Technology and Moms. I am certain a group of moms could talk for hours on this topic! It’s a common thread when I am with my other friends who are also parents and it is also a thread I interact with on a DAILY basis in our home.
How much is too much?
How can I keep up?
How do I protect my kids?
Generally, most Moms I know hate that their sons especially love video games as much as they do and they work tirelessly to get their kids to do something-anything else! Go outside! Play a sport! Build something! Ride your bike! Talk to a real person who is in the room with you!
I struggle with what the right balance is for our kids. I learned to type on an electronic typewriter people. In high school, I was still passing real paper notes. I’m not even 40! Technology has grown by leaps and bounds in my generation. In fact, we are the generation that has one foot in each world; a world with an abundance of technology and a world we remember with more limited technology. I hope this makes me famous in my kids eyes one day….
On the one hand, I loathe technology because I cannot stay on top of how fast it moves and changes. I figure out one thing only to find out I have figured out a concept that is already 6 years old. I am grateful for my husband and for every computer nerd I know because I need them. Just this week my 8-year old has locked himself out of his iphone (thinking he’d be sly and change his pass code so his brother can’t get into it…and then he forgot it) and my husband cannot figure out how to fix it!
If you are a parent and you take your child to any sort of “boring” place, the DMV, a doctor’s office, parent/teacher conferences and you hand your child a piece of technology, you already know some people will give you seething looks of disapproval. They’ll scoff about how kids don’t need an ipad in front of their face in every down moment of their life.
The trouble is-I TOTALLY agree. But sometimes, I HAVE to accomplish something that is boring, long and tedious-and all my little people have to come with me. I don’t always bring out the technology for every errand. However I do use it occasionally. I have educational apps on my devices too!
I don’t want to keep my children away from the fast pace that technology moves. They are already surpassing me with their intuitiveness and I believe it is because of the access they have had to technology. (And don’t even get me started on how this is going to cause greater gaps between educated privileged people and those who have poor education and no access to technology!) I want my kids to have these skills because the technology we utilize now will be archaic by the time my kids are in college. And I will need them to teach me how to use it so they will still talk to me. 🙂
All that to say, here is our family’s technology rules so far. Our rules seek to strike a balance between creativity, experiencing boredom and problem solving as well as good old fun indulgence with what they like. And I say this in hopes that it is helpful!
1.) No video games on school nights. M-Th find something else to do with your time. Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday is free play
2.) No video games or television after dinner. Once we’ve eaten dinner, you must find something else to do with your time, unless it’s family movie night.
3) Children in our home will never, ever, ever, ever, ever have a television in their room so long as they live under this roof. Period.
4) 30 minutes of a hand held device free play is allotted daily to each kiddo provided they have done their chores
5) You must ask permission before you add friends, enter a conversation or purchase something on the xbox
6) Mom and Dad will look at every message you send on your phones/hand held devices or in other venues of technology. Just know we are watching you.
So far, these are the only rules we have needed in our home. It has been enough, but I know that all this will change soon. None of our children are allowed on Snap Chat, Instagram or Facebook or any other social media/image sharing app (they are 4, 8 and 11 though). I am always reading and investigating, asking and researching what other parents have done. If you have instituted some amazing boundary in your home that works, won’t you share it here in the comments section?
I hope that we can all share ideas and learn from our failures and successes. I think we all long for our kids to be happy and have fun while learning as they grow not just about technology, but about life and about themselves. Thanks for reading!