How Much Time a Day Do Your Children Spend Using Technology?
It is a high tech world. I love it and I don’t know how we survived before everyone had access to cells phones and the Internet. Honestly, if you tried to take either away from me today, I’d probably fight you to the death and you’d still have to pry my iPhone out of my cold dead hands.
As we advance technologically, it's becoming the norm to see toddler and certainly elementary school aged children on laptops, iPods, iPads, iPhones and the internet, usually playing educational games or watching cartoons so that their parents can keep them occupied. I have no problem with this. Our girls have DS’s and now they have Nabi tablets , MP3 players and we own every educational game system available since the girls were toddlers. They do homework on the laptop and know their way around technology ... like every other kid we know.
It’s progress, right? Maybe. I used to think so but now I am not so sure because while we were all so excited about technologically advancing our children we completely overlooked the hidden dangers of kids using technology.
- Surprise bills from iTunes This is a lesson I learned very recently and the hard way. My daughters had finished their homework and did their chores, they asked me if I could buy them a dress up game they had been wanting on the iPad called Sporty Girl Dress up. It was only $1.99 so I bought it. Unfortunately, every time they clicked on an outfit to dress up in, it charged me $1.99. It didn’t ask to confirm the purchase, it only asked, “ Do you want this?” and the girls obviously wanted it. Long story short, I got a surprise bill for $80. I’m sure this is not the only unethical game around so beware.
- Accidentally seeing something inappropriate Pop ups. Even if you childproof that sucker, your kid still could accidentally see something that you are not ready to explain like two men kissing or a woman giving birth. Nothing wrong with either but unless you are comfortable having that conversation with your 3-year-old, don’t do it.
- More awkward social skills The more our children immerse themselves in the cyber world, the less their social skills are developing. They need to interact in real time, face to face, not just via face time. Unless you want the norm for all people to meet others to be via sites like Match.com, teach your kids how to live in the real world.
- No patience, expecting the entire world to provide instant gratification In the digital world, there is no wait time. You type it in and beep, boop, beep, there it is. In the real world, people need time. Things take time and our children need to learn patience and understanding or they are going to spend a lot of time disappointed and angry.
- Interacting with unsavory characters You hear about kids talking to pedophiles online all the time and not knowing it. How could they? How can any of us know who is real and what is bullshit when we are talking via social media?
- Sending inappropriate photos Cell phone cameras are not the friend of tweens and teens. They are too naive to understand what can happen to nude photos and sexts sent and intended for one person. They don’t realize that once they go out they are no longer private or personal.
- Giving out private information to potential criminals I had a cousin who tweeted every move she made, including where she was going, when she was going what she was wearing and once she even status updated her Facebook with her address saying she was bored and if anyone wanted to come over they should.
- Obesity Your kid sits all day playing with tech, they move less, they get fat; end of story. Nobody wants their child to be unhealthy or overweight so limit the online time.
- Addiction Kids can get addicted to technology. It’s a crutch. They get used to having those online connections and they don’t want to give them up. Don’t fool yourself, it’s like cyber crack.
How much time a day do your children spend using technology?