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Children And Expensive Gadgets

I can understand the appeal of iPods, iPhones, and Game Boys. And since technology keeps getting easier and easier to operate (at least on the client side, for the most part), some of these gadgets are smoothly adopted into the lives of children. But is it right for a child to be in possession of something that costs more than one year's allowance, and yet can easily be snatched away?

A little while back, I read a story concerning a young boy who had committed suicide after someone at school stole his iPod. My first thought was, "Why in the world would he have brought it to school when there are bullies like that?" But then I realized that while technology is moving quickly, it's also changing in such a way that the people who can afford to give their children iPods may not think anything of it. "Oh, everybody's got one." Not so.

I saw a segment from a street interview when the iPhone just came out that pointed up this societal divide. A woman was talking about the new iPhone, which at the time was still unavailable, and therefore worth even more than Apple originally charged for it. All those people standing in line for days to be "first" would have easily paid a thousand dollars or more to get their hands on the product even earlier. So if you had one before anyone else, you were sitting on a small gold mine.

Anyway, back to the interview. A man on the street stood behind the woman on camera and just stared at the iPhone in her hand. He looked like he might not be able to afford one, even after the price drop. I saw this clip on YouTube, and some of the comments were about how sure viewers were that given the chance, the guy would have snatched the gizmo and run for his life. Just so you know, what actually happened was another guy showed up, and stole — the microphone! The reporter was fine, and the thief was subsequently tackled.

It seems crazy, when you think about it, to give a child an electronic device that is practically worth its weight in gold. People put more effort into stealing radios out of cars than it takes to snatch an iPod. It's like taking really expensive candy from a baby. My view on this is, if you give your young kid an iPod or similar device and allow them to bring it out in public, you're just asking for trouble.

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