Technology and our Children

Technology and our Children

Let me start this post by giving you an insight into my daily morning routine.

Its 5:45AM on any given day, it could be Monday, Friday, or Sunday, it truly doesn’t matter when you are 5 years old and the sun is up. You play quietly in your room for a couple minutes, but quickly you have that burning desire to go see what other people in the house are doing. Being 5, it has yet to cross your mind that people may be sleeping, and enjoying the comfort and solace of their bed. You sneak into your parents’ bedroom and stand inches away from your father’s face, just hoping that he will open his eyes and interact with you. After exactly 21 seconds of awkward staring you muster up the courage to use words, and you attempt to communicate with the sleeping giant. After a series of nonsensical sounds that closely mimic the language of the humpback whale, you are invited to crawl into bed and/or go play in your room until 6:30 (and your parents know you can tell time, because you have shown them time and time again this is a skill that you possess). You choose to get in bed and start a conversation, full well knowing this will lead you one step closer to your end goal. After a series of brief interactions you go for the goal and take a shot at what you wanted the whole time.

“Dad…can I play a game on your phone?”

If any of you are parents, you have probably experienced your own rendition of this exact experience. And while I am comforted to know that I am not alone in this experience, I still found myself in a predicament that any parent faces. What are the rules and boundaries of technology with my children?

While I am huge lover and supporter of technology, and promote its ability to do amazing things, educate, entertain, and otherwise make our life better, I still had that nagging feeling that I needed to set clear guidelines for my children. While I do not claim to be a parenting expert, I have yet to deeply damage my children, and by all accounts they seem to be doing well so far. So without further ado, here are my Top 5 tips for “Technology and your Children”

1) They have to ask. That’s right, call me old fashioned, but my children have to ask before they can have screen time. Be it my iPhone, the iPad, TV, computer, or any other screens they can come up with…they need to ask.
2) They use it in a central location. I like to see what my kids are up to, and I like to be able to help them out if they need assistance.
3) Only approved apps. My children are geniuses! I mean really, they figured out how to work an iPhone themselves by the age of three (Insert sarcasm filter here). But really, I have created a folder on my iPhone and iPad that is just apps for the kids.
4) Encourage creation! I always encourage my children to use apps where they can create something, are asked to make decisions, and they can take pride in the end product. There is always a time and place for games and entertainment, but it is awesome to watch my children learn and create while they are having fun.
5) Set a good example. Lets face it; technology is a major part of our lives. I am regularly on some form of technology for both professional and personal reasons. That said, when it is dinner time, family time, or other important times, the screen gets put away.

So there you have it. What tips do you have? What has been working for you and your children?

Until next time,

Jason

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