So my mom took this picture of my niece.Love her dearly and my sister may be upset with me after this but I love her too, so chill sis. <3 I am about to step on more than her toes I am sure. If you look at the picture you will surely notice the cutie pie.. and her moms smartphone… and for good measure look at her little hand.. my mom said she was making a picture bigger…My niece has figured out the phone. Kudos to her. Never said she wasn’t smart 🙂 She also knows how to grab her mothers phone and call grandma.. who lives downstairs..can’t form a full sentence yet but “Oma” is good enough a signal that Oma comes to pick her up :). Therein lays my problem. She does not talk much (nobodies fault, my oldest didn’t speak much till 2 and a half either) but she knows how to work the phone, the laptop and mess around on moms facebook. At this point I do want to point out my sister is not a bad mother, we just disagree about this part.
I have noticed that most people find it totally acceptable to hand their smart phone or tablet to their toddler in order to keep them busy. I have watched it at the store, the doctors office, parks, playgrounds even.. seriously? Now, I am not saying that children and teenagers as a whole should not have access to electronic devices that can be used as educational and maybe sometimes recreational tools. BUT I have noticed a trend I find disturbing. It starts with small children using phones and tablets, again I understand they are smart enough, but is it smart to let them? When I think of toddlers I think of all the things they get to explore! Imagine you learn to sit, stand, walk, taste different food, start to color, feel different things, go outside, learn nature by exploring.. yeah that sand tasted yucky huh? You learn that you cannot just run a muck or scream. I used to ignore my oldest daughter tantrum at the store, kept walking and guess what.. oh no mommy isn’t looking fine I’ll quit… 🙂 Now I see kids in shopping cards screaming and wait for it.. here comes the smart phone or tablet. They are not paying attention to ANYTHING but that movie, game or whatever it is they can do on there. Yes, it keeps the kids occupied and quiet. But honestly.. isn’t that your job as a parent? To entertain and teach them how to deal with a situation they may be bored in? My kids HATE to go shopping.. they really do. I still make them help me, teach them prices, why we buy what we buy and they just have to deal.
Now, I am not innocent, that TV is a huge help sometimes when I am stressed and trying to finish all my homework in time. BUT I try to use it sparingly, none of my kids have a phone and they are not allowed on mine. My oldest is allowed on the computer to do research for something she wants to know about. She is 9 and really smart. My 6 year old gets to go on as a reward for super behaviour and again only sparingly. Do they want all those cool electronics? Absolutely, but aside from the price tag, I have an issue with it. My oldest wants a kindle fire.. I mean seriously? I buy her books, lots of them. I want her to read. She loves reading. USE A BOOK. I understand much to my daughters dismay that tablets come with internet, games and so much more. I have also seen these handy protectors you can buy to childproof your tablet.. seriously?
Speaking of my 9 year old. We had her birthday party this year and invited 4 other girls for a sleepover and I thought I had it planned out.. Well, I guess I am behind modern times. All 4 showed up with smartphones, texting their friends, their parents, having meltdowns, looking at videos on youtube, sharing their facebook.. and here is my 9 year old.. she has a cd player. Did I feel bad? NO, she is 9.. why should she need a phone?! I keep her off youtube just to find out they allow phones in school and she has seen it all.. including if you cry for 2 days straight your eyes will bleed.. Really? I find it excessive. I find it too much. What happened to the days where we played tag, hide n go seek, tell scary stories under the blankets, draw on paper and read books?!
I want to acknowledge that there are definitely plus sides to electronics and introducing your children to them, as well as using them as educational tools. I do think however it should be introduced slowly at around first grade. They all watch TV as is and it has been brought up in studies that children should be much limited on that and none under 2. Now I did let mine watch under 2 but my point is they watch TV, have comps, game systems, hand held systems, phones, tablets, mp 3 players and so on. Add up the time they spend doing that.. If my kids could they would have all those things, each their own, probably a homepage too and I am sure they would be good at it. I just don’t think it is smart. I want them to feel books, feel a pencil when they write, I buy expensive coloring pencils and let them experience drawing and practicing on paper.. although I am sure they could do awesome with a program online. She has a CD player and it works just fine, means everyone can listen to music not just her in her ears at a setting that will probably damage her hearing. I want them to be connected.. TO THE REAL WORLD.
We are sucked in to the internet, being connected, always online, always busy and we teach our children the same. Always more, always faster, always at the touch of a button.. Go back to the past a bit.. remember what it was like when you grew up. I know we can’t go back to the past as much as some of us would like that. But I always see people complain about not being able to relax. Here is how. UNPLUG.. not all day I understand it isn’t reasonable and I don’t. Designate times and days where you are offline. I don’t check my phone or answer it during dinner. We are unplugged during dinner. ALWAYS. This is our time where we talk, joke, laugh, discuss.. the max I deal with is classical music as a background. I unplug the kids from the TV, they have times I allow them more or less but usually it is off for a majority of the day. I don’t watch much TV, I rather read a book. Take that time for yourself and turn the electronics off. No more after a certain time, or for a certain time. You can’t finish all the work all the time, but if you answer a client at midnight, they assume you always work that late and will expect it.. is that what you want? Back to the past, where you go home and maybe you are on call but that is temporary. UNPLUG a bit.. I promise the world won’t end. Spend time with your friends and family OFFLINE. Time is too precious to only connect online. Unplug your children. They need YOU, NOT an electronic babysitter as good as it sounds and as easy as it is. I have much more to say about this topic and I may write more blogs about it depending on the response I get 🙂
So, how do you deal with being plugged in? Are your children plugged in? Share your thoughts and tell me why you agree or disagree!
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