Sunday 14 October 2018

Technology in their Lives

These children of mine are growing up in a very different world to the one I did.  I was only 23 when I had Dylan but those 23 years have seen the rise of technology in every aspect of our life and a change to the childhood I remember and loved.

It isn't their fault that they want to play on the ipad as soon as they wake up, watch their favourite tv programs on demand, ask Alexa every time they get curious about something and spend more time staring at a screen than they do looking at someone's face.  These things just weren't an option for us as children and I am sure if they were then we would have been the same.

I remember having children's TV only for a few hours each day and we got our first family computer when I was at secondary school, but the internet had to be unplugged every time someone needed to use the home phone (and my mum did a job that meant she was often on the phone in the evenings).   Nowadays it is hard to avoid and I can see my children falling into this world before I am ready for them to.

As the parent, I am tying to navigate this stage of parenting and find balance for them where they can't always find it themselves.  Technology is going to be such a big and unavoidable part of their lives, more so than it is for us now I imagine and they need to know how to use it responsibly and in moderation, but I think just as importantly, if not more so, they need to learn how to use their imaginations.

The navigation isn't always easy, but technology is and I know they can be occupied for hours with an ipad or netflix.  I am trying to encourage more free play to balance it though and many of their toys have been packed away in favour of wooden ones which even the bigger boys are suddenly discovering again and enjoying.  A new bed arrived this week in several huge cardboard boxes and I set them out on the decking and encouraged them to just play and the ease with which they did reassured me.

They were ramps for cars, slides for people, car parks, colouring books and all sorts.  Their play changed and progressed, they communicated and imagined and reminded me that even when we feel stuck in an end of term rut where everyone is tired and sometimes technology can be the easiest option, their biggest talent is their mind at this age.

I hope I can continue to balance their lives and help them explore their imaginations, appreciate nature and climb trees.  I want their childhoods to be wild and free and full of sunshine and laughter and I know that at 7 I probably don't have many more years of Dylan still just playing but I am going to try as hard as I can to encourage him to.

How do you balance the lure of technology with a playful childhood? I would love any tips

balancing technology, technology and children,

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