Friday, July 29, 2011

Sping Cycle- I Want My MTV...

This week's Spin Cycle was "kids and technology" .  Which is going to let me air one of my recent concerns- how the the "best choices" we make for our kids sometimes end up being bad for them...

My kids don't deal directly with technology.  Yes, I have digital baby monitors, and we have a microwave oven.  PB and I have cell phones.  But it's not like LG is using the micro to make himself pizza rolls.  He just gets the products of my nuking up some snacks.  The don't know how to turn on the TV, have no idea what a DVD is, and to them the computer is "for Daddy's work".  I know some people out there are applauding me.  My kid don't have a TAG, or use my iPhone for games (although I admit that having YouTube to entertain them for long waits is great).  Their toys rarely contain batteries (and those that do came from relatives- I didn't buy them).  Mostly, they play with cars, or Legos, they run and ride their tricycles.  They beat each other up.  We read a lot of books.  Occasionally, they get a show.  One half hour.  Or, if they've started a movie, they get 3 commercials worth (start at the end of a commercial and when you've seen the next 3, the movie goes off-thank god for TiVo).  Sounds great, right?  I'm keeping them free from all the evils of modern technology.  My innocent little flowers, nothing polluting them.

EXCEPT, I have a niggling fear.  Kids today need electronic skills.  They will have to use a computer before they are out of grade school.  By the time my kids get to HS, a phone will probably be on the "back to school" list (I know of HSs where a laptop already is).  So, am I doing them a disservice by not introducing them early, in a way I think is best?  Should I be bringing up the Crayola site for LG and letting him color electronically?  Should little o be getting some little Einsteins (which could be the most irritating show around)?  Along with teaching them how to safely cross a street, and not to talk to strangers that are standing in front of them, do I need to teach them skills for navigating the electronic super highway, and to be wary of virtual strangers? ->  Here I should insert that at school kids from 3 and up have a computer in their classroom and the kids watch books on the computer, and play little computer games.  So, it's not like they have no expose what so ever.  LG loves watching the books on DVD.<-

Last night at swim, while LG waited for little o to finish up so they could go to the splash pond together, a little girl (maybe 5) waited for her little sister with us.  She was "alone" (her Mom was in the pool with said little sister).  Normally, I would hate this.  I would think that the Mom was a sucky fellow mom for letting me do the work of watching her kid without asking.  But that wasn't the case.  Her little girl sat with a smart phone (presumably her moms) and played a letter game for 1/2 an hour.  Quietly.  Not a fidget.  And LG looked longingly at her, and the phone.  It occurred to me that maybe by now he'd already know his letters if I downloaded something like this. 

It's a really deep and wide ocean to navigate.  Now that LG is in pre-school, though, I think we need to don some floaties and wade on in.  I just need to figure out how...

Go see the other Spinners and some one's kid can tell you how to sync your phone to your Outlook calendar, I promise. (though they probably can't help you find the remote)

8 comments:

Sprite's Keeper said...

Being that John is a geek and has a very healthy interest in gadgets, my resistance to Sprite learning how to use an iPod was a moot point. She actually has her own now. (John gave it to her when he got an iPhone.) We do withhold it for long car trips and situations like shopping at Costco where it's either let her sit in the cart and play to her heart's content on material we've already approved (Her current favorite is a "Monster at the end of this book" app which is actually interactive and forces the child to do something to make the story continue.) or repeatedly block her attempts to turn the freezer section into her own playhouse. :-)
You're linked!

Jan said...

I'm afraid my kids grew up in a very technological household, as well - while there were personal computers when they were quite small, we didn't own one (the cost was simply prohibitive). However, we had just about every other gadget known to mankind - my ex and I were the first in both our families to own an NES, VCR and a CD player. When new technology hit, we snatched it up (as soon as it became affordable), and the kids were all exposed to it quite early.

Now we have more computers in our home than we do people, and The Young One spends as much time as we'll allow on his. But even at 16, I have rules - he absolutely cannot have his computer in his bedroom; his computer desk is in the upstairs foyer and all I have to do is look up the staircase to see what he's doing (his back is to me, so he can't see that I'm there). Also, no computers and only 1 hour of video games on school nights (would this be a good time to mention he owns a Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3?), and that's only after homework is done. These rules will stay in place until he leaves for college because I'm the Mom and he's the kid, forever and ever, world without end, hallelujah.

Now, having said that, it eventually gets to the point where you have to give them some rope and see if they hang themselves. A couple of years ago, TYO decided to go to Pirate Bay and download some pirated software. The virus he downloaded with it was so incredibly nasty we didn't even bother trying to remove it. He then got A) more lectures than he cared to hear about paying for what you want and 2) a good lesson in how to save enough money for a new computer himself.

Michele said...

My boys are 27 & 25 and they were raised with technology because I'm a geek. Like Jan we had rules. I like to think that the rules kept my boys from getting into trouble and the technology kept them current.

VandyJ said...

Turbo was slow to catch on that video games were fun and to be able to play them. He has caught up considerably.
I know that Bruiser will catch on faster simply because he has Turbo to watch.
We will be maintaining certain rules--no TV or Computer in their respective bedrooms, we can see what and where they go when they go online and as parents we reserve the right to take away the tech stuff as we see fit.

Captain Dumbass said...

You should probably get him learning Mandarin at the same time.

Stacy Uncorked said...

Since both hubby and I are techno-geeks (me more so than hubby), Princess Nagger was doomed. But on the flip side, it did help her impress the teachers when she was having to be on a computer for one of her classes - in kindergarten...that totally flabbergasted me, but also made me feel less guilty about having her learn by observation (and giving her my hand-me-down laptop when I had to get a new one to keep plugged in for my biz...and fun.)

The key is definitely moderation - you've already got the 'rules' instilled about time limits, you'll have no problem with those floaties when you do decide to wade in... ;) Great Spin! :)

Spin: Technological Kid

formerlyonlyamovie said...

Most schools have computer 'class' (like Art, Music, Phys Ed) in elementary school - so your kids will likely catch on fast if you decide to wade in.
Saying that, being computer literate is a necessity. It doesn't hurt at all for kids to have that foundation at home.

I remember when my child was about 6 or 7 and he wanted a Gameboy badly. I resisted. When he finally got it, he spent lots of time with Pokemon games - and they had tons of reading in them. As a teacher, I always say I don't care if kids are reading cereal boxes, as long as they are reading - At that time, I adjusted my attitude and didn't care if they were reading Pokemon games. :-)
Good spin, MB.

formerlyonlyamovie said...

Most schools have computer 'class' (like Art, Music, Phys Ed) in elementary school - so your kids will likely catch on fast if you decide to wade in.
Saying that, being computer literate is a necessity. It doesn't hurt at all for kids to have that foundation at home.

I remember when my child was about 6 or 7 and he wanted a Gameboy badly. I resisted. When he finally got it, he spent lots of time with Pokemon games - and they had tons of reading in them. As a teacher, I always say I don't care if kids are reading cereal boxes, as long as they are reading - At that time, I adjusted my attitude and didn't care if they were reading Pokemon games. :-)
Good spin, MB.