Theo, Age 11
Theo is an 11-year-old boy that was diagnosed with autism. He received his first iPad at the age of four and, in 2017 he received his own iPhone. Theo prefers to be alone, but interestingly technology has given him the opportunity to be more communicative and interactive.Theo’s mother provided the answers during our interview.
Media Consumption: Daily
Favorite Media/Technology: iPhone/Youtube
How do you and your family interact with media/technology?
During weekdays, Theo typically plays with his phone 1-2 hours after school and sometimes watches a movie after dinner in bed with his brother. As Theo was the first child growing up with digital technology, I would often co-view and interact with Theo as he was engaging with technology.
How do you and your peers interact with media/technology?
Theo often prefers to spend time alone than with other. However, through media and technology he is able to be more interactive with others.
What do you use media for?
Theo uses media to help him interact with others and research information. When Theo was only a child he used to watch the same movies over and over again. So often, that he knew all the words by heart. In fact, he has developed an incredible ability not only to learn quotes from the movies he watches but also knows how to use them at perfect moments in real conversations. He can make everyone in a room laugh without noticing that what he said was funny. He just knows when and how to reply in social interactions using mostly what he learned in movies.
What is your favorite/least favorite thing about media/technology?
Theo’s favorite activity at the moment is to watch all kinds of videos on YouTube. Technology offers him the opportunity to explore different types of media while learning at the same time. Every time he learns something new that intrigues him, he will inform himself about it by watching YouTube videos on that topic. Thus, technology helps him to access information quickly without requiring face-to-face interaction.
“Bizarrely, his use of technology is the one thing he has in common with neurotypical children.”
- Theo’s Mom