There Are So Many Views Swirling Around About Children Using Technology and How We Should Navigate This Relatively New Parental Terrain…
Should my toddler get screen time?
How much should they get?
What about my 7-year-old?
And when should my kid be allowed to get a phone?
Is all this tech melting their brains?
There’s No Doubt About It, Along with Our children Using Technology Comes a Myriad of Questions…
Gary Vee says,
I don’t think kids are using too much tech.Gary Vee
In fact, I refuse to limit or restrict hours on a screen for my children.
Because it’s prepping them for the world that is going to exist. Straight up.
I get it…Some days I feel this way, too…
Afterall, I don’t want to limit my kids so much that they are behind in performance…Because like Gary says, this is the world we are living in and the direction we’re headed.
(You can read Gary’s whole article on children using technology here. It’s fairly entertaining.)
Then exists CEO Arianna Huffington at the other end of the spectrum. Here’s what she has to say,
Technology allows us to do amazing things that have immeasurably improved our lives. But at the same time, it’s accelerated the pace of our lives beyond our ability to keep up. And it’s getting worse. We’re being controlled by something we should be controlling. And it’s consuming our attention and crippling our ability to focus, think, be present, and truly connect with ourselves and the world around us.Arianna Huffington
I can’t deny the truth of her argument either…
In fact, just this week I forgot my phone charger at my parents’ house and felt the withdrawal symptoms without the “connection” that my phone provides…A device that I didn’t have or need for over half of my life, now I can’t live without for a few hours without feeling the pain…Ouch.
So What is the Right Answer? How Are REAL Parents Handling This New Age of Technology and Youth?
That’s what we all want to know…From parents who are in the trenches right now, right?
That’s why I decided to ask my lovely writers how they navigate the world of kids and tech. It was no big surprise that their responses ran the gamut, too.
Here’s what they had to say…
Amy Mendez, Mom of 2 Girls Ages 4 & 6 Says…
We have one iPad. There are only educational games and apps on it. They are not allowed on the internet or social media. And they get to use it for 30 min each. Like maybe 3 times a week.
Mostly we play outside or with friends. Friends are not allowed to bring their iPads etc to our house. And if they bring a phone it is used for means of communication with their parents and that is it.
Jen LaChance, Mom of a 4-year-old Daughter Says This…
This may be an unpopular opinion/parenting move, but yes, I let my kid watch YouTube! She likes Ryan’s Toy Review better than cartoons, so I don’t really see the problem.
But every time the word YouTube is mentioned in a mom group page or whatever, it always seems it’s negative. Like, “My kid is throwing tantrums, and I don’t know why… we don’t let them watch YouTube.”
My daughter talks about them like they are part of our family! Yesterday she said, do you know the rainbow has 6 colors? I asked where she learned that she said, “Ryan’s mommy taught us”! Lol! At least she’s learning something.”
Read more from Jen here.
Staci Pinkley, Tech Teacher of 1st-8th Graders and Mom to Two Teenage Girls Says…
I am a tech teacher for students 1st-8th. My ultimate goal is to build a relationship with the students, teach them to be digitally literate but most importantly to be a good digital citizen.
I have to model that through my own usage…And that looks different for some people.
I like to post my food…
And I like to post memories…
I like to use social media to connect and help and share- you won’t find negativity on my wall. I’ll disengage if a conversation is volatile online…
I have spoken at a few conferences for teachers and there is always pushback regarding how I run my classroom. Mostly from people that are afraid of it…and that is ok; I get it isn’t for everyone…
But I’m raising daughters in this “shiny object” world too and I have an obligation to them as well.
I am intentional about plugged in times and I have chosen to meet my students where they are…The more we try to take it (tech) away and make digital connection seem like it is bad the more they will want to abuse it.
Cell phones are welcome in my class – they aren’t out, they leave them behind if they have to leave the room. They can use their phones, yes, when I give them permission. It is a trust thing.
Do I monitor it? Yes… I teach them how to use apps and communicate the right way.
Do they make mistakes? Yes… and we learn together how to fix it.
The internet is 30 years old. My students have never known a world without it… so I feel a huge responsibility to model good behaviors, build trust and embrace their digital world.
Read more from Staci here.
Jessica Crepps, Crunchy Momma of 5 From Preschool Ages to Teenagers Says…
Technology has taken over a huge role in parenting for most of us…
For us, we still chase kids at ball games. It isn’t easy but you won’t see a phone (or any device) in my kids’ hands just so they will stay still.
Kids are meant to be crazy and busy. They aren’t meant to sit still and watch a screen non-stop.
In our house, we limit TV to evenings, after baths.
Outside time is all the time.
Little brains need to develop outside, using their imagination, not watching or playing games.
When your kids, all ages, spend more time with a screen than they do you, don’t wonder why depression and a disconnect from reality happen.
As for preteens and teens, ours have phones. They have social media. I monitor it, probably too close. In today’s world, teens need phones. My kids have practices and games and we need to communicate. However, they are outside, more than on their phones. I haven’t had to limit their exposure to their phones, yet. For now, they’re content playing in rain with their siblings, rather than on their phones.
I realize I’m raising 5 kids, with limited technology, and that I’m the minority. I’m totally ok with that.
Read more from Jessica here.
After Scouring the Internet and Talking to These Brilliant Moms on the Topic…
There Are 3 BIG THINGS We Need to Remember About Our Children Using Technology…
- There’s no one way. There are just as many parenting styles as there are parents. So don’t judge how another parent approaches tech. If you see a mom give her phone to a toddler at a restaurant…It’s okay. Chances are she was the one outside playing with that baby all day long and just wanted a sec to enjoy a conversation with her spouse or a moment of time where she isn’t vacuuming up cheerios.
- If you allow your kids to use tech, then teach them how to use it responsibly. Just like kids don’t come out of the womb with manners (I mean, they’re basically little wildlings, right?!), they also don’t come out knowing digital responsibility. Parenting is a 24/7 job…Even if YouTube “babysits” for a few minutes while you’re getting stuff done. So teach them good boundaries regarding how much time they spend on tech, the content they view, and how to interact with others in an appropriate way. Teach them that apps and “feeds” are designed to be addictive, and that scrolling can be a big-time time-waster.
- Model what you want them to do…Matt and I both work from home. We both spend a TON of time on screens. That can definitely make it hard to model screen-free behavior. One of the biggest things we can teach our kids is the difference between the time we spend CREATING CONTENT versus the time we spend CONSUMING CONTENT. One has the potential to make an income and lights up our brains (creating) and one is passive and relatively mind-numbing (consuming). If you don’t want your kids to scroll through Instagram or spend all day snapping (is that still a thing?), then be mindful of your own screen time. Remember that, no matter what our world looks like, your kids will always be a copy of what you model to them…So make sure you’re being the type of person you want them to be. Want to know more about how you can live life on more “unplugged” terms? Click here to read this article now.
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Do you have your own views on how to manage screen time with your kids? We’d LOVE to hear about it in the comments. Scroll down now and let us know how you manage your kids and tech.