Children and technology

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Text 1 : ‘iTods: Toddlers using tablets

‘iTods on the rise as 50 percent of UK toddlers1 use tablets.

Half of UK toddlers aged two to three years old are regularly using iPads and tablets, a survey shows.

The tech-savvy2 toddlers have been called “iTods”, with 61 per cent of three-year-olds and 38 per cent of two-year-olds playing and learning on iPads.

OnePoll surveyed 1,000 parents who had children aged between two and six, and found four per cent of two-year-olds have their own tablet, which doubles to eight per cent for three-year-olds.

The majority of two-year-olds who use a tablet spend one hour a week on it, rising to one hour a day for three-year-olds. One third of parents think their toddler is more proficient at using a tablet than they are.

The children spend the majority of their tablet time playing educational or entertainment games, while the second most popular activity is watching children’s television programmes. Others use the tablets to watch YouTube videos or speak to friends and family on Skype or FaceTime.

A total of 15 per cent of parents of two to six-year-olds said they have felt pressure to buy a tablet for their children as so many of their peers have them. In addition, 21 per cent of parents have been asked by their children’s school or pre-school to buy their children an iPad.

Allan Johnston, an expert, says: “These figures can be seen as concerning3, given that we are discussing children using technology from such an early age, but in moderation, tablets can really benefit a child’s learning and understanding […] These numbers are going to rise. […] Apps are the next generation as they have benefits that outweigh traditional entertainment media if a child completes something, then, they are rewarded, which is a great motivator for a child”.

Radhika Sanghani, The Daily Telegraph, October 16, 2013.

1. Toddlers: very young children.

2. Tech-savvy: who know about technology.

3. Concerning: worrying.

Text 2 : Technology bosses control their children’s use

When Steve Jobs was asked what his three young children thought of the iPad, the reply came as something of a shock. “They haven’t used it”, the late Apple boss said in 2010 shortly after its launch. “We limit how much technology our kids use at home.”

In a world where toddlers can work touch screens before they can tie their shoelaces, you might have expected the Jobs offspring1 to be the ultimate digital natives. Yet, it seems that the tycoons2 of Silicon Valley strictly limit how their children use their products, wary of the risks of online bullying, pornography, and what hours of iPad use might do to a developing mind. In the homes of tech moguls3, screens are banned from bedrooms, according to Nick Bilton, a technology writer who recalled his conversation with Jobs in an article this week for The New-York Times.

In these executive households, children under ten are often limited to between 30 minutes and two hours of iPad use over the weekend, while 10 to 14-year-olds are allowed to use computers on school nights only for homework. Teenagers are often banned from using social networks.

Evan Williams, one of the founders of Twitter, does not allow his two young sons to use iPads or iPhones. Like him, they are shy and he is scared that hours of screen time will heighten4 that trait. So, instead, every evening, the family reads books together on the sofa. […]

For parents, the digital world can be a confusing place. In 2012, about half of children aged 6 to 12, asked for an iPad for Christmas, a survey found. When they are confronted with a book, it is not unusual to see a toddler try to swipe it with a sticky finger, only to be disappointed when it doesn’t spring to life as an iPad would.

Technology has not made parenting easier, according to the American author Hanna Rosin. “Parents want their children to swim expertly in the digital stream that they will have to navigate all their lives. On the other hand, they fear that too much digital media, too early, will sink them.”

Rhys Blakely, The Times, September 13, 2014.

1. Offspring: children.

2. Tycoons: rich and powerful businessmen.

3. A mogul: a powerful man.

4. Heighten: accentuate.

compréhension 10 points

Text 1

1Choose the right answer. The document is about :

a.the advantages of using iPads and tablets for toddlers.

b. how toddlers use iPads and tablets.

c. the disadvantages of using iPads and tablets.

2 True or false Justify your answer with a quotation from the text.

a. Not many young children use tablets in the UK.

b. Most parents feel less comfortable than their children when using a tablet.

c. Children only use their tablets to play games.

d. Parents feel they have to buy a tablet for their children.

Now focus on the lastparagraph.

3 Choose the right answer and justify with a quotation from the text.

Allan Johnston thinks apps are good for a child in terms of:

a. education.

b. communication.

c. entertainment.

4 According to the expert, how should tablets be used to help children improve their learning 

Text 2

5 a. Who is Steve Jobs Pick out the answer from the text.

b. Who does “we” (l. 4) refer to

6 Is Steve Jobs for or against his children using tablets Justify your answer with a quotation from the text.

7a. True or false High Tech parents in Silicon Valley encourage their children to use tablets.

Justify your answer with threequotations from the text.

b. Pick out three reasons in the text which explain these parents’ attitude to technology.

8 “The reply came as something of a shock” (l. 2). In your own words, explain why. (20 words).

Now focus on the last paragraph.

9 True or false iPads and tablets help parents educate their children. Justify with a quotation from the text.

Both texts

10 Choose the right answer.

The two documents deal with:

a. The positive aspects of new technology.

b. Parenting and new technology.

c. Learning without new technology.

expression 10 points

Choose one subject. (200 words)

1 Do smartphones, tablets or computers play an important part in your everyday life

2 A teenager wants a tablet or a smartphone for his/her birthday but his/her parents disagree. Write the conversation.

Les clés du sujet

Texte 1


Radhika Sanghani (1990-) travaille pour The Daily Telegraph, quotidien britannique classé comme conservateur et fondé en 1855. La jeune journaliste écrit des articles qui concernent surtout les femmes et l’inégalité entre les sexes. Elle est l’auteur de deux romans qui traitent de ce sujet.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

L’utilisation des nouvelles technologies par les enfants dès le plus jeune âge devient de plus en plus répandue. Même si les statistiques à ce sujet peuvent faire peur, un expert considère que cette tendance peut être bénéfique si on n’en abuse pas.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

To be on the rise (l. 1) : en hausse a survey (l. 3) : un sondage  to survey (l. 7) : faire un sondage  to be proficient at (l. 12) : bien maîtriser  peers (l. 21) : pairs, personnes du même âge  to outweigh (l. 29) : être plus important que to be rewarded (l. 30) : être récompensé.

Texte 2


Rhys Blakely est le responsable politique du bureau de The Times à Washington. The Times est un journal hebdomadaire britannique fondé en 1785.

Pour en savoir plus :

Résumé du texte

Rhys Blakely nous révèle que, contre toute attente, les responsables des entreprises telles qu’Apple ou Twitter limitent l’utilisation des nouvelles technologies par leurs enfants. Dans un monde où la technologie fait maintenant partie intégrante de nos vies, le rôle des parents n’en est pas plus facile pour autant : ils souhaitent que leurs enfants maîtrisent les nouvelles technologies mais craignent les inconvénients qui y sont liés.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

Shortly after (l. 3) : peu après  a launch (l. 4) : un lancement   to tie one’s shoelaces (l. 6) : faire ses lacets  to be wary of (l. 9) : se méfier de   to recall (l. 12) : se rappeler   to swipe (l. 27) : faire défiler   to spring to life (l. 28) : se mettre en marche   to sink (l. 33) : ici : faire couler.

Les points de convergence

Les deux textes traitent de l’utilisation des nouvelles technologies par les enfants. Alors que le premier texte conclut sur les avantages que les petits peuvent en tirer, le second reste assez méfiant sur l’influence de ces nouveaux objets sur les petits et on y insiste sur l’importance d’en limiter l’utilisation.

Le sujet d’expression 1

Pistes de recherche

Vous êtes sûrement très attachés à vos appareils et vous avez conscience de leur utilité dans la vie de tous les jours. Il suffit d’expliciter l’utilité de ces objets en invoquant plusieurs arguments : autant sur le plan des loisirs que sur le plan pratique et éducatif. Ne perdez pas de vue qu’on vous demande de trancher – de donner votre avis, positif ou négatif.

Vocabulaire utile

To spend time in front of a screen (passer du temps devant un écran)  to allow (permettre)  on an educational level (sur le plan éducatif)  to catch up on (rattraper).

Le sujet d’expression 2

Pistes de recherche

Il faut trouver une situation où un jeune a l’occasion de justifier ses besoins auprès de ses parents (les progrès à l’école peuvent être un excellent thème d’argumentation…). Réfléchissez aux arguments qu’un parent trouvera « recevables ». N’oubliez pas de soigner la mise en page du dialogue et d’utiliser des verbes d’expression variés.

Vocabulaire utile

To grumble (ronchonner)  to be glued to a screen (avoir les yeux rivés sur un écran)  my foot ! (mon œil !)  to be unfair (être injuste)  to be a know-it-all (jouer les M. Je-sais-tout).



Text 1

1The document is about: b. How toddlers use iPads and tablets.

2a. False: “Half of UK toddlers aged two to three years old are regularly using iPads and tablets” (l. 2-3).

b. False: “One third of parents think their toddler is more proficient at using a tablet than they are” (l. 11-13).

c. False: “The second most popular activity is watching … television… Others use the tablets to watch YouTube videos or speak to friends and family on Skype or FaceTime” (l. 15-18).

d. True: “… they have felt pressure to buy a tablet” or “have been asked by their children’s school or pre-school to buy their children an iPad” (l. 19-23).

3The right answer is the answer a. Education: “can really benefit a child’s learning and understanding” (l. 26-27).

4 He believes they should be used in moderation in a way that motivates the child.

Text 2

5a. Steve Jobs is the late Apple boss (l. 3).

b. “We” refers to Steve Jobs and his wife.

6 He is against them using tablets. He says: “we limit how much tech they use at home” (l. 4).

7a. False: They “strictly limit their use” (l. 8) they are “wary of the risks” (l. 9) and “screens are banned from bedrooms” (l. 11).

b. Three reasons to explain this are: the risks of online bullying (l. 9), pornography (l. 9) and what hours of iPad use might do to a developing mind (l. 10).

8 Because Steve Jobs is the person who created the computer company Apple, we expect him to encourage his children to use their products.

9 False: It “has not made parenting easier” (l. 29).

Both texts

10 The correct answer is the answer b. Parenting and new technology.


1 Guidelines

Any young person today who says that new technology does not play a major role in their everyday lives is a liar! Parents argue that we should spend less time in front of a screen and more time in ‘real life’ but they just don’t under­stand how important these things are in every part of our lives. Personally, I couldn’t live without my computer! I would be so unhappy without it. It allows me to do so many things.

Firstly, on an educational level I can check the homework due on the school website and catch up on any lessons if I have missed class. More and more teachers expect us to do research that would be impossible to complete with­out internet access. I can even look up explanations to things I didn’t under­stand in class.

Secondly, for my pleasure I can listen to music, watch films, catch up on the latest series and news about celebrities. I can share photos and videos as well as keeping up with friends and family who live far away. These things would be so time-consuming if I didn’t have access to a computer.

Obviously, you shouldn’t let your computer take over your life but technology makes our lives so much easier and more fun!

2 Guidelines

Gareth and his mother are stuck in a traffic jam on the way home from school.

“Mum, when will we be home I’ve got stuff to do…” Gareth grumbled.

“I don’t know,” his mother replied.

“But I’ve got homework,” he said searching through his bag “and… I don’t believe it…”

“What ”

“I’ve forgotten my German book and there’s a test tomorrow!” He exclaimed.

“Can’t you call Olly ”

“No, there is too much, now if I had a smartphone, Olly could just take a photo and send it to me…”

“Don’t start that again. I’ve already told you the answer is no”, his mother said firmly.

“Please Mum!”, Gareth pleaded. “I’m the only one in class without one and it would be so useful!

“Useful my foot! It would just be another screen for you to be glued to!” His mother replied angrily.

“That’s unfair! I could take photos, check the school website, do homework even if I am stuck in a traffic jam, for example…”

“Don’t be a know-it-all, Gareth.”

“But it’s true, Mum. If you like I can do odd jobs around the house to pay for some of it.”

I’ll think about it but I’m not making any promises.”


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