I’m not the only one. I can’t be the only one! Am I the only one…that finds technology for kids to be a gift and a curse?
It seems to be such an important part of life in this day and age, but it also seems to be such a distraction to the actual moving, living, breathing world out there.
I think as parents we tend to live with a lot of guilt over various things when it comes to our children. I feel this guilt with technology. There are some days where my daughter will spend more time on my phone or iPad than I feel is necessary, but on the flip side I am able to do things that I wouldn’t normally be able to do without her being focused on this distraction for a little while. I can cook a meal, get some writing done, drive in peace and quiet, or even use the bathroom, ALONE. Trust me, when you become a parent, solo bathroom trips are a rarity.
But I do feel guilty sometimes because I don’t want her to become an addict.
Because at the end of the day, it’ll be my fault for introducing and allowing it to turn into an addiction. Once in a blue moon I’ll have to say her name several times to get her to look up from the gadget and that is usually when I decide it’s time to move onto something else. I call it the “vortex”, where I can see that she is engrossed in the Ipad, eyes wide, and the video she’s watching or game she’s playing is the focal point of her very existence. We only let her watch you tube kids, or play educational toddler games so at least she is actually playing shape recognition, practicing her numbers or animal sounds, improving her memory with a game, or learning new songs to sing.
I read in an article that kids usually want the phone so much because they see their parents on it constantly. This is difficult for parents because the phone serves as multiple devices for us. It is our phone, our computers for emails, our communication for texts, our internet research, our GPS navigation, and the list goes on. When we use the phone for so many different activities we find it convenient, but all our kids see is that this device has our attention. The article suggested that parents can help curb this craving for the phone, by announcing our intention for using it when we pick it up. For instance, “ Mommy is going to check her emails.”, or “Daddy is going to call Grandpa.”
This helps them understand that when we use the phone, we use it with purpose to get something done.
This also helps us as adults. I know I pick up the phone at least 10-20 times a day with no actual purpose in mind. So being prompted to think about “What do I need to do on the phone?”, will help us use it with more purpose as well. Adults are just as guilty of being sucked into the vortex as kids are.
How many times do you look around at a restaurant and see people on their phones inadvertently avoiding human interaction? Too often.
The pros however could possibly outweigh the mom guilt as long as moderation is kept in mind. Kids use more technology is school these days. They have iPads in the classroom. In some states they’ve even gotten rid of learning how to write in cursive, since writing has taken a back seat to typing. Sad, but true. It’s just where we are at in the world and I want my daughter to be well equipped with the skill to navigate through these gadgets and use them to her scholastic advantage. I have always enjoyed technological devices. As a kid, I would take the computer apart just to put it back together again. I am pretty tech savvy now a days as a result. So I think it’s important for our kids to learn how to use these devices, because the future jobs they’ll be applying for will surely require knowledge and skill surrounding technology. And let’s be honest, it pretty fascinating what we’ve accomplished as a species in the Information Age.
I feel like most parents I come across have the same love/hate relationship with the gadgets. There are days where it feels like your kids are fully addicted. Old school parents heads shaking in your direction and shame outweighing pride because you know what some people are thinking. "Look at her, not even paying attention to her child. She probably lets him/her do this all day long." Ohhhhh that judgment can be so annoying. But on the flip side there are also days where you are thanking Steve Jobs for his glorious inventions that keep your child occupied for a few minutes.
Cons to handing over the iPad/Iphone to your child:
~ They start asking for it as means of entertainment/ out of boredom
~ Too much screen time can be bad for their developing eyes
~ They will completely ignore you once they’ve been sucked into the vortex
Pros to handing over the iPad/ iPhone to your child:
~ They can become tech savvy which will help them in school/for future jobs
~ You can squeeze in a few minutes of "mommy time" whatever that may look like
~ You can put on something educational for them soak up so it doesn’t feel like a degenerate activity
~ You can get some quiet time in overwhelming moments
When it comes to this controversial subject I am "pro tech". I am also "pro balance". I am completely content with handing over the iPad for her to enjoy as long as she understands it’s a privilege. The outside world, activities, sports, music, books, and interaction with the community all come first in our household. The technology is a means to a moment, and can be beneficial in the long run, as long as it isn’t abused. We don’t allow use of the iPad/iPhone during meals, but other than that we use our discretion for appropriate timing to indulge in some screen time.
Curious to hear what some of your thoughts are on this subject.
Do you allow your kids endless use of the gadgets, or maybe they even have their own already? What does screen time look like in your household? Please feel free to comment below.
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