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No postings last month as I’ve been completing the final section of my PhD thesis. Now, happily, I’m editing so life is a bit back to normal, and I’m hoping to submit next month. I also managed to go to Italy; the thesis came with me and I was able to do a bit of editing, but somehow sun, food, wine and Italy do not fit in with thesis editing …

With me for part of my time in Italy were 6 year old Stanley and 4 year old Woody. The subject of my PhD is children’s engagement with digital technology and it was ironic to be reminded of just how intuitive even young children are when it comes to using digital media. Woody, 4, asked if he could play a game on my iPhone, and I absentmindedly said of course. A few minutes later he was back complaining that the game he wanted was not on the phone. ‘But don’t worry’, he said, ‘I’ll go onto the Apps Store and get it’. Still somewhat vague (I was swimming at the time), I said that was fine. Out of the pool, Woody handed me the phone, ‘can you put your password in’ he said, which I obediently did, and a few minutes later he was happily playing ‘Sonic Hedgehog’ level 2, which when challenged I found quite difficult to complete. Later that day I received an email receipt from the Apple Store for £3.49, thanking me for my custom and for purchasing Sonic the Hedgehog.

Woody had managed to purchase this from the ‘App Store’ on my iPhone completely unaided, and yet he does not yet read. In fact he was a bit worried about reading. Due to start school for the first time last week he had asked whether he had to read when he started school. ‘Not on your first day’, his 6 year old brother Stanley helpfully told him. As someone who has been studying and writing about child psychosocial development over the last few years, it never ceases to amaze me how adept children are at using the technology that we may all take for granted, but which to them is completely second nature.

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