the children and technology debate

If you’re a parent reading this post I’m sure that you’ve asked yourself this question at least once, “How much leeway should I give my kids when it comes to personal technology?  And at what age?”.

I definitely do not have the answers to this increasing debate, but I do have a few concerns, and I’m curious what you think.

I see Johannes increasingly interested in our home computers, iPad and iPhones.  He loves to play with our old Motorola flip phone and pretend to call his grandparents.  “Hi Buni!  Hi papa!  Hi Gabi!…jiber jaber…bye bye”.  He takes the phone, turns it around, points it at our cat and says “CHEEZE!” while mimicking me and my incessant photo taking.

He does this because we do it and he wants to do exactly that.  But as he grows up and goes to school he will be surrounded by other kids with cell phones, iPhones, iPads and internet access.

We made a personal decision not to get a television, but shows and media are on the internet as well.

At what age is it ok to let them have email?  Facebook?  Free rein of the world wide web?

I suppose these are questions that we will answer in time, once we see what the lay of the land is.  As we are presented with one of these challenges.  But as a planner I like to have a little bit of an idea as to what I should say or do.

What are your thoughts?  Is this a concern as a parent?

Comments

  1. says

    TOTALLY a concern to me and I have no answers.
    Communication, education, be involved in our children’s lives.
    That is all I can come up with at this point. But I think these are our basic parenting goals no matter what.
    Technology is so scary.

  2. says

    Great post! Before I became a parent my thoughts would have been to keep my children as far away from these toys as possible. Becoming a mom though changed a lot of my ideas on child rearing. Now my two year old gets a small amount of iPad use. I think everything in moderation can only be beneficial. We plan to encourage his interests in music, art, the outdoors and making friends first and foremost. Actual living. I do want him to have a cell phone – but at what age… I don’t know. As for email, Facebook accounts and whatever else that’ll exist by the time he’s a teenager, we’ll use our own discrepancy. Ah, it most certainly is scary!

  3. DANIELA says

    GRAN TEMA ANA!! Y GRAN PREOCUPACION TAMBIEN!! CREO QUE LOS PADRES DEBEMOS ESTAR PENDIENTES DE TODO LO QUE NUESTROS HIJOS HACEN EN INTERNET, NO ESTOY DE ACUERDO CON QUE UN NIÑO TENGA FACEBOOK NI CUENTAS EN INTERNET, CREO QUE TAL VES EN LA ADOLESCENCIA SE LO PERMITA PERO TAMBIEN ESTARE PENDIENTE DE TODO. CREO QUE INTERNET ES PELIGROSO PARA QUE UN NIÑO NAVEGE SOLO. EN CUANTO A UN TELEFONO , NO LO SE AUN!! VEREMOS QUE SUCEDE EN EL CAMINO Y CUAL SEA LA REAL NECESIDAD. UNA IMPORTANTE POR SUPUESTO! Y COMO COMENTARON OTRAS PERSONAS, TAMBIEN ESTOY DE ACUERDO A ENSEÑARLES A TENER UNA VIDA REAL,CREATIVA,DIVERTIDA, QUE DISFRUTEN DE HACER COSAS PRODUCTIVAS Y NO ESTAR TODO EL DIA EN EL CIBER MUNDO.
    GRAN POST ANA!! BESOS Y ABRAZOS.

  4. Olga says

    For our family, we pretty much decided to do everything in our power to keep technology from our son for as long as possible. We never had tv, so thats easy. I try to use my iphone discretly and mostly take photos with my camera. We do skype as my family would never see him otherwise. But it will be more dificult as he grows. We work from home and have 4 large screens and 3 powerful cOmputers always running. He’ll see us at our computers and will want one too. So not sure how we’ll handle it. We’ll be sticking to the recomended 2 years before he is alowed screen time (cartoons and shows). I don’t really believe technology helps kids to leaern anything essential about the world. Although I work with comps and advansed programs, they have nothing to do with why I am succesefull (time management, tallent, responsibility,communication skills do and I didn’t learn that from a computer). So no electronic toys for my kiddo.

  5. says

    It’s definitely a concern for me. My girls are 7 and 5, and I certainly let them play (approved) games on our shared computer and they text their grandparents on my phone (it’s actually a great motivation to spell words – they know nothing about texting short forms) but it will be a long time before I purchase them anything of their own. Even TV watching is big for us, but there are no TVs in any bedrooms and I don’t think there ever will be (including mine – though I keep trying to convince my husband!)

  6. Natasha says

    Sigh. prior to becoming a parent, I would’ve said NO WAY to technology, as I feel too many children are zombies. Having said that, though, my children are very intrigued by computers, etc, and much good has come as a result of MONITORED use. My children both understand many words in Spanish, a trait I directly attribute to Dora. My 6-year-old reads at a grade 3 level and loves math…which I believe has been enriched by appropriate apps and programming (Sesame Street, etc) I’ve tried to combat the negative effects by 1) limiting the time I allow my children to use technology and 2) participating and making it interactive (making them describe what’s going on, re-telling what they learned, etc).

    My husband and I both grew up in the 80′s and watched TV as part of our childhoods. I think we turned out just fine :)

    my 2 cents :):)
    Natasha

  7. says

    First off I just want to say that he looks so cute with those glasses and so grown up. The first post I read here was your birth story and now he’s a big, big boy and we’re worrying about tech time. This is something that is constantly in the back of my mind. This is such a great question and a very important topic to bring up.

    My feeling (so far) is that it’s best to limit it but acknowledge that it exists and it’s part of our world as we’re living it today. My opinion is that in moderation technology, tv, etc. can be great and even helpful for parents. My toddler spend 80% of her time outdoors. She’s either at school (3 mornings a week), the playground, the library, a playdate, barnes and noble, etc. During the weekends we go to museums, open play gyms, birthday parties, visits with grandparents, etc. In other words, she has A LOT of time to play, run, play make believe with her dollhouse, play kitchen, read books, etc. We are always making up stories, listening to music, talking about our day, and doing all of those things that grow their minds and mold them into curious, adventurous kids. We let her watch TV in the morning while we’re all getting ready for work and school while having breakfast. We limit our shows to Dora, Diego and Peppa Pig (that’s what she’s into right now) and we watch 30 minutes in the morning. A lot of times she’s also coloring or playing with something else while it’s on in the background. On the weekends we watch disney movies and she LOVES them and at barely 3 years old she knows all the words to those songs by heart. We also let her watch 30 minutes or so at night while we prepare dinner. When we’re in the car we let her do puzzles on various apps on a mini-ipad that we all use and play other games. I personally don’t see an issue with it bc she has so much time when she’s doing other things. In other words, her usage is highly monitored and she doesn’t really ask for the ipad unless we’re in the car or a restaurant (LIFE SAVER).

    As for email, phones, facebook, I don’t know. I think it’s weird when I see 8 year olds with iphones in the city but then on the other side I can see why a parent would want their child to have one for emergencies with limited use. I don’t know how I will feel about it when the time comes.

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