Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

Electronics Widow

We have three iPod Touch owners in our household these days. I am not one of them. And when I pick up my (paper) book to read (turning paper pages) while everyone else posting on Facebook, playing Flood, or whatever else it is they’re doing, I feel hopelessly old fashioned. And disgruntled. And worried that screen time will forever drown out books, even though everyone in our house is a good reader.

It’s not that I don’t spend time on the computer or Facebook or email — I do — but I grew up, as you surely did, in an era when you talked on the phone or you went outside or you read a book. Sure, our generation had TV. And my parents fretted about it. But according to the New York Times article, “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction,” TV doesn’t have the same impact on the brain that multitasking with several technologies does. The article explores the lure of electronics, the effects on kids’ brains, and kids’ ability to focus. It’s worth reading. It’s also overwhelming. Are we raising children with brains unable to focus, concentrate, or listen? Will their adult brain capacity, like I imagine their standard of living, be lower than ours. Or just different?

When your kids are little, it’s easy to monitor what they’re doing with technology. But once they’re older, whether they own the technology or not, it’s much more difficult to know what they’re up to (and if you think you know, you might have your head in the sand) — the pull of friends’ houses, for one, or the time at home on their own while, if you’re like me, you’re grocery shopping in peace. You can bet they’re not doing their homework. Well, my daughter will be doing it. The boys I know, including mine? Not so much.

And yet, despite my Luddite sensibilities, I know the impact of not allowing your kids access to modern technology when everyone else has it.  It becomes the forbidden fruit, the reason your kid hangs out at other kids’ homes, even those kids who aren’t really friends. According to one parent I know, your kid is out of the social loop if she doesn’t own a cell phone. Not good, she says. I didn’t know.

I’m a big believer in balance, but once the technology enters your home, the slope is as slippery as they get (watch out), and despite all good intentions, your idea of balance becomes skewed indeed. Constantly tricky.

Who knew there would come a day when watching TV together would be considered quality family time? How quaint.

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