• Wed, Sep 19 2012

Stop Judging Me For My Daughter’s Fancy Tech Toys — They’re Hand-Me-Downs

 

When my husband and I moved in together, we had a lot of duplicate stuff. From kitchen appliances to furniture, we sorted through the doubles and picked our favorite pieces, then donated or trashed the rest. And the same was true when it came to gadgets that we didn’t really need two of. My much older digital camera was pretty useless next to my husband’s much nicer and newer one. What do you do with an old digital camera? I gave it to my toddler.

Yup, my four-year-old has her own digital camera. She’s extremely protective of it and takes very good care of it. She enjoys the fact that she owns something that she knows is fragile and expensive. She likes to bring it to special events and take pictures, then we uploadthem when we got home. Sometimes I throw them in Picasa and let her play around with the editing. I really don’t feel like I’m spoiling her with this.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with me. I’ve had multiple people ask me why I would give my daughter something that she could so easily break. I’ve been asked if it’s an “appropriate” toy for her to play with. I’ve gotten a whole lot of side-eye. I always find the questions uncomfortable, because I realize that my daughter is playing with something I had to beg my parents to get as a birthday present when I was a teenager. Brenna got one before she even hit pre-school.

And it’s not just digital cameras, which will soon be obsolete anyways given the phones we’re buying these days. When I bought my laptop, I wasn’t considering a career that would leave me writing on it all day long. I have a decent computer, but it is by no means ideal for my new job working online. I bought this computer when I still went to an office every day and did data analysis. In the next year, I’ll probably replace this with a smaller, nicer machine. It’ll be a tax write-off. (Yay!) Guess who will get my current computer?

I know I’m not alone. My brother-in-law recently got a new iPad and gave his old generic tablet to his six-year-old daughter. She plays games and watches movies on it. The couple have gotten plenty of shock from people who just can’t believe that a child that young would have their own tablet computer. But once again, my niece was getting her dad’s hand-me-downs.

The tech industry updates every couple of years anymore. Adults are cycling through phones, computers and e-readers at a truly alarming rate. My mother owns a Macbook, iPad, Kindle, Blackberry and Camcorder. She’s not even a huge tech devotee. Of course last year’s models are getting passed down somewhere and it makes sense that we’re letting our kids have them at a younger and younger age. Sure some of these devices come with necessary data plans, but some of them are completely free. And some parents are so used to insane bills from AT&T that they just don’t mind the extra $30 for their child to have their own iPhone or tablet.

Tech toys have been this huge symbol of spoiled children for a while now. Remember how much fun we had making fun of kids who didn’t get iPhones for Christmas complaining on Twitter? But the honest fact is that gadgets are more prevalent, more diverse and more accessible than ever before. A child with something from the Apple store just isn’t the height of privilege that it used to be. And kids with cell phones or iPads aren’t automatically spoiled brats.

It would be really great if I could stop getting glares or insults whenever my daughter pulls her little Powershot out of her La La Loopsy purse. I realize that it looks a little odd. But I think it’s a sight that we’re all going to need to get more comfortable with. We live in a digital age. Children are going to become more adept with technology than ever before. There’s no problem with parents embracing that fact and even sharing last year’s model with their little ones.

(Photo: Serhiy Kobyakov/Shutterstock)

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  • C.J.

    I don’t see anything wrong with kids having camara’s, ipods, laptops etc. My daughters both have their own ipods. They asked Santa a couple years ago. They take care of them and they know they won’t get a new one if the break it. This year they want to ask Santa for laptops. They will probably get them. They won’t get expensive ones as they are only 7 and 10. Same rules will apply, it will be their responsibility to take care of them. I get comments from people too for letting them have expensive high tech toys. Kids don’t “need” a camara or an ipad or a computer I am told. Of coarse they don’t need them, that doesn’t it is wrong to let them have it. My kids don’t get hand-me-down electronics because other than my laptop I’m not that interested in electronics. Neither is my husband, though he does have an ipod. I have to buy them new ones. I don’t buy them stuff all the time. They have their own bank accounts and have to save up for extras. At their birthdays and Christmas they can ask for a big thing and if it isn’t unreasonable they get it. People think I spoil my kids because they get a lot for Christmas too. I don’t judge parents that buy their kids little things more often so why should they care if I choose to let mine have expensive things for their birthdays and give them a lot at Christmas. Kids today are growing up in a different world than we did. It will only benefit them to learn to use technology at a young age when their little minds are like sponges.

    • SmartMom

      I think buying a 7 and a 10 year old EACH their own laptop is over the top. Get a grip, step back, and really look at your decision. Why not get a super cool touchscreen desktop with a giant monitor for them to share, or one laptop or tablet, like a Kindle Fire or a Nook for $199? I’m pretty sure as parents we’re supposed to be teaching our children those basics like sharing, conservation, financial responsibility, and just being thankful for and happy with what you have.

    • copycait

      I know this article is old, but as a teacher, I can’t tell you what a bad idea it is to let children have laptops they can take to their own rooms and use privately. Even great kids stumble into problems with cyber bullying, trolls, abusers, and pornography. Even when they try not to. Get them a desktop computer that stays in a public place so you can monitor everything that happens online.

  • Lori B.

    Because one day the kids will be on the cutting edge and the parents will be getting the hand-me-downs! I always used to give my mom my old cell phones when I got a new “and improved one!”

    • http://crankyashley.com Crankyashley

      I do the same thing with my cell phones. I’m the techy in the family so I update a lot more often than they do. I give my mom my old cell which she gives to my brother or sisters when I upgrade again. It just keeps going down the line. Cameras too. When I switched to a DSLR I gave my mom my point and shoot which she eventually gave my brother. I got my brother a new one for his birthday and he’ll give the old one to our baby sister. There’s no sense in tossing them away.

  • Tinyfaeri

    The people giving you a hard time sound a little weird to me. We bought our oldest niece her first camera when she was about 3, a fischer price digital camera. I used to let my nieces and nephew (the youngest at the time was 2) play with my camera all the time, they just had to put the strap over their head to minimize the chances of it getting dropped. They weren’t that great about getting people’s heads in the shot (though my nephew has always had an excellent eye for patterns), but they LOVED playing with it and were always very, very careful with it. As long as the tech is appropriate, I’m not sure why anyone would even have an opinion even if it were new.
    Oh, the cameras my baby girl will inherit when she’s a bit older, and oh, the new cameras it will give me the excuse to buy – I don’t care how good camera phones get, I will always love cameras. Good for you for giving your daughter something that is fragile and delicate and expensive – it sounds like she’s very proud of it and is taking very good care of it which is a great lesson for her to learn.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Actually, I had a 110 camera when I was 4 or 5 (hey, it was 1985) and because of that I have albums of pictures I took when I was little that I’m still very glad I have, including the ones out the plane window on the way to Disney that everyone said wouldn’t come out.

  • Rachael

    Honestly, it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. It teaches kids about responsibility and they’ll need to be comfortable with technology as they grow older.

  • kathleen

    Whoever writes the titles for these articles needs to stop using the National-Enquirer section of her brain. We are not stupid, and we will read articles whose titles are not inflammatory. “Stop Judging Me for (X)!” “I Won’t STFU About My Daughter!” “I Am the Shittiest Parent on Earth and I Pay Other People to parent My Child!”

    Stop. Just stop. Yellow journalism tactics remind me of yellow snow.

  • Eileen

    I have friends who bought an iPhone for their one-year-old son. A new iPhone, mind you, because apparently anything less wouldn’t fool him.

    Barring that, though, I don’t think it’s a huge deal, and kids should absolutely be comfortable with technology – as long as their time is monitored. (For example, my eight-year-old cousin loves Angry Birds, but he gets ten or fifteen minutes on the egg timer to use his dad’s phone to play it.)

  • jsterling93

    We will be the same way. My husband is a tech person all the way. His job is to be on top of all the new tech so we get new toys all the time and end up with old items that are really just 2 yrs old and have no place. When our child gets here they will probably end up with the hand me downs.

  • Act1nup

    My husband and I totally do the same thing for our son. We always feel like when we are around strangers or acquaintances we have to preface the gadgets are hand-me-dopwns. I am so glad to have come across this article. We are not alone. :)

  • SmartMom

    There’s another option for your hand-me-downs. Sell them, and buy your kid an appropriate toy. Buy apps or find websites on your own tablet/laptop/smartphone and let your child use them *sometimes*, Yes, children need to and will (no matter what – tech is everywhere) learn to use technology, but that doesn’t mean we need to give them, especially very little ones, their own very expensive and fragile electronics. Lets use some reason here!