There are moments in parenting that make you want to pat yourself on the back for your brilliance…and there are moments that make you want to question everything you’ve ever done as a parent.
Today, my 8 and 6 year old daughters spontaneously gave me their Christmas lists on the way to school. It quickly turned into one of those “question everything” moments.
These lists included the usual: bikes, walkie talkies, toys inspired by their favorite movies and TV shows.
But then, my 8-year-old dropped a bomb on me: “Mommy, for Christmas I want an iPod, with a case. The kind that plays music and has games and apps and can text.”
Um, excuuuuse me? Does that sound like a smart phone to anyone else?
These kids are 8 and 6 – am I crazy to think that’s way to early for a smart device?
Although I acted convicted in my answer (it was an emphatic NO, for those wondering), I am torn when it comes to technology and the internet, and how my kids should use them.
I know that we live in the age of technology. I understand that my livelihood is made almost completely online, and I am not a shining example of moderate screen time by any stretch.
But that’s my job. I am an adult making a living to help support our family.
There’s a difference – but you try to explain that to two elementary school girls with lots of friends with iPods! Suffice it to say, the conversation did not go the way they had hoped.
A cursory search on the internet (ha, there’s irony for you!) will tell you all the reasons our kids shouldn’t be exposed to too much technology, too early. They don’t learn the social skills they need in life, literacy and other developmental milestones suffer, and there have even been links made between too much screen time and attention deficit disorders.
But the reality is that we are still at the beginning of the digital age. Businesses are being run entirely online. My third grader has online homework assigned. I have beauty products, cleaning supplies, dog food, clothes, toys, and even some food delivered directly to our home thanks to technology and the internet.
Isn’t this the direction the world is going? Shouldn’t our children – and us, let’s be honest! – be aware of and trained in the most efficient use of the technology we have at our disposal?
I am not a scientist or a psychologist, I am just a mom who runs a little pampering business and does some marketing on the side to provide for my family. However, having kids that are 8, 6, and 3 in 2016 means that I have a LOT of first hand experience with the “con” column of kids and technology. I see the problems. I see the advantages. And I try to strike a balance. At the end of the day, I think that’s the rub.
Talking to my girls about technology, limiting and monitoring screen time, teaching them internet safety, and – most importantly – setting a good example are, I believe, the best ways to attack the problem of technology overuse in our children.
What are the technology boundaries in your house? Please share your ideas in the comments!