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This same topic came up on HN 3 years ago, and I took some shit for saying that I thought 2-year-olds shouldn't be playing with iPads[1] without having any kids of my own.

Fast-forward to now, I have a 2-year-old and an 8-month-old, and with the benefit of experience all I can say is Yep, I was right as hell. Tiny children generally shouldn't use iPads, nor should they watch TV.

I wouldn't support a law like this, but at the same time it is astounding how often I see toddlers plopped down in front of an iPad or TV set for hours, as if the mere fact that it makes them easier to deal with means it's an appropriate thing to do.

Giving 2-year-olds a quarter of a Valium will do that, too; doesn't mean we should.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3693886


You never explain why you're denying your kids an iPad. Is it because you think you won't be able to stop them using it 24/7? Is it because you don't think there are good apps for kids?

You might want to try. There's something pretty cool about watching your 2 year old doing addition on a screen so that he can make his cartoon fish eat each other.

Moderation is not really an issue. You're bigger than them, and you have shelves they can't reach. Getting too attached to the iPad gets it taken away. You're the adult so you get to win. Most of the day, you'll find my kids out in the yard digging up the flowers and trying to injure one another. But there's good stuff to be had on an iPad these days. It's not something you want to toss out because you're scared.


Yeah, good point. It annoys me any time this topic comes up (which is fairly often in my life, since I recently had kids) that I don't have a better set of references to back me up.

It was decades ago that I studied journalism in college, and I can't find links to a lot of what I learned, including the deleterious influence of television on human development (especially children).

Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends[1], "Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2." We have pediatric doctors like Dr. Dimitri Christakis doing interesting research to help demonstrate the harms[2].

But I don't have much time to really follow it these days (aforementioned young kids and all...). At the same time, when I hear "show me the evidence! there's no proof TV is harmful to 2-year olds!" it really bugs me. (Not implying that's what you are saying, it's jut something I hear a lot.)

It's like one of those "there's no proof dogs have emotions!" things. It's obvious when you watch little kids with TV and heavy and mostly-unrestricted iPad/Nintendo. It's obvious that is not how you should do it (very much). I can't prove it, but I am certainly going to act on that conclusion with my own kids.

So, to answer your question, the reason I deny my 2-year-old TV and unsupervised iPad use is because I have observed it in him, and observed it in his peers, and it's just my best judgement that it is better off waiting until later.

Example 1: One morning I came downstairs and he was watching TV. He had turned it on by himself; it was an unusual morning in that my wife and I both slept in. He was just sitting there, in a kind of stupor, staring motionless at the TV with a kind of slack jawed empty expression (like my own, probably, when I drink beer and watch True Detective after everybody is in bed). I walked in and he didn't even respond. (The show was roughly the Japanese equivalent of Sesame Street.) I cleared my throat. No response. I grabbed the remote, and jokingly pointed it him from behind (the joke was for my wife, who had just walked in also). With the click! of the TV going off, my son immediately stood up, looked around, and busied himself with his Brio train set (which is what he usually did in the morning at that age (right around 2)). It appeared as if I had used the remote to turn him on.

Example 2: We experimented with letting him have limited access to Mom's iPhone, especially she started nursing our second child. For the usual reason -- it made him a lot easier to deal with while Mom did an unrelated but important task. He did these little 'educational' games where you build a train track and then the trains run on it, and you have to build around obstacles, etc. But we soon noticed that when we would take the iPhone back, he would have a very violent negative reaction -- really unlike him, we felt. All kids have tantrums and taking away a toy is always a risk of creating a situation, but we both felt that his behavior seemed unhealthy in some way; to exaggerate a little, it seemed like he was addicted to the little game. In that same vein, when we let him do it for as long as he liked, he would keep doing it over and over until he worked himself into a similar state. E.g., after an hour of doing it he would get so frustrated by the train track building not going well that he would have a similar tantrum of screaming and being very upset. He had this same kind of frustration with the real laws of the physical world, too -- like the wooden block too big for the hole he was trying to fit it in -- but those moments seemed much more short-lived than the iPhone-related ones. (And it wasn't just games -- interacting with the OS itself (dragging apps around, opening things to see what they did) seemed fascinating to him, but also seemed like a laser-pointer-and-kitten thing where he would get too worked up and couldn't stop himself.)

Example 3: My friends who disagree with me about this and let their 3-year olds watch TV hours every day have more annoying and obnoxious kids than those who don't. ;-) Bad impulse control, lower ability to accept and move on when things don't go their way, etc.

Also, I should clarify that we don't blanket ban TV and iPad. It's not an absolute, just a general rule.

With iPad especially, there's a whole lot of potential good stuff there, too. We let him use the iPad when we are supervising, or just sitting with him if he is in one of the painting or music apps. He's pretty awesome at Garage Band, and incredible using EasyBeats. He does a lot of painting in Paper and apps like that. And although he is not allowed to, he is a small and clever homo sapiens and therefore predictably manages to sneak a substantial amount of screen time, whenever somebody leaves an table or phone around with an easily-guessed password.

With TV, we watch NHK news around him -- he doesn't tune in to it. We had to stop watching the news channels with commercials though; as soon as one would come on, you could see him stop building his Duplo block tower and swivel his head to focus on the TV.

I do let him sit down and watch UFC fights with me, though -- that is the hypocrisy that proves the earnestness of my intentions.

[1]: https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-ini...

[2]: http://www.medicaldaily.com/interview-dr-dimitri-christakis-...


> But we soon noticed that when we would take the iPhone back, he would have a very violent negative reaction

Have you noticed this same reaction elsewhere? It sounds a lot like the one that happens when it's time to stop playing run-around-the-house-with-the-cowbell and get ready for bed. It's sort of a normal 2 year old reaction to the super-fun thing stopping. Sometimes I think his worst childhood memory will be that time he had to get off the tractor.

I wouldn't let it color your opinion of any particular toy. Lego would certainly be next on the list!


Of course all little kids get upset sometimes. What I am saying is that we felt a qualitative/fundamental difference in those kinds of negative reactions, and the frequency of that kind of reaction, when the iPhone/iPad was involved as compared to say, blocks or legos or Brio trains.

We have never seen our own very young child (or his playmates) have the degree of adverse reaction to stopping legos as they do with electronics. And we have never seen them work themselves into the same kind of a fit playing with blocks -- that usually just kind of peters out when they get bored, and they don't end up stacking and stacking and stacking and stacking blocks until they are half-hysterical.

I think for a five-year-old, the iPad might well be the same as any other toy in that way. But I don't think so in the case of two-year-olds (at least, not with the dozens of two-year-olds I know).


My toddler grew up using an iPad. He is also outdoors playing most of the day (for 5 or 6 hours). Usually he plays with the iPad for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening, as well as 30 minutes of Netflix.

He also spends time drawing, singing, painting, or reading stories. I don't feel like there is anything wrong with this. The iPad is just another activity.


Yup couldn't agree more. For young children iPads, TV etc destroys development of imagination and concentration, and by extension creativity, resourcefulness etc. Plus the ability to actually cope with being bored is a vital life skill.

I've a colleague who said "I was raised by television". Growing up, I didn't have TV until 9th grade, so I couldn't understand. Then I watched kids of my friends and family - one of the easiest ways to make them quiet (so the parents can get their work done) is to put them in front of a TV.

It is sad but true


Does that mean you have tried giving your kids an iPad and found that it has detrimental effect? Or how else has having kids given you more insights into the issue?

Nobody sane would experiment on their kids that way so I assume it's a rhetorical question. iPads and TVs are results of lazy parenting, especially at early ages. Kids should develop playing with parents, siblings, friends and on their own. At a later stage, banning is probably bad but I believe exposure to electronics and their content should be controlled by parents.

When you start to have kids, you notice your social circle is full of other parents (on the one hand your friends are around the same age so they're having kids and on the other hand you tend to be with people having kids - usually the same age). You can clearly see the differences in kids getting (uncontrolled) exposure to electronics at various ages and their reaction to being deprived of them etc. So you certainly develop some awareness and some idea about their effects.


I certainly agree that it also depends on the children. However, let's not forget that the original post is about 0-to-2-year-olds. I've a 4 year old and we control his exposure to TV and tablets. I'm against banning it for many reasons but controlling the amount of exposure and the content seems important.

> Kids should develop playing with parents, siblings, friends and on their own.

I don't see how these statement is opposed to kids using iPads.


There is also a point where kids are exhausted from playing or from too much human interaction. Many HN users are probably introverts, they might understand.

When my kid watches certain TV shows or uses certain apps, he can be extremely focused and extremely happy. I myself also have some fond memories of my favorite TV shows as a kid. There are some TV shows that explain things very well.

Of course we do not let him use these things indefinitely, and he doesn't even watch normal TV where you could do mindless "zapping" between channels.

Maybe if studies find children who are allowed to do worth computers whatever they want for an unlimited time, they also find parents who generally don't care at all. So that might be the root issue, and excessive iPad use might just be a symptom.


Yes, basically I do mean that. It's not exactly that I gave him an iPad as an experiment, but the times he somehow got an iPad I 'experimented' with not taking it away.

Eventually, I felt like I should take it away, though. (And I did.) The reasons basically boiled down -- as much of being a parent does -- to gut feeling. The way he played with most iPad apps didn't seem healthy. He plays with blocks, builds a tower, it falls down... sometimes he is upset about that, sometimes he laughs. But his experiments with blocks and trains somehow lacked this obsessive quality.

I mentioned it in my reply to jasonkester elsewhere in this thread, but I felt like he was a kitten and the iPad was a laser pointer. He couldn't/wouldn't stop himself from using it, even when it was obvious that it had passed the point of being fun and became this frustrating, negative experience.

At such a young age, under two, the brain really is working on the basics. Weight. Gravity. Hard. Soft. Big. Small. Etc.

As he has grown, some of the things he can do with the iPad are getting pretty neat (painting, music, etc) and he does get a little bit of (supervised) iPad time now.

It's hard to say at this stage, but I wouldn't be surprised if we let him do iPad for an hour a day (or an hour or two every few days) by the time he is say, four. It depends on what we see him doing with it, and how observing that makes us feel as parents.

I'm just speaking from my experience here, because I am not an expert on brain development and things like that. But I do really think there is a qualitative difference between e.g., physical wooden blocks and blocks on a screen. In general, younger than two just seems self-evidently too young.


You're right, good question. Just the mere having of kids doesn't make you an expert.

But in this case, the beauty (or ugly) is not that OP can now say this without backing it up; it's that when you don't have kids, the roles are reversed. You don't have children? You don't know what you're talking about. You do? Now suddenly we want proof and all that jazz.

He put his money where his mouth was, good on him. If he wasn't entitled to an opinion for not having kids at first, then, now that he has them, I say let the man have his hour.


I don't exactly understand your argument, to be honest. Surely the majority of people who care about that kind of rules are parents anyway?

If parents would agree that kids shouldn't have iPads, then no legislation would be necessary?

So ultimately it is parents opinion vs parents opinion...

He is completely entitled to his opinion, of course. I just don't see how merely having kids gives you any insights on the impact of iPads on kids, unless you give them an iPad.


> So ultimately it is parents opinion vs parents opinion...

I'd argue that, while parents controlling their young kids' exposure to electronics are doing it deliberately, some (most?) of the parents giving their young kids access to electronics simply can't be bothered to have an opinion.


> ...that it makes them easier to deal with mean it's an appropriate thing to do.

Declaring something inappropriate is just a way of saying you don't like it.


Sorta interesting article, but I wish it gave more details on the outcomes.

Obviously, as a society we should demand that police officers uphold extremely high standards of conduct, given their power and position, and this certainly includes being called a fucking stupid asshole pig (or whatever) without responding violently/illegally.

It's not a crime to insult a cop, and if pepper spray and handcuffs are used in absence of a crime, there should be negative consequences for the police officer and his department.

More info an the Greene case: http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/310/...


No, it still fares very poorly when matched up against ST3 (or Textmate 2, or basically any high-quality native editor). It is slow slow slow, and has lots of little quirks which are clearly a result of the wacky way they decided to build a text editor.

BUT.... it is way, way better than it used to be. I keep it installed and use it from time to time, to let it update itself and see how it has grown.

It clearly has momentum, and computers clearly are getting faster... probably one day the slowness of it won't matter. But it still matters today -- Atom is noticeably slow on the fastest Mac notebook you can currently buy.


Sorry be that guy who posts his specs and disagrees... :-)

Running on a stock mid-2011 Air w/ 4GB Ram plus a Thunderbolt display. If it was slow, I would have switched or upgraded my machine sometime ago.

Things that are slow to me are waiting for node-sass to compile on save, server-side code reloading, npm installing... and so on.


It highly depends on your usage pattern.

I usually have one long-lived instance of an editor for the project/thing I'm focusing on, but I also frequently fire up "temporary" instances for one-off editing jobs, from the terminal.

The difference between, let's say, "subl ." (launch Sublime Text in the current directory) and "atom ." is staggering: Sublime Text starts instantly with a boatload of plugins; Atom starts nearly instantaneously but then takes around 5 seconds to become usable, without plugins, after repeated runs.

(Speaking of specs, I'm on a late 2013 Retina MacBook Pro, 16 GB of RAM)


Yup, that is totally where it is slow. Would be great if they could nail that.

I must be more tolerable to that startup time, perhaps I've even become used to it.


I never close my text editor (ST2 that is). Why would I do that? So I guess Atom is not for me then?

I think the key to this story is that Dropbox has been a good product for individuals, but Dropbox for Business has been and remains absolutely terrible.

We trialled it for several months at work, and it failed in all sorts of ways. Not enough admin control, confusing to add employees, and -- worst of all -- sync failures where some employees sharing the same set of folders would just randomly not sync a bunch of the files.

This led to things like Alice telling Bob to look in the shared folder for a file, Bob telling Alice it wasn't there, Alice telling Bob yes it was, Bob telling Alice no really it isn't, Alice coming over to Bob's PC to see that hey it really isn't there, and then finally just emailing the file to Bob.

I myself got to deal with their business support a few times, regarding a bug that corrupts some PDF documents shared via Dropbox if they contain Japanese text. The "within 12 hours" response the website promised never happened -- it took days/weeks. They don't have any mechanism for me, as the customer, to follow or get updates pertaining to our support ticket for this issue (and it was kind of a show-stopper, since I work for a Japanese company). Finally, the fact that they have this type of a bug at all -- can't display international text? what decade is this? -- and that it goes un-fixed for 8+ months, didn't give us confidence in Dropbox.

If our experience is typical, I don't think Dropbox is going to do nearly as well in the business space as they've done in the consumer market.


> a bug that corrupts some PDF documents shared via Dropbox if they contain Japanese text

That's really disturbing. Is Dropbox not just moving bytes around? Why are "PDF" or "Japanese" even relevant?


Sorry, I should have been more clear -- that sounds worse than it is (although it is still bad). The original file data in the Dropbox is not corrupted; it is only the PDF presented in the web browser (to the user with whom you shared the data) that is corrupted.

What happens is, when you share a PDF file via link, instead of presenting the actual PDF file in the browser (which would work fine) Dropbox instead presents its own PDF viewer inside the web browser and shows the file.

This "PDF view" has problems with many PDF documents containing Japanese text, and either doesn't render the Japanese, or renders bogus data instead.

Depending on the contents of the document, this can result in it looking like gibberish, but it can also result in a document that looks correct to the recipient but is actually totally wrong.

For instance, one real-world case was a document with a long list of work items for a project. The items happened to be in English, and in Japanese many of them said 'CANCELED' (中止)in the right-hand column.

The Dropbox PDF viewer failed to render only the Japanese in the right hand column, so to the recipient it looked like e.g. a list of 100 work items, when in fact the point of the document was to communicate that 60 of the 100 items had been cancelled.

In this case, there was no hint at all to the recipient that there was anything amiss.

It's a bad bug, and dramatically reduced the utility of Dropbox for our company. But, to be clear, the original data stored in Dropbox was not corrupted.


I agree totally. I almost fell over laughing recently when I saw a new headline about Dropbox and business customers.

It might have changed, but the one thing that summed up how useless it is for business is that you can't effectively run it on a server.


Socialism doesn't mean what you think it means.

No, as opposed to most political candidates who have historically been taken seriously as candidates for the presidency.

Obama was (and is) an outlier.


It's worth noting that Obama himself was not originally planning to run in 2008 due to lack of experience in public office. Tom Daschle is responsible for pushing him to run precisely because he had no track record on hot topic issues that weakened the competition.

Yeah, I totally agree that is worth noting -- I think until Obama beat Clinton in some of the early contests, the conventional wisdom from virtually everybody (who follows politics) was that it was just too early for him to go for the big prize.

But I am curious whether that will hold -- whether candidates like Obama will remain outliers -- or whether that kind of thing will become the new normal.

Our political system is somewhat sick; having any record is a political liability. That is why our politicians almost all speak in tongues incomprehensible to any normal human being.

But the people favoring the established/experienced candidates are mainly the ones engaged and participating in the system which (perhaps insanely) doesn't include 98% of voters.

So I wouldn't be that surprised if candidates with very limited experience in government become more common.


I too find it mind-boggling that men choose to shave their faces with mass-market manual razors.

However, the conventional wisdom -- and my own experience -- is that even a typical drug store manual razor, if it is fairly new, will give you a closer shave than any electric razor. It's just a function of having a thin metal foil between the blade and your skin, or not having one. And a poorly-made electric razor will give a much worse shave than a blade.

I still shave with an electric razor, though. The hassle of dealing with a manual razor massively outweighs the tiny fraction of a millimeter closer shave a manual razor gives me, especially since by lunchtime the difference is already unnoticeable.


That is what was once announced, but (a couple years) after that Mozilla announcement, control was indeed transferred to a new group of people who now govern the project and do indeed work on new features as well.

There are more details on the website, e.g.: https://blog.mozilla.org/thunderbird/2014/11/thunderbird-reo...

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You're sort of right, but laptops with dumb screens that are incapable of understanding touch events also don't make sense in 2015.

Even if it only gets used one in a while, every laptop (and desktop) should be able to let you scroll and tap buttons and UI elements with your finger in a pinch.

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Software here is more expensive than hardware. Apple wouldn't do it unless they can provide a good experience for it, and they really don't know how to do that yet. It isn't just a few gestures, but the whole guerrilla arm thing, which is why you don't see touch being used often on PC laptops that don't have flat tablet configurations.

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I totally used to agree with that, but it only took one hour with a touchscreen windows PC to make my MacBooks all feel broken.

I still mainly use my MacBook Pro, because overall, Windows just doesn't cut it for what I need to do. And I personally don't really need touch that often -- but every single time I do (on the phone, holding a baby, jerking off with right hand, whatever), it is maddening that it doesn't work.

Even if limited to just basic scrolling and tapping, basic touch screen support is still way better than nothing. I think you are right about why Apple doesn't do it yet, but I think Apple is utterly wrong not to do it for that reason.

It's a classic case of making the perfect the enemy of the good.

Truly awesome touch (and stylus!) support would be great; no touch support at all just feels incorrect.

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Apple is going to talk down about it right up until the day that they do a 180 and finally catch up or surpass Microsoft in this arena.

The nay-saying Apple apologists around here just can't wrap their heads around the fact that Apple are masters of bullshitting people into thinking that they know best, even when they leave out obvious features like a second mouse button. I remember back in the 90's, Apple lovers would actually argue that a single mouse button was somehow better because you had to "think about it less". What a crock of fucking shit! :)

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And they don't even talk down on them. These days, Apple's silence on the issue is taken implicitly as a dis, when in reality they could be working on it right now, having yet to find something that lives up to their rep.

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Can't upvote your comment enough. A lot of Americans have this (utterly incorrect) idea that emergency room care is free and equal for everybody. That's only (somewhat) true when it comes to preventing you from dying right now in this hospital.

As a college student, I was studying abroad and came back on vacation. A buddy crashed our car and I went face-first through the window. I went to the nearby Alta Bates hospital in Berkeley. Maybe it was the privileged white vibe I exuded, but I was immediately attended to by three different nurses, who cleaned up the wounds and told me all about the stitches I was going to get, and how Dr. So-and-so (forget the name) was so good and he would be with me soon. Meanwhile, after stopping the bleeding, they asked me to fill out some paperwork.

After I filled it out (listing "None" as my insurer) I never saw Dr. So-and-so or even any of the nurses again. I got five packaged alcohol wet-napkins and was sent on my way. I have a bunch of permanent scar tissue inside my mouth as a result.

Still, in my case, I thought the experience was worth it to me personally as a learning experience.

But I am old enough now to know lots of people in the USA who have gone up against cancer. Some with good insurance, some with typical insurance, and some with none. The people with no insurance didn't get anywhere near the level of care that the others did.

If you are unlucky enough to contract a serious and dangerous disease, following am6110's advice above will probably increase your chances of suffering and dying prematurely, or even avoidably.

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