I read an article the other day that stated children under the age of 12 should have no exposure to handheld devices. No tablets, phones, or even laptops. I do get where the author is coming from, but I think that’s a little bit extreme. The basis for his reasoning is that children should be playing outside more; climbing trees, riding bikes, swinging. I completely agree with that, 100%. It got me thinking though, is it really the use of technology that is stifling the creativity of our future inventors and entrepreneurs? Or is it our fear as parents?
If after school on Monday I told Luke he could go to the park with his friends and not come home until dinner or instead play the Xbox, which do you think he would choose? I can say with 100% certainty that he would be out the door before I changed my mind. But that would never happen, not in 2014. If we let our kids walk to school or play in the back yard unsupervised, we are terrible parents. We risk having a visit from CPS. We have become so afraid of what could possibly happen if we let our children out of our sight for 5 minutes, that they have no independence.
I remember walking home from school and riding bikes with friends when I was young. The only rule was “call me when you get there”, if I was going to a friend’s house. I wasn’t allowed to cross the main road and needed to be home when I was told, but that’s about it. We can’t do that now with our kids. Is it really that much more dangerous out there now than it was in the late 80s or early 90s? Statistically, no. In fact it’s just the opposite. I’m not saying we should just let our kids run rampant and hope for the best, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I don’t really know what the answer is.
So, kids come home from school and play some Lego’s, draw for a while, read a book, do homework, and maybe have a snack. Then what? There are only so many things to do when you are trapped in your house. I don’t think that parents are terrible for letting their kids use technology. As much as I’d like to take my kids to the park everyday or go for a walk with them, life doesn’t always work that way. I have to cook and clean and do laundry and study. Because I can’t let them play in my own backyard in an area where crime is virtually nonexistent, they play video games. I set up sensory activities and do absolutely everything that I can to promote their creativity, but I am not perfect.
So, no. I do not think that technology is the enemy. I think it is a useful tool that should be used in moderation. It’s just really hard to listen to the constant chatter about how awful parents are for letting their kids play the iPad or Xbox. That we are ruining our children and ruining the future of the planet just seems ridiculous. I think it’s the state of society and our own fear that is doing the stifling.
Until our next adventure,