Is Technology Babysitting My Kids?
I admit it — I'm guilty. We're all guilty. We've read the articles about getting off our phones and immersing ourselves into our children's lives.
Too many times I have been social networking when I hear, “Look, Mommy, look!” And, to my shame, I try to finish typing my sentence before I actually look up.
She probably has arms of steel from hanging onto the monkey bars long enough for me to glance up at her.
Technology makes things easier. It makes everything easier! My own parents enjoyed its spoils when they hooked up a portable DVD player in the back of the van during our 2001 family trip to Austin, TX.
Fourteen years later, I have my own little one, and I love how the iPad can hold her attention on road trips, which happen frequently being a military family.
But do I depend on it too much?
I have pictures that I vow never to show to a soul of her sitting on a toddler potty with the iPad on her lap. I hoped, in vain, that it would get her excited to sit on the plastic chair and do some business. No such luck. But I tried. I didn't go as far as to buy one of those potties made specifically for the iPad, but I will concede that it would have been convenient.
And that's the word I'm leaning on: convenience. It is convenient for me to give her the iPad when I have a full day of doctor appointments she must sit through. It is convenient for me to give her my phone when the line at the grocery store moves much too slow. It is convenient for me to put on a movie during my son's physical therapy sessions when I can't give her any of my attention.
When does convenience turn into laziness? Where is the line? Have I crossed it? Does the fact that I'm wondering where the line is give me any brownie points?
The truth is that I think she needs technological skills. She is growing up in the digital age, and computer skills will be as required as the ability to read. A natural knack for technology and a love for its evolving nature (that her mommy currently enjoys — must buy ALLTHETECHNOLOGY!) can only put her ahead.
But she's 3. There's such a thing as limits. And I realize I need to employ them more often. It's not that she doesn't have patience; she's actually quite content for her age. I just know that she is most likely bored in the waiting room, and if I'm itching to glance at my phone, why can't she draw letters on her Elmo app?
It's all in the balance, I suppose. The minute she wants to sit on the iPad instead of playing with the puppy or wants to lounge while watching a movie instead of racing to the door when I say “Let's go to the park!” I will know I have hit a wall and need to make some adjustments.
Do you rely on technology too much with your kids?