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Parent Talk: Battling the Technology of Modern Parenting

Remember when kids actually played with each other instead of via electronic devices?

We've past that official midpoint of summer now. This week's weather is a summer dream and with some newfound boundaries in our household regarding electronics, things are going swimmingly.  With last week's high and hot temperatures, I didn't mind having all four kids indoors a lot of the times. It was dangerously hot and majorly uncomfortable.

What I did mind?

The constant technology. The ipods and cell phones. Computer time and movies.

I texted our oldest two on Friday afternoon after realizing both had been MIA for longer than my liking only to find out they were each in their bedrooms. Texting.

With the amount of texts these kids send one might think they are actually making plans but most of the time it is things like this.

"Whats Up?"

"NM, U?"

"Nothing."

"lol"

":)"

If you have younger kids you may think I'm kidding, but if you have tweens and teens you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Then there were the younger two who had gotten into the habit of being able to watch a movie in the afternoon versus playing in the pool or on the swingset.

"Can we watch a movie?" one whined at me when I said we were going to the park. Are you kidding me?

Over the weekend we had a family talk about cell phones, ipods, movies and all too much electronic time. It's hard [and annoying] to manage.

When I was a kid we literally played outside all day, every day. We biked with our friends to the Dairy Queen and made new friends at the park. We didn't have all this technology competing for our time. We used the house phone, that was often times connected to a cord, to call and make plans to see friends and we [kids] were gone all the time.

Now if I leave the house my older kids call me 18 times before I get to where I'm going to ask me things like:

"When will you be home?"

"What are we having for dinner?"

"He did this..."

"She did this..."

And so on.

When I was a kid when my mom left the house I had no way to reach her. Going to the store was probably a true break for her if we stayed home. Oh, times have changed.

I'm hoping we have a handle on it for the rest of the summer, barring any 100 degree days, but I'm wondering how other families handle all this "stuff" with their kids? Do you set limits on cell phones and ipods and movies and electronics for summer break? How? Tell us in the comments.

 

Willow July 11, 2012 at 07:47 PM
We have a few kids and the oldest is 14. We are fuddy duddy parents but our kids do not have their own cell phones. If they leave the house, they take MY cell phone and since it's a trac phone with limited minutes, they only call if it's really important. Same as if I'm the one out of the house and they need to call me - better be inportant or they'll be buying new minutes for my phone. Two years ago my husband got this crazy idea, after the kids were spending gobs of time on the computer every day, to require the kids to "buy" computer time buy exchanging a half hour of measureable exercise for a half hour of computer time. I scoffed at the idea, not thinking it would work but here we are, still doing it and it's still working. My kids use the old fashioned phone to briefly catch up with friends and make plans, or they ride their bike to their friends' that are within biking distance just to see if they can play/hang out. We do watch quite a bit of Netflix instant movies which bothers me but I usually use it because *I* need a break, not because the kids are fussing for it. I dream of a day that I might be able to tell the kids, "Go play a nice little game of Uno 'cuz Mom needs a nap." and they'll do it without whining or squabbling. That day may never come but I vow to fight the technology monster as best as I can for as long as I can.
Mel July 13, 2012 at 01:55 PM
You're not the only ones! Good Work!
Mel July 13, 2012 at 01:57 PM
I love the exercise buys screen time idea! Will consider that in the future.
Mel July 13, 2012 at 01:59 PM
If we set firm limits and never cave on them, the whining will stop and the kids will find other things to do. I also like the Love and Logic way -- "My ears hurt when I hear your constant whining. Please go to your room until you're ready to talk to me in a normal voice."
STMA Mom September 22, 2012 at 03:55 AM
My kids DO play Uno, Stratego, Candy Land, Phase 10, Checkers, and other board games and WITHOUT whining or complaining! It's possible! =) We don't allow "screen time" until their "list" is completed: bed made, dressed, chores, music practiced, exercised, read for 30 min, etc. It works!

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