How much is too much Technology?
by Lori Ramsey – real life parenting with a mom with 6 kids
If you compare the activities of kids today to the children of your childhood, you may be shocked. I grew up in a time when no home had a computer or a game system. Atari was just beginning to make the scene by the time I hit my teen years. And I never heard of a cell phone. Kids from my day relied on doing things manually. We went outside to play. We used our imaginations. We heard the news when it came on TV at 5 pm or we read it in the newspaper. There was nothing instant about life. Even microwaves were in few homes.
Today, children have a vast technology universe at their fingertips. How many children have you seen with smartphones? My smaller children can show me how to do things on the computer. I marvel at the lives of children and teens when we’re out in public. Whether we’re sitting in restaurants, or at the mall, or whatever, most children have their attention on their phone screen, their thumbs busily typing in another text. Have you counted how many text messages your child sends and receives in a month? Information is instantaneous now. We just need to turn our phones on to see what’s happening all over the world. It’s a lot of distractions for young developing minds.
I believe children have too much leeway way when it comes to what we allow them to do. With all the access to social media, internet browsing, and instant everything comes information overload. I can see where it will cause our children to stop reacting in a normal way. If they are so accustomed to responding with their thumbs and a mouse, they may have issues with real pressing challenges.
All Things in Moderation
Denying a child the opportunity to partake in the technologies of today may be painful to them. It’s not necessary to totally unplug from modern advances. Allow children to play a video game, to spend time texting, to browse the internet (safely) but limit the time. Children will, if left to their own devices, do these things for hours. We must make sure we don’t allow that. Put a limit. Tell them they can play the video games for an hour. Give them a set time they can be on their phone. Once the time is up, remove the temptation. Take the phone and put it away. Turn off the computer or game system. The same goes for the television.
Be An Example
Our children watch what we do. If we tell them they can’t be on their phone texting all the time and we do it, what sort of message are we sending to them? We need to show them the way by living what we preach. We need to shut off our phones and lay the remotes aside and spend as much time away from the phone, computer, TV, or game system as they do. Show your children they are a top priority by focusing on them instead of on a piece of electronic.
No Electronic Zones
Set aside specific times for when your family puts away the electronic devices or steps away from the computer or TV. Make dinner a top priority to sit down together and the rule is no cell phones allowed. I see it at many supper tables, the older children will eat while texting. This means mom and dad need to follow suit and keep your devices out of the dining room.
Teach children it’s bad manners to sit in restaurants and text. If we show our children how to interact with each other and have a good old-fashioned conversation instead, they won’t feel so bored. Make a bedtime ritual where all devices are put away. Use this time to discuss tomorrow’s plans, pray, and bid a good night without technology.
Taking Drastic Measures In Search of Balance
Take a good long look at your family. How do they spend their time? This goes for you as well. What you may need is a little reminder of how life can be sans technology. Take a technology vacation or an unplugged vacation. The kids may complain. You may feel a twitching in your thumbs to check text messages, but the vacation could do your family the world of good. The vacation could be just a day long or a weekend long or longer. Make a rule that no electronics will be admitted. You can stay home and everyone put all remotes, phones, and devices in a box and shut it for a specified amount of time. Or go away and leave all devices behind.
Next, use this time to reconnect. Have some lively conversations. Play board games. Commune with nature. Do things as a family without the worry of the device needing attention. When you go back to the real life, you may find the absence of such technology did your family some good. Perhaps it will then be easier to take it all in moderation.
Lori Ramsey (LA Ramsey) was born in 1966 in Twenty-Nine Palms, California. She grew up in Arkansas where she lives with her husband and six children!! She took the Famous Writers Course in Fiction from 1993-1996. She started writing fiction in 1996 and began writing non-fiction in 2001.
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