compelling than Lindstrom would have you believe. [1. How do I know? I’ve got a M.Ed. in Intensive Special Needs and spent 8 years teaching children with Autism in a residential school.]