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Technology and kids  RSS feed

 
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I am a limiter of electronics. I know, I know, I'm on it right now. The funny thing is I'm at work. I almost never get on the computer when I'm home. When I didn't work for 2 years I was almost never on the computer.

Now my kids have been on YouTube and I confess I've heard the finger family song more than I wish. However, the computer is in the living room, it's limited and it's supervised. Am I perfect? No. But I enjoy my kids whining about being the only ones they know without a tablet. I consider that a parenting win!

I have nieces and nephews who aren't limited at all with technology and I've been completely shocked to look at what they are watching. I had a young nephew watching videos about child rapists. An even younger nephew playing a game on the phone (he knows how to download his own games and he's 4 ya'll) that I wouldn't play it was so scary. Anything that's dark and has a bloody hand leading you shouldn't be seen as ok.

I'm told it's ok. I shouldn't limit them. They're going to need to know how to use computers and such to live in the real world. It's not THAT bad.

My son, who is 7, talks non-stop about Minecraft. You'd think he was on it all the time the way he talks. He does chores around the house to earn time to play and he's highly motivated to earn that time. Even with how limited he is I just want to quit the entire thing. I feel like it changes his entire attitude after he plays and Minecraft is supposed to be a really educational, good for you game. We have a timer, we tell him when it goes off he has to get off. We talk about how we expect him to get off without throwing a fit and even still, he gets upset. It's like taking away drugs from an addict.

This video does help cement my No Youtube view though. Scary stuff can be shown to your children!
 
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First I’ll say, Elle, that I agree with your viewpoint as you’ve explained it.  I could elaborate, but I think that’s not necessary.

I’ve seen your posts on various threads, and you may have explained your situation.  Are you a single parent?  Or, do you have a significant other who makes/builds?  The reason I ask is that I remember starting to be interested in bicycle mechanics, sawing & pounding nails into lumber, and all that sort of thing around age seven.  With many boys this not a bad thing to begin to encourage at that age… make or fix something instead of watching a screen.  Because it can begin, even in a small way, and can become (pardon any pun) a constructive stream in a boy’s life.

Hopng these comments don’t seem irrelevant.

I’ve seen Youtubes of 16 year old boys who have completed a tiny house on their own, because someone started teaching them woodworking, in a safe manner, when they were younger.  That’s something to be much prouder of, as a teenage guy, than being skilled at online gaming.

Another thing I remember doing at around age seven was taking apart a mechanical clock — of the sort that you can usually find in fair abundance at places like thrift stores.  I think I just needed a screwdriver to do that.  I don’t believe I was able to put it back together, but the exploration fascinated me.  Just some thoughts.
 
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This subject hits close to home for me. I've got a 2 and 5 year old. Back in college (like 2004), I read a lot of studies about the affects of screens upon the developing mind. Back then, people were only really writing about TV--the internet hadn't become the monster that it is now. But, the big problems with screens were

(1) physical inactivity
(2) lack of interaction--TV is very passive. There person only receives info. There's no back-and-forth like in a conversation.
(3) violence
(4) the constant changes that act as dopamine hits and reduce attention spans. Watch a kid's show and count how many times in a given minute the camera changes to a new shot. It's usually more than once per second! That's not natural for a child's brain.

The internet has taken the downsides of TV and magnified them. Kids are still inactive, and with autoplay; they are still very passive; it's ridiculously easy to run across violent videos/images; and the constant changes are even more magnified. You scroll through facebook and there's constantly new info/statuses that aren't connected in any logical sense. It's just one new thing after another, with additional dopamine hits from likes/comments.

Since I knew screens were bad, we tried really hard to limit them for our kids. I did better with my son than with my daughter. I think I made it to pretty much 18 months without him watching any screens, and when I started letting him see things, it was THE SAME VIDEO OVER AND OVER. That way his brain could actually process the info and make sense of it. So he watched the same 15 minutes of Frozen every day, while I used the bathroom. And as he got older, he got a bit more, but it was largely informational videos on youtube, and he watched those over and over. It helped that we had limited data on our satellite Internet, so we tried hard to not use it up.

But, I couldn't do nearly as well with my daughter. Since my son was watching videos, she saw them. And I still feel like an utter failure for that. And, my husband decided about the time that she was 1 that video games were awesome to play with my son. So he'd play Hot Wheels game on the old gamecube for half an hour+ every day with my son, to my utter horror. And now they watch videos together on youtube. So some days they'll spend more than 2 hours in front of screens. And when I try to drag my son away, he acts like an addict.

Thankfully, my daughter is generally not as interested in screens as my son, and gets bored easily. She had a few that she liked, so she watched Sir Patrick Stewart's Country Classics over and over and over again, while I tried to cook dinner or when she was sick (I view screens as drugs, and do use them when my kids are sick to keep them calm and restful so they can heal).

I'm grateful we don't have cellphones or Ipads (we have one of the latter, but it's not connected to the internet, and my son usually just used it to take pictures and video after video of himself.) And, since we only have one computer, it really helps from the kids getting to sit and surf like they can on an ipad or cellphone.

But, it's SO HARD. We've only done as well as we have because we don't have TV service, or mobile devices. But even just a TV for video games and computer, and we're spending a lot of time at screens wasting out minds away when we could be playing, imagining, building, learning.

It's also really hard to keep the kids from screens because, as a parent, you want a break. Zoning out in front of a computer is a nice break...but then the kids zone out with you. My husband wants to zone out and bond over playing video games and watching car races on youtube, and I want to zone out and scroll through facebook or watch an informational video on youtube, but whenever we do these things, the kids are sucked into the computer, too.

It's hard. So very hard.
 
elle sagenev
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Joel Bercardin wrote:First I’ll say, Elle, that I agree with your viewpoint as you’ve explained it.  I could elaborate, but I think that’s not necessary.

I’ve seen your posts on various threads, and you may have explained your situation.  Are you a single parent?  Or, do you have a significant other who makes/builds?  The reason I ask is that I remember starting to be interested in bicycle mechanics, sawing & pounding nails into lumber, and all that sort of thing around age seven.  With many boys this not a bad thing to begin to encourage at that age… make or fix something instead of watching a screen.  Because it can begin, even in a small way, and can become (pardon any pun) a constructive stream in a boy’s life.

Hopng these comments don’t seem irrelevant.

I’ve seen Youtubes of 16 year old boys who have completed a tiny house on their own, because someone started teaching them woodworking, in a safe manner, when they were younger.  That’s something to be much prouder of, as a teenage guy, than being skilled at online gaming.

Another thing I remember doing at around age seven was taking apart a mechanical clock — of the sort that you can usually find in fair abundance at places like thrift stores.  I think I just needed a screwdriver to do that.  I don’t believe I was able to put it back together, but the exploration fascinated me.  Just some thoughts.



I am happily married to a wonderful man. I'm the builder though. The kids have helped me knock down walls, build walls, paint, etc. I kept busy while I wasn't working by remodeling. My son doesn't have an interest in that though. He'll hammer a bit but it's not his thing. My daughter loves it so we build birdhouses and such together.

My son is interested in driving. We live out and let him sit on our lap and drive down the farming road to grandma and grandpas and such. He likes to dig with the tractors as well. My husband does do the car work. I suppose we could send our son out to "help" him change the oil and such. He may enjoy that. Never thought about it before. Thanks!
 
elle sagenev
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Oh man mama, I feel you. I feel like a failure every single time they get electronic time. I'm really trying to stop that though. My husband made a very logical argument FOR Saturday morning cartoons. I grew up watching them, so did he, we are both smart successful people. So now our kids get up and watch some cartoons Saturday mornings (we only have Netflix).

I think we need to have limits set. After writing this post I discussed it with my husband and we came up with Screen Time Rules. I copied those rules below for ya.  2 hours is a lot of screen time. I argued for one, he argued for more, we compromised. My husband sent me a picture of our son cleaning the toilet to earn extra screen time today. It wasn't on the earning list but he gets really creative about earning money and electronics time. So we have set rules now and I feel better. I am happy with no electronics during the week. I can live with some vegging during the weekend. Particularly since it's cold out.

I'd encourage you to have this talk with your spouse and set your own rules.

Oh and I am going to break all of these in January. I'm gearing up for it. Our daughter is having a cataract removed in her right eye. She's going to have to patch her left eye for 2 hours a day to train her mind to use an eye it's never been able to see out of before. The Dr. told us this was going to be ROUGH. Really rough for the first bit. He suggested giving her screen time. Something that doesn't require too much effort on her part while she's learning to see. So, in January my kids will probably be watching TV for 2 hours every day until our daughter can see. He did suggest giving her a tablet to play the games. We thought about it. I researched tablets. I thought we could buy them each one for Christmas. I just couldn't do it though. Reading the reviews and seeing all those tiny kids glued to tablets, I couldn't do it.

Nicole Alderman wrote:This subject hits close to home for me. I've got a 2 and 5 year old. Back in college (like 2004), I read a lot of studies about the affects of screens upon the developing mind. Back then, people were only really writing about TV--the internet hadn't become the monster that it is now. But, the big problems with screens were

(1) physical inactivity
(2) lack of interaction--TV is very passive. There person only receives info. There's no back-and-forth like in a conversation.
(3) violence
(4) the constant changes that act as dopamine hits and reduce attention spans. Watch a kid's show and count how many times in a given minute the camera changes to a new shot. It's usually more than once per second! That's not natural for a child's brain.

The internet has taken the downsides of TV and magnified them. Kids are still inactive, and with autoplay; they are still very passive; it's ridiculously easy to run across violent videos/images; and the constant changes are even more magnified. You scroll through facebook and there's constantly new info/statuses that aren't connected in any logical sense. It's just one new thing after another, with additional dopamine hits from likes/comments.

Since I knew screens were bad, we tried really hard to limit them for our kids. I did better with my son than with my daughter. I think I made it to pretty much 18 months without him watching any screens, and when I started letting him see things, it was THE SAME VIDEO OVER AND OVER. That way his brain could actually process the info and make sense of it. So he watched the same 15 minutes of Frozen every day, while I used the bathroom. And as he got older, he got a bit more, but it was largely informational videos on youtube, and he watched those over and over. It helped that we had limited data on our satellite Internet, so we tried hard to not use it up.

But, I couldn't do nearly as well with my daughter. Since my son was watching videos, she saw them. And I still feel like an utter failure for that. And, my husband decided about the time that she was 1 that video games were awesome to play with my son. So he'd play Hot Wheels game on the old gamecube for half an hour+ every day with my son, to my utter horror. And now they watch videos together on youtube. So some days they'll spend more than 2 hours in front of screens. And when I try to drag my son away, he acts like an addict.

Thankfully, my daughter is generally not as interested in screens as my son, and gets bored easily. She had a few that she liked, so she watched Sir Patrick Stewart's Country Classics over and over and over again, while I tried to cook dinner or when she was sick (I view screens as drugs, and do use them when my kids are sick to keep them calm and restful so they can heal).

I'm grateful we don't have cellphones or Ipads (we have one of the latter, but it's not connected to the internet, and my son usually just used it to take pictures and video after video of himself.) And, since we only have one computer, it really helps from the kids getting to sit and surf like they can on an ipad or cellphone.

But, it's SO HARD. We've only done as well as we have because we don't have TV service, or mobile devices. But even just a TV for video games and computer, and we're spending a lot of time at screens wasting out minds away when we could be playing, imagining, building, learning.

It's also really hard to keep the kids from screens because, as a parent, you want a break. Zoning out in front of a computer is a nice break...but then the kids zone out with you. My husband wants to zone out and bond over playing video games and watching car races on youtube, and I want to zone out and scroll through facebook or watch an informational video on youtube, but whenever we do these things, the kids are sucked into the computer, too.

It's hard. So very hard.



SCREEN TIME RULES

1. NO SCREEN TIME DURING THE WEEK
a. Friday-Sunday only
i. Unless there is a holiday, then at parent discretion
2. Screen time may be earned during the week but cannot be used until the weekend
a. See screen time earning sheet
3. Screen time is limited to 2 hours per day
a. Unless it is family screen time. Then it is at parents discretion
4. Earned screen time can be taken away for excessive whining, begging, bad behavior attempted to gain screen time during non-screen time days.
 
pollinator
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TV and computers have their uses, just like some that have been mentioned. When Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers originally aired on PBS, they were on from 4-5 so that mom's could get dinner going. I didn't generally go for rigid limits around it, but I would regularly get tired of the noise and kids in the house, and shut everything off and throw them outside. I didn't use it as a reward so not having it wasn't a punishment. I never really felt like a failure with my parenting, maybe because I was young and not terribly self-reflective. I did the best I could at any given point in time, and isn't that all any of us can do.
 
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