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No Ipads: For Steve Jobs’ Kids or Mine

I have something in common with Steve Jobs! Who would have thought? The now deceased technological icon lead a completely different life than mine, but his kids didn’t have an Ipad and neither do mine!
Joshua at the age of 3.
Joshua at the age of 3.
I saw an interesting article the other day about how he chose to ban Ipads for kids in his home. You can read the article here. It struck a chord with me because it cemented what I have been feeling for a long time. Staring at a screen for hours on end is not good for kids! Before you send me hate mail and tell me that I am out of touch living my off-grid life on my little mountain in the country, let me say that I have been there. Hand-held devices were not very popular when my oldest was really young, but I let him use the computer all the time for games, especially PBS kids games. It seemed like he was a pro at using the mouse before he was three years old. He could get sucked in so quickly.

He is now eight and just the other day he asked me, “How do people have time to play video games? There are too many things to do!” Of course he has the typical schoolwork and farm chores for a boy living on a homestead. What he’s really talking about is the time he wants to spend riding his bike, reading Charlotte’s Web, building with his legos, and creating his own written codes with the “spy decoder” kit he got in a recent care package from Grandpa and Grandma. His question made me smile because I know how he feels. There are just not enough hours in the day to do everything and learn everything that I want to know.

Back to Steve Jobs. This is what he said about the Ipad, “They haven’t used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home.” I feel a little vindication reading this because getting rid of technology for my kids was a hard thing to do! Honestly, sometimes a mother just needs peace and quiet and a hand-held device can provide that when you feel like you are about to lose your mind. But I feel vindicated by Jobs’ statement because I’ve been told that I’m a bad mother for taking away TV and video games. I feel vindicated because if the technological icon that was Steve Jobs felt that technology is detrimental to our kids’ development, then I must be on to something.

I was surprised recently when I saw that tech companies are now making toddler proof hand-held devices. They come with kid friendly case, games, and apps. They can be thrown, sat on, spilled juice on, you name it. But don’t worry because there is a no questions asked warranty if it breaks. Hmmm…I’m really trying not to sound judgmental here, but really?! We are giving an expensive technological toy to a completely irresponsible toddler or preschooler? But it’s okay because it was put in an unbreakable case with foolproof parental controls to keep them away from the undesirable parts of the internet.

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Is it just me or do you feel like our kids’ childhood is being stolen? Whatever happened to running around, playing, and reading real books? One review I read was from a mother who was so excited about a particular product because she could set the controls to require her son to read for 30 minutes before the device would unlock the videos and games. If reading is your primary goal, why give them an electronic device in the first place? I guarantee a kid will turn to a book when given enough time away from videos and games. I’ve seen it happen. I know that there are parents who are taking advantage of technology by loading tablets with books and homeschooling materials. That’s such a great idea to save on space! And I’m not saying that an occasional game or video is going to mess up our kids. I just wonder what is going to happen to this generation who is spending MOST of their time staring at a screen.

Children’s minds are still forming and growing. They are little sponges and constantly learning. Their brains are like elastic and stretch with each new experience and activity. Each experience builds on previous ones and they begin to learn critical thinking and problem solving. They develop their imaginations by exploring the world around them and inventing their own games. Children develop language better and have bigger vocabularies by reading books and writing their own stories. Playing with others develops valuable relational skills and lessons about working together. Contributing to the functioning of a home by helping and doing chores creates a strong work ethic and keeps them from thinking they deserve to have everything done for them. Can they really learn all those things and develop their full potential by staring at a screen all day?

Childhood is a time they will never get back! I am sad for this generation because they don’t know what they are missing. They will never again have the time and childhood wonder that they have now to explore and learn. I have such fond memories or reading when I was a kid. Stories really did come alive to me! Now that my son is reading, I can see that in him too. Yes, I’m sad for this generation, but I’m thankful that I have the ability to make a different choice for my children. So…no Ipads for my kids!

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About JaimieB

Jaimie lives with her husband on their off-grid homestead known online as An American Homestead. They live with their two sons and her parents Tim and Joann on 50 acres located deep in the American Ozark Mountains.

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12 comments

  1. I so agree with you, Jamie. And if you don’t mind my saying so, putting books (school books and otherwise) into the children’s hands rather than using an computer or tablet helps to keep paper books around because, honestly, the future looks bleak for paper books and they don’t need batteries or other powers to run on. If a computer goes on the blip, the books are still on the shelf. Like you, I grew up on books and wouldn’t trade that for any electronic device.

    • Thanks Jean. 🙂 I read something not too long ago (although I can’t remember where) saying that schools are beginning to not require children to practice writing after the second grade. They are using computers instead. The article stated that research has been done to show that the act of putting pencil to paper makes connections in the brain for a child that a computer cannot emulate. Practicing handwriting is an important learning tool for more than just how to write something legibly. I wish I could find the article. It was so good!

  2. I completely agree with electronic devices. We have not had a T.V in our home for about 7 years now. I know at times the kids miss it, I do not. Who has time. At the end of a long work day, cooking, cleaning, dishes, prepping food for the next day there is no time. I would rather read a book, not a device to read on. My kids love to read. At this given time there is no less than a couple hundred books in our home. As for homework it has to be done on a computer, they have Chrome Books at school, and as of now they do not teach writing to students. Days are spent walking the dog, playing games,normal everyday things I grew up doing, but kids nowadays not so much.Electronics are okay but like anything else can be extremely harmful is given no rules or guidelines to go with it. We have discussed things like video games, another no-no in this home. Glad my kids agree we do not need things like that to make us happy.

  3. A few years ago, my husband was on a campout with the younger children of our family. While on a hike with them, neighboring campers called the police and reported him for neglect because they were hiking on a hot day in the summer. When I arrived at the campground, the Sheriff’s deputies were waiting for them to complete the hike and proceeded to question me. I actually came on quite strong in voicing my opinion of people who come from the city to camp and even bring some computer device for their little child to play with rather get into the dirt, hiking, etc. I also mentioned that I had just returned from dropping a 15 passenger van load of young people, including three of our boys, off at a Marine base for a week of hard physical training. They did not prepare for that by sitting at the picnic table playing computer games while camping. I also mentioned that if it was too hot for a hike, they probably should close their trails. Case closed. We got a free night at the campground for any inconvenience to us. But it is sad to see how much this generation is consumed by electronic devices, let alone the parents who cannot see what their children are really missing.

  4. Hey Jaimie good info here. Been trying to get myself and the kids off the electronics more here lately. Its sad because really most of my childhood was in front of a screen of some sort in my “free” time. I don’t want that to end up being my childrens childhood. You and Zac are an inspiration for my family. Keep up the good work!

  5. I am not able to copy and paste the link, but the article is “Writing by hand benefits the brain: the lowdown on longhand” by Ainissa Ramirez.

  6. Agreed! We have just recently sold our main tv…and will be weaning our techy-kids off their devices in the next few months..I am guilty for allowing them on tablets. cell phones and computers while we worked the last few years on flipping our house, but now that we have sold and have moved out of the big city, we are “stepping down” from the cyber world…I have limited their time on the devices for now, and will be removing them completely a month before the big move off grid… The hardest part of the battle was the big city kids/classmates and the peer pressure that “every one else has one”…I’m excited to watch my kids get a chance at the kind of life I enjoyed as a child..playing in the woods, catching bugs, climbing trees and chasing chickens 🙂

  7. I agree! In a similar vein, my daughter spent some ‘Grandma’ money at a store today, for a toy. We got home and she tried to use it. It only half did what it was supposed to do and she was disappointed. Later, she built a ‘house’ from blankets and cushions, etc. in our living room. I asked her which was more fun….her new toy or building a house. Three guesses which she chose and the first two don’t count! 😉 “Experiences over Stuff, including Screens!”

  8. What are these folks going to do when an EMP hits us??

  9. Great Article. I have never owned a TV and I am 57 years old. I have 2 married daughters who have children and they have never owned a TV. Their kids don’t do electronic games either. We are healthy happy families and are enjoying life to its fullest.

  10. I agree 100%. My five year old grandson is addicted to Netflix and his NABI (toddler tablet). I just today cancelled my Netflix and his NABI is being put away. I told my daughter today that he sounds like an alcoholic begging for a drink whe he can’t have them. This is ridiculous! I never allowed my daughter to have electronic games when she was small. We live on a farm and she had plenty to keep her occupied and so does my grandson. When he doesn’t have those things in front of him he uses his imagination and really plays. He actually spent two days last week playing with a stack of washcloths I had him help fold. And give him a box or a magnet and he is a happy boy. It is our faults they are getting hooked on these things not theirs. Things are changing here and he is better off for it.

  11. I know this comment is a little late but I thoroughly appreciated this post. I feel the same about children. I also think adults spend entirely too much time on electronical devices. I feel the effects are still not totally known to us but it is clear that it is having a great affect on people’s attention spans and level of irritability. I am grateful for the information available to us at the touch of our fingertips but what are we sacrificing to obtain it… I digress… It’s just nice to see comments from others and not feel like a total weirdo. sigh..

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