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.