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.
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!