Verena Pausder Apps for Kids

At what age should kids be introduced to apps & digital devices? (Verena Pausder)

At what age do I introduce my kid to apps and how do I raise children in a digital world? Verena Pausder (Fox & Sheep) familiarized her kids with tablet and first apps at an age of two to three.  In this #ada18 interview she explains what she means by saying: “Google is complicated and unnecessary.”

TechEd is one of the big challenges our society faces. Of course, EdTech will be a major topic at #ada18. Get your #ada18 pass (super early bird tickets until June 8th) now and meet hundreds of the most fascinating #womenintech in Berlin!

#ada18 interview with Verena Pausder (Fox & Sheep)

Verena, at Fox & Sheep you develop apps for children. At what age did you introduce your kids to digital devices?

Verena Pausder: I introduced my kids to digital devices when they were toddlers, at the age of two or three. As technology becomes more and more prevalent in our daily lives and most children right from the moment of their birth don’t know their parents without smartphones or tablets, using little apps to playfully match shapes and colors for example is an age-appropriate, gentle and mindful way to explore the digital wonderland together.

What do you respond to parents that think „apps are not for kids“ and who are worried about internet addiction?

Verena Pausder: Our kids have been born into a world where tablets, apps and the internet exist, like we were born into a world where there were televisions. When people talk about adverse effects on children by screen time, they often assume that digital devices have the same effect as TV. But most experts agree that the monitored use of tablets or computers doesn’t need to be harmful for children, it all depends on what you are using them for. Thus, parents can choose to set a time limit on watching videos or playing computer games. What’s more, they should offer educational apps and other digital activities to their children: coding, robotics, animation or video production for example. Only if children experience themselves as creative makers and shapers instead of consumers, they will have the choice to decide for that experience.

Probably not everyone understands your statement „For today’s kids using Google is complicated and unnecessary.” What do you mean by this?

Verena Pausder: It’s the perspective of my sons, the perspective of the next generation. They directly ask Siri or Alexa if they have a question. To take a device, type a question or search term, click on the results and read through, seems to be very complicated and awkward to them. Using speech control in contrast is direct, fast and intuitive. It’s plausible, isn’t it? If we think of our parents or grandparents searching for the right volume of the Brockhaus Encyclopedia to look up something, it seems complicated and unnecessary for us as well. To google is the alternative to encyclopedias of our generation, speech control the one of our kids.

Your vision is, that all children should have equal access to digital education. What is the status quo? And how do you support this vision?

Verena Pausder: In comparison to countries like Estonia, the UK and Scandinavia who already incorporate coding into the national curriculum, Germany is slow to catch on the trends in EdTech. This is an issue of budget, because our schools depend on local communities for funding, but in my opinion, it is foremost an issue of culture and mindset. Thus, the status quo is: most schools are poorly equipped with technology and many teachers are afraid of using technology. For this reason, at HABA Digitalwerkstatt we try to reach as many kids as possible by collaborating closely with both public and private schools. We also work with underprivileged communities, offering workshops and camps for free or with a 75% discount to those with a City Pass (e.g. berlinpass, München-Pass, Hamburger Bildungspaket). These offers are funded by our non-profit association „Digitale Bildung für alle e.V.“. This is how we support the vision of all children having equal access to digital education.

We’re looking forward to having you at #ada18. What are you looking forward to?

Verena Pausder: I’m looking forward to smart and great women, who are in love with IT and Tech the way I am.