Really? Are you kidding me???? This is exactly what is wrong with parents these days. How in the world can you say that your toddler is addicted to technology, and admit it in a room full of people. These are the words that I heard a few weeks ago at Social Media Week in Miami from the mother of a toddler that was in the room. She went on to say she didn’t know what to do about it! My mouth dropped in total shock and I blurted out “well whose fault is that?”
I was sitting in on a breakout session titled “Parenting in the Social Age: Opportunities and Challenges to Raise your Kids.” I’m sorry, what? Challenges to Raise your Kids? What does the social age have to do with presenting challenges besides parents looking for an excuse to occupy their children’s time and then wondering why their kids are addicted, and obese.
I have faults, as a parent and a human being, but what I do know is that my children are not, nor will they ever be “addicted” to technology. Despite my love for the saying of never say never, I am putting my foot down on this one and saying NEVER will my toddler, or future toddlers, be addicted to a screen of any sort.
While the presentation for the panel was supposed to be focus on concerns of “invasion of privacy, cyber bullying and other issues that kids might not be ready to handle”, that’s not what I walked into. I listened with my own concerns over where parenting has gone wrong, TOTALLY wrong.
What happened to the good ole days of taking the fun outdoors? Parents need to step up and take responsibility for their children’s activity or lack thereof. There is no excuse for why a child cannot be outdoors playing, or even indoors if the weather (location, time, insert any excuse here, etc) is not favorable.
Parenting isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being present. – Mama’s Mission
I am by no means a perfect parent, nor do I pretend to be. If you are glued to your phones/computers/tablets, then you aren’t really present. What you do and say will always reflect in your children’s actions. I noticed this myself one day when speaking with my toddler. I asked her something and her response was “I’m doing something.” At first I thought it was cute, but then I started to wonder where she picked that up from. I told myself that it must be from school, until I heard those same words creep out from my mouth one day. She was a reflection of me…completely.
Taking the time to get to know your children’s likes is so easy. Em loves the park, loves being outdoors, and loves nature. Children are inquisitive by nature and should be allowed to explore their surroundings, not what is contained inside a 7″ screen. Even something as simple as a nightly walk after dinner to explore the neighborhood with your child is a valuable learning experience you cannot afford to miss.
As technology becomes the go to gadget, even at school, it is important that we as parents are mindful of our children’s health and well-being, especially when they are at home. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that my children never play with electronics or electronic toys, but everything has its limits.
Back in the days when I was growing up toys did not have batteries, or a screen, and did not need a set of instructions on how to operate it. Toys were simple, fun and forced you to use your imagination. Toys required you to play with friends and interact. Toys took you outdoors to explore.
Children have lost touch with reality and are drowning in the wave of technology. No app is going to replace their need for real world social interaction skills. No app is going to replace their need for fresh air. Mostly importantly, no app is going to replace the values, morals and lessons learned in life and by spending time with their parents.
It’s not too late to make a change. But that change needs to start with you. All you need to do is dedicate some time in your day to your children, instead of your phone/tablet/computer, and engage them in some good old-fashioned games like Red Rover and hopscotch. There will be plenty of time for them to become addicted to technology, now is not that time. Make a play-date with your child or organize a game night for the family. It’s so important to enjoy the now with your children, because you will blink and they will be headed off to college.
What steps are you taking at home to engage and interact with your children at home?