I am so amazed when I see little kids whizzing through technology, as if they are born with the know-how to swipe and tap.
We got our first family computer when I was 10. It was an IBM and it had floppy discs that were (I think) 6 inch squares. My dad was really stern about not putting fingers in the center hole. The computer was for his work, not for our play. I had some friends who had an Apple computer and they played all sorts of games at home. Everything changed when my parents bought two games for our giant computer: Where in the World is Carmen Santiago? and Jeopardy. There were rules around when we could use the computer, of course, and when I was allowed, it was awesome.
How quickly everything has changed. My three year old can navigate the iPad with aplomb. Like my house growing up, there are rules for when he and my 7 year old can use technology, and for how long. My 14 month old gets zero screen time. My 7 year old has favorite games (Hay Day and DragonVale are two of them) and though she's always eager to check on them and make progress, we have decided that she can't do so every day. That said, I do want her to have a better understanding of technology in general so I checked out the Code Academy (code.org) and she recently completed her first hour of coding. I have to admit - it was an absolute thrill to see her begin to understand that each action of the games she plays were thought out and made possible by an uber talented person who developed the game in the first place. It's like learning that french fries come from potatoes; every part of our interactions with computers originates somewhere. She said "I never knew that words and sentences with numbers like this were what made games work!" I'm looking forward to more activities at code.org with my kiddos. It's a whole new way to explore and play with technology.
If you haven't yet checked out code.org, I highly recommend it.