August 19, 2017

Young Kids and Electronics

As I set my two year old up on our home computer and watch in amazement as she deftly maneuvers the mouse, I am once again reminded of one of my biggest concerns as a parent: how much will all of this new technology affect my kids and to what extent can I shelter them from it?  I imagine I feel about electronics like a lot of parents felt about Rock ‘n Roll music in the 1950s- it’s new, it’s enticing, and to combine those reasons it can be dangerous.

 

We finally broke down and got a Wii not too long ago.  My husband and I love playing sports games on it with the boysand in moderation it’s been fun for them to play with one another and their friends with it.  Moderation has been the key.  We used to give them one hour a day to lose themselves in electronics- that included television, the Wii and playing on the computer, which to them is mainly earning tokens for their Webkinz (the Cabbage Patch Dolls of this generation).  The games they play are harmless enough, they enjoy them and there was a finite amount of time they had to indulge in any one.  Last winter we went away with another family to their cabin in Tahoe and since we were the guests I didn’t say much about the kids having carte blanche access to as much Wii and Xbox playing as they wanted.  After about 90 minutes 2 of our combined 6 kids were in tears and the other 2 who had been playing were bouncing off the walls from who knows what- adrenaline, energy that had been harnessed to a two foot area of personal space for 90 minutes.  It was then I remembered again there should be limits to everything, even though they are good kids while also on vacation.

 

But when I was held to the hour a day of free choice time, even when it seemed other areas of life were sacrificed like playing outside or doing homework, I took the advice of parents with older kids and limited the free choice time to weekends only.  Now with their friends getting handheld video game devices and (much to my disbelief) ITouch, I can only imagine how much more their free time and choices will be subdivided.

 

With gift giving season upon us I am not sure which way to go.

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