Parenting: The simplest device

August 8, 2011

I'll give you my vote in a moment. And I'd love to hear what you think. First, I would like to eliminate some early candidates.

The Television

Nah, it's actually gotten more complicated over the years. You used to be able to turn it one with one switch (the power button). And if you wanted to find, say, Channel 6, you simply turned the knob to Channel 6. What a concept! Today, our televisions have to be hooked up to special boxes that provide us with a never-ending selection of cable channels (only a small minority still watch over-the-air television). We need multiple remotes, and we need patience. Why can't I hear the TV? Oh, the surround-sound is not on the proper setting. Why am I getting static? Oh, the TV needs to be on Channel 4, so I can watch Channel 6. Complicated.

The Automobile

I would suggest that driving a car with automatic transmission is actually pretty easy to figure out. However, you can't say a toddler can pick this up right away, because as our laws stand, infants aren't allowed to drive!

The Toaster Oven

This is another appliance that has become more difficult to use as it has developed over the years. Many of the latest products offer multiple settings depending on what you are about to toast up. Too many knobs, too many options - and that can lead to frustration to people no matter what the age. Plus, a toddler shouldn't be using something that involves high heat anyway.

The Land-line Phone

Sure, anyone can pick up one of these things when they ring, but once again, this device has become more complicated over the years. I vote nay.

The alarm clock, no. The home computer, no. The bicycle, no.

What is my vote for the one device that anyone, from toddler to elderly person, can use correctly the first time?

First, full disclosure. I do not own one.

It is the iPad.

So many times I hear about children picking up this Apple device for the first time and being able to operate it. And to think that this device didn't even exist as a product 16 months ago says a lot.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Is there another device out there that fits this description? I'd love to know. Use our comments section of this web page to tell me.

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