What Do You Think About Expensive Tech Toys for Kids?
Monday, September 17th, 2012
Seems Toys ‘R Us has a new technological toy for kids, and it comes in at $150. For that amount, kids can have a few apps and get online.
I’ve posted before about how I’ve hung back when it comes to technology and my kids. It’s not that I don’t want them to know how to play a computer game. I don’t think it’s bad if they spend half an hour every so often on the computer bursting balloons and accumulating points while moving to the next level. I played Atari when I was little; I get it. They won’t go brain dead, or un-learn their ability to read. They won’t forget how to go outside and make friends and ride a bike.
But if they have that toy and can use it whenever they want, carry it wherever they go, stare at it in the car and in their room and while they brush their teeth – that is what they will want to do. They’re kids. They like blinking things. And it’s so easy to get lost in technology sometimes, even as an adult. I’m guessing we’ve all lost half a night looking up old friends on Facebook!
That’s really the problem I have with tech toys aimed at kids. Kids get lost in screens these days, circling from computer to television to gadget and back again, spending time they should be playing outside, imagining, creating, and being with other kids. They stare at a screen that can’t respond, interact, or encourage them to use their creativity. From what I’ve seen, most technological devices do more to isolate people than they do to bring them together. (Ever seen a couple at a restaurant, each person on his or her own device, tapping at the screen like there’s no tomorrow while not speaking to their ‘date?’ I have, too many times to count!)
It’s not that I think technology is horrible and that kids should never play video games. As it is with most things in my life, I believe moderation is key. But I know if I purchase a tech toy like this for my daughter, I will find her locked in her closet flinging enraged winged creatures through the air rather than marching Barbies around the bedroom floor with her sister, or creating a bird costume out of paper bags, scissors, and craft feathers. It will be an ongoing battle of, “When can I play my game? Why can’t I play my game? YOU NEVER LET ME PLAY MY GAME!” (Insert door slamming here.)
We have enough battles to fight on a daily basis. I don’t need to add another one to the mix.
So the newest technological gadget won’t be under our Christmas tree this year. I know it won’t make me a popular mom, at least in this home. I’ll let the girls play on my tablet every once in a while instead, and then I’ll take that $150 and spend it on a day trip to the zoo, and on a weekend jaunt for ice cream, and on some craft supplies so we can build a volcano, and on a ferry ride across the river in Savannah. Those are the memories I want my girls to have when they grow older and think back to their childhood; and we can’t make those memories while staring at a computer screen.
What are your thoughts on buying kids their own expensive technological gadgets? Are you for or against it and why?