Let me start by saying that I am not taking a zero tolerance stance against video games here. Forbidding anything just makes it so much more tempting and extreme parenting seems to make for strange children. If I never let my kids play a video game they would probably obsess over the mystery of what everyone else is so enthralled with. We live in a high tech world and our kids know it. They see what their peers are doing and like it or not video games are part of our culture. Then again so is gun violence but I’m not about to buy my babies Glocks so they can fit in.
I feel like if my 6 year didn’t know what Angry Birds was she would be weird in the way of people who do not own TVs. So on occasion, I let her play with my phone. I’m talking a few times a week for 15 minutes. That’s it. My 3 year old is not allowed to play with my phone except in emergencies like when we’ve read all the books I brought to the doctor’s office, and we are still waiting, and the she is determined to find out what’s in the trash can.
I have stocked my smartphone with a variety of free educational apps. All my daughter likes to play, however, is Candy Crush and something that involves giving makeovers to dogs. I’ve heard parents say that kids will have to use E-devices for school so why not give them a head start. Well, they are going to have to learn algebra eventually too but I don’t a whole lot of clamoring to get a jump on that. Nobody gives their kid an iPad because they care about education. You give your kid an iPad so they will leave you alone for awhile. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, kids are exhausting, but let’s call it what it is.
The only “smart” devices we have in our home are our phones. Mine and my husband’s phones. We do not own Leapsters, iPod Touches, E-readers, tablets, iPads, heat seeking missiles, or even traditional video games (except for my husband’s) and we are doing just fine. I actually had a flip phone complete with an antenna until just a few months ago (I broke down when I saw a documentary on Libya and every woman there seemed to have a smartphone up to her hijab). I just don’t see a need for the plethora of devices. I mean how many different computer sizes does one family need. It’s silly. I’m not buying into it. I am also trying to pass on a lesson to my kids that things do not make people happy. And that they can have expensive toys when they are old enough to get jobs and pay for them.
Human Interaction Anyone
Call me a luddite (look it up) but I think there is something sinister about the sudden tech obsessed shift in our culture. Everywhere I go I see parents on their devices with kids on their devices. I feel like they are missing out on each other. And I’m missing out on mommy gossip while waiting for my kids gymnastics class.
Children are highly vulnerable to tech addiction. The bright colors, intense stimulation, and gratification (get your mind out of the gutter) of winning pointless games can make for a great escape. But when the escape becomes more important than reality therein lies the problem. Children should be encouraged to appreciate the subtle wonders of the world around them like traffic jams and strip malls. Remember when we used to play in the woods all day? Can you believe our parents let us do that? If nothing else think of the colossal bill you may someday recieve for little Johnny’s, sorry, Aiden’s, stint at Passages of Malibu Tech Division. You know it’s coming!