My kids are growing up in a world so different than from when I was growing up. I remember growing up and listening to my Walkman while mowing the lawn. While I belted out the lyrics to Randy Travis’s Forever And Ever Amen, I was thinking how cool it was to be able to listen to music while outside. My kids can’t believe how clunky those Walkmans were compared to their 1 inch by 1 inch ipods. Technology has come a long way….and I have mixed emotions about that.
Before Shane and I even became parents, we made a decision to not have video games in our home. The reason why is not my story to tell but we had a powerful experience with a family member that continues to shape our parenting when it come with devices and video games. Our kids don’t have their own devices other than their tiny ipods filled with music. I have always hesitated to write about how our family approaches technology and our limits with our children because I never want to make it seem like what we are doing is the absolute right thing and those who do it differently are doing it wrong. Every child is different. Every parent is different. Every situation is different. There is not right or wrong as long as you are doing what you feel is best for your family.
Last week I had a phone conversation with Nate Berkus. He recently became a father and he chatted about how it had changed his view on the world. One night they went out to eat at a restaurant and all the kids there were on devices and it really had an impact on him. When a company called Finny contacted Nate about a new parental control app and a campaign called #DevicesDown, he saw the value in it. Technology is not bad (even though it scares me sometimes!) And we will never get away from it. Our kids will never get away from it. We need to make sure that along with moderation, that they are using it to in appropriate ways and to help improve themselves, not just for fun.
Finny is a free app and is available for Android now and will be available for Apple products at the end of this month. Not only is it free, but they will donate $1 to an educational charity for every download. How it works…. You set time limits and can set it to interrupt their play with a quiz. If they pass the quiz, they get more play time. It not only helps them learn new things, but hopefully helps their time management skills. Maybe when they grow up they won’t spend their time on Facebook instead of doing the laundry….(points finger to self)! You can read more about what it can do and how it works on their site.
And really, moderation is something we (as adults) can improve on too. I have been praying about what I can do to improve personally and as a mother. Now I won’t walk you down the path of all my faults and weaknesses, but the one that comes to mind now is not being on the computer at all when the kids are at home. Now when your job is online and you have a kindergartner with a 2 hour school day, that can be a challenge. I have tried to manage my time better so I can get all the necessary things done in that two hours and then I can do the off screen things like projects and photo shoots while he is here. He LOVES to be my helper :) Obviously there will be times when I will need to get something online done during the day, but I am trying to be more aware of the time spent there. At the end of the day, I want my kids to have memories of me being present and involved, not in front of a screen.
What are some of the ways that you handle technology in your family or for you yourself? I’d love to hear your experiences and perspectives!