Parents everywhere are going to start buying their toddlers tablets now. A 3-year-old boy in the UK just officially became the UK’s youngest Mensa member. Teddy Hobbs taught himself how to read and count in 7 languages — including Mandarin — by using a tablet.
Teddy Hobbs’ Parents Had No Idea How Much Their Son Was Learning on His Own
“He was playing on his tablet — we’ve put appropriate games like Thomas the Tank Engine on — and he was sat there. … Making the sounds I just didn’t recognize. And I asked him what it was, and it was, ‘Oh mummy, I’m counting in Mandarin’,” his mom told BBC Radio 4 Today.
Beth Hobbs said that Teddy began entertaining himself on his tablet. She assumed he was just passing the time — not becoming a human encyclopedia. Simply by playing games and watching TV, he taught himself the equivalent of years of schooling. He first learned how to read at age two.
“He chooses a new topic of something to be interested in every couple of months or so, it seems,” said Teddy’s mom. “Sometimes it’s numbers. It was times tables for a while. That was a very intense period. Then countries and maps and learning to count in different languages.”
Once Teddy Hobbs’ parents finally realized how brilliant he was, they sought to get his IQ tested. The test, which was on a laptop, took an hour to take.
Mrs. Hobbs said she was initially worried about Teddy’s attention span while taking the test but instead “he absolutely just loved it.” He tested in the top 99.5% for his age.
Teddy Hobbs Is the Youngest UK Mensa Member Inductee at 3 Years 7 Months
Mensa doesn’t usually test children, but it has before. However, the organization helps parents get a supervised test done through educational psychologists. Teddy was 3 years and 7 months when he scored in the top 0.5% of his age group. He was accepted into the society, officially becoming the youngest Mensa member in UK history.
Despite his cognitive achievements, Mrs. Hobbs says that she’s trying to keep her son “grounded.”
“If he can do these things, then fine, but he sees it like ‘yes I can read, but my friend can run faster than me’, so we’ve all got our individual talents,” she said.
Technology has its pros and cons, but this is one example of the power of interactive learning. Ten years ago, a kid wouldn’t have had the same kind of access to the learning activities available today. While Teddy is an extreme example, his case points to future learning possibilities for younger generations.