Guest Post: Matt Bigg on Kids and Technology

This weeks guest post is from fellow tweeter Matt Bigg who runs a brilliant local graphic design agency called The Collective Design. He is probably designed to be one of those cool dads as he actually won a skateboard competition in the 1990’s. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one, as someone who cant actually afford an iPad for herself I am constantly amazed by the amount of technology kids have (around this area anyway) and I can empathise with a lot of what Matt says….

I have often wondered what is the right amount of technology is best for my children. To set the scene I have 2 boys, one 8 years old and the other 3. With the first one he spent the first years of his life away from any form of TV, computer of gadget. I think he was one of the last to get a Wii in his class. And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to give him these things, I just wanted to make sure he didn’t spend his weekends sitting in front of a screen like some of his mates. As a designer, we do have a lot of Apple products and other gadgets in our house, so I wanted to be careful to get the balance right. He is much happy outside, than in. However, the playground talk amongst his mates, is “my dad is getting me a phone for Christmas” Really, 8 year olds with phones. Way to early in my opinion
The 3 year old, being the 2nd child has grown up with his older brother playing gadgets while he has his milk etc. He has been exposed to much more technology than his older brother. He knows is way round an iPad better than most people I know. Was this avoidable? Is this bad?
I am happy if we are out for dinner or drinks that after we have eaten or settled down after a bit, then the boys can play the iPad. However, it is always after we have eaten and never during or before. Also, we don’t let our oldest son play any games on PSP before or only on special occasions, after school. It makes the homework important and Friday’s / weekend’s special. All games are shut down 30 mins before bed. It does sound like we have set rules on these things, but we don’t. And I still don’t think by having the loose rules that we do, we are getting it 100% right.
I actually like the fact that both my boys have some technology in their life, it is a huge part of society and will be a part of their growing up years and education. Where as parents, we never had phones, or computer games or the need to live our life through social media. 
As a family, we love travelling and holidays and to be fair, this never involves any technology. Well, maybe a film on the iPad to make the flight a little easier. It is all about the experiences, the culture, the place we are visiting. And it is brilliant. It is what holidays are about.
It is all about getting the balance right and I guess as a parent, that is the hardest job of all.


4 Responses

  1. Mike1727 19th September 2011 / 8:12 am

    We ration 'screen time' quite heavily, very little tv/Wi/pc during the week but a nice ' tea in front of the tv' on Friday with some games thrown in over the weekend.

  2. Alex 19th September 2011 / 8:57 am

    That&#39;s an interesting read Matt. I don&#39;t know what&#39;s right, but I think the emphasis on outdoors is a good one.<br /><br />Well it certainly worked with me. I was introduced to computers at 7 but before that (ie before the Spectrum) I&#39;d played things like Nintendo game &amp; watch stuff and my trusty grandstand Firefox F7. But I was more at home running around or cycling outdoors

  3. Anonymous 19th September 2011 / 7:43 pm

    Hi Matt,<br />you have it spot on, you are a younger generation than me(our daughter has just left home today!). It would be unwise to exclude technology( or anything so fundamental to our world today) from our children but we must control how and when our children are exposed to everything. Getting the balance right? stay on your toes when you think you&#39;ve got it right something will go

  4. PantsWithNames 19th September 2011 / 7:50 pm

    We&#39;re really strict about the amount of screen time that our boys get – but they want as much as possible.<br /><br />However, I was talking to my husband, who is a software developer, about his childhood and he reckons that without the time and space to muck about on a computer he never would have got into doing what he does now – something that he really loves. So we are going to put our

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