Electronics: A Thought on Technology
Many of you have probably heard a lot of talk about parents using television to “babysit” their children. If you are trying to get something done, you turn on the TV, park your children in front of it and voila, instant babysitter. Some parents embrace this, some do not. Some studies say that it is very bad for your child; others say that depending on the program it can go good for your child. Many of the discussions I have heard on the subject generally tend to align with the first. It goes hand in hand with video games consuming our children’s lives, increasing child obesity, antisocial behaviors, and laziness.
Now to be honest, I have mixed reviews about this. I am a very technology centered person, as is my fiancé. My daughter, despite being only two, can easily work my iPhone like a pro. She knows which remote goes to what, and she knows that the keyboard and mouse only work if the computer is on. She is already following in our technology savvy footsteps. Some parents would look at us and sneer that my child knows the opening song to a few programs, mainly Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
To those parents, I say mind your own business. My child watches TV, but she also spends a good portion of her day outside playing in the sun, and she has the tan lines to prove it! Yes, she knows a lot of the opening songs of the shows she loves, but that is also because we sing them all the time! As for knowing how to use my iPhone and tablet, well all I have to say is that when she goes to school and needs to know how to use things like that, she can tutor your kid who can’t.
As you can tell, I am an advocate for children and electronics. Whether you want to admit it or not, our world is growing more technological by the nanosecond. Introducing technology to my daughter earlier on is only going to strengthen her aptitude with them. Not to mention, kids can learn a ton from many of the education games out there. I stumbled across a blog here on wordpress filled with great information and great apps for your smartphone and tablet. And guess what? Many of these games are educational and fun. My daughter loves them. Thank you, iGameMom, your blog rocks. (I highly recommend parents, or babysitters, to visit it. )
I actually had a slight confrontation about electronics and children with a coworker. He is kind of earthy and I was showing a picture of my daughter wearing my fiancé’s gaming headset to another coworker when he said, rudely I might add, (this is a true quote, by the way) “Wow your daughter is already playing video games. You better be careful or she will end up as one of those teenagers with acne and no social life.” Seriously? Hi, this is my iPhone and it wants to punch you in the face. First of all, gaming doesn’t cause acne. I am positive of that. Do you see a warning sign on the gaming console saying Warning: Use of this product will cause acne, make you fat, and destroy any hope at having friends. No, I am pretty sure it doesn’t. Second, obviously I don’t to let her sit all day in front of the TV all, can’t you see the tan on that child? It isn’t good for her, and it’s not good for my electric bill either. And third, mind you own business!
Why do people have such a condescending attitude about involving electronics into a child’s daily routine? You can easily turn any game, or television show into a special bonding moment. For example, I have a wonderful app on my tablet that works with my daughter on her colors and her shapes. She adores this game. We sit down together on the couch and play together. She laughs, I laugh, and she is learning. As for television? Well my daughter has a lot of energy at night for some reason. So, to help her wind down we turn on the TV and cuddle on the couch. We call this our Cuddle Time. She curls up next to me with her teddy bear and her blanket and we watch a movie. Gosh I am such a bad parent!
Now I understand that some people take electronics to the extreme. There are some people who let their children park it in front the TV or computer all day and never move. Yes this is bad, I get it.However I also feelthis is just as bad as filling every waking moment of your child’s life with some sort of educational activity, electronics or not. Anything to the extreme can be detrimental to your child’s development, and health. The key is to use a healthy mix. Instead of using the TV as a babysitter, perhaps involve them in what you are doing. My daughter loves to empty the dishwasher. I just have her hand me the stuff as I put them away. You don’t always need to distract them if you are trying to get something done. Instead, use TV in a meaningful way to enhance their day. Make it an after supper exclusive, or a lure to get up early in the morning. You guys are smart, you will think of something. Just stop sneering at those of us who do.
The point of this blog is that you shouldn’t feel bad about putting on the TV for your children, just as you shouldn’t feel bad about turning it off and pushing them outside to get some nice vitamin D. It’s all about the mix.