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Why NOT to give your child a cell phone

Posted by (Rama) on Apr. 12, 2011 at 9:14 AM
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I am part way through reading the book "Alone Together" by Sherry Trukle and it is scary!  Basic topic is how we are impacted by "social" robots, wireless technology and games.

The first part on social robots is sort of dry, academic and a bit hard to relate to - I mean, no one I know has access to robots costing thousands of dollars.  The second part on wireless technology, social networking and games is really eye-opening.

The book is really wanting to make me go "Amish" even more so than I already am (no TV since 1990 - another topic for another time).  Even though we think of wireless devices and social media as making us more connected, in reality (according to Trukle's research) they are actually making us less connected and stunting the emotional development of young users.

I feel rather vindicated on holding firm with family limits on television (DvDs only), cell phones (after learner's permit), computer time (1.5 hrs/day between 9AM and 8:30PM - no computers in the bedroom) and game restrictions (no rated M games ever, only approved rated T games).  It may make my kids feel "different", but in the long run, it is promoting their ability to relate to real people, deal with their emotions and use technology with appropriate boundaries.

by on Apr. 12, 2011 at 9:14 AM
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LorelNicolette Lorel
by on Apr. 12, 2011 at 9:33 AM

I can definitely see how it could be a bad thing for developing children. 

That said, I do think the Internet can connect us if used properly.  I have met a number of local women through Meetup.com who I would not have met otherwise.  I had been longing to meet moms like me and technology made it happen. 

I do think that we should be mindful of how we use technology as it can prevent us connecting with people face to face.  I just don't think it's an absolute evil. 

jessradtke Jessica
by on Apr. 12, 2011 at 11:01 PM

My family is on the opposite end of the spectrum - we have absolutely no limits on "screen time" - yet my kids are highly social. Moreso than I was at there age, actually. I think that how people use technology is more of a factor than how much they use it. If one is using it as a replacement for real life interactions, then yes, I think it can have negative effects. But if one uses it as a supplement to real life interactions and as a tool for making and maintaining connections, I think it can have the opposite effect and actually enhance real life relationships.

DrRama Rama
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 9:22 AM

  I hope we can all appreciate the irony of this conversation on social media!

Oh, I don't think technology is an absolute evil, I just think that it needs to be deliberately managed, part of the conversation we have with our children.  Sometimes the only way to manage something is to "just say no".  

Our family's decision to say no to TV is not about screen time, or about programming content so much as about advertising.  I don't want to have a home filled with advertising and I don't like the messages advertising sends to us.   There is already so much exposure to advertising anyway through print media, radio and the internet, that i don't want more in my home.

LorelNicolette Lorel
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 12:41 PM

I definitely picked up on the irony ;-)  Given your use of the Internet I figured you believe there is a balance. 

As adults we are capable of understanding this.  Kids can't be expected to so I totally agree with you that it is our job to set healthy boundaries for them.  Like you, we try and avoid T.V.  I do allow PBS for the most part, but that is it.  The stuff on Cartoon Network is too racy for my taste.  He also is allowed to watch certain movies on Netflix.  Even with those I have noticed him picking up certain phrases that he uses when he has an emotional outburst.  I can always tell it's from a movie because it is so foreign coming from his mouth and often doesn't make sense. 

So I really appreciate you posting this.  I added the book to my Amazon wish list and even shared it with a friend who has a son who is acting like an Angry Bird.  I totally see the importance of being mindful of this stuff.  Especially since it is all rather new and we have yet to witness the full ramifications. 

Quoting DrRama:

  I hope we can all appreciate the irony of this conversation on social media!

Oh, I don't think technology is an absolute evil, I just think that it needs to be deliberately managed, part of the conversation we have with our children.  Sometimes the only way to manage something is to "just say no".  

Our family's decision to say no to TV is not about screen time, or about programming content so much as about advertising.  I don't want to have a home filled with advertising and I don't like the messages advertising sends to us.   There is already so much exposure to advertising anyway through print media, radio and the internet, that i don't want more in my home.


Lynette Lynette
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Makes me think of the movie Bridge To Terabithia (yes I read the bk but the movie conveyed it a little better).  Have you read The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn, loved that book!  Another inspiring one is Living Simply with Children by Marie Sherlock.  Last Child in The Woods by, Louv.  Yep I like this topic, lol.   We got rid of cable and the only TV we watch is through netflix instantly & DVD's.  I'm not even a fan of all PBS shows(not because they are bad, but because some of them are just fluff), lol, yes I am picky about our screen time.  The big reason we went off it was only partly for the children.  I have trouble w/ being glued to the TV and tuning the world out and I didn't want to pass that on to my kids.  Plus we homeschool in this tiny house and it seems if the TV is on it takes over the whole house, I want to have a home that inspires learning and creativity.  When we went off TV my oldest son actually started imagining things.  Instead of just liningup his toys he made them talk to each other.  The kids get along better and their is so much more time in the day now.  Lol, Christmas & Birthdays are tricky though because the kids don't know what toys they want, no commercials to tell them! 

jessnjosh87 Jessi
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 1:00 PM

I agree with everything you are saying. DD is allowed to watch three cartoons in the morning, and then the TV is off the rest of the day. I do have music on all day. No cell phone until she is at least 13, and that is ONLY if she is an A and B student. She will not get her lisence until she is 17. that's the way I was raised.

LorelNicolette Lorel
by on Apr. 13, 2011 at 1:07 PM

Another thing I notice with PBS is that some of the shows tend to put beliefs out as facts.  The Sid the Science Kid show in particular.  There was one episode where they were saying you had to get vaccinated to be healthy.  It really rubbed me the wrong way.   

Quoting Lynette:

Makes me think of the movie Bridge To Terabithia (yes I read the bk but the movie conveyed it a little better).  Have you read The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn, loved that book!  Another inspiring one is Living Simply with Children by Marie Sherlock.  Last Child in The Woods by, Louv.  Yep I like this topic, lol.   We got rid of cable and the only TV we watch is through netflix instantly & DVD's.  I'm not even a fan of all PBS shows(not because they are bad, but because some of them are just fluff), lol, yes I am picky about our screen time.  The big reason we went off it was only partly for the children.  I have trouble w/ being glued to the TV and tuning the world out and I didn't want to pass that on to my kids.  Plus we homeschool in this tiny house and it seems if the TV is on it takes over the whole house, I want to have a home that inspires learning and creativity.  When we went off TV my oldest son actually started imagining things.  Instead of just liningup his toys he made them talk to each other.  The kids get along better and their is so much more time in the day now.  Lol, Christmas & Birthdays are tricky though because the kids don't know what toys they want, no commercials to tell them! 


DrRama Rama
by on Apr. 19, 2011 at 8:28 AM


Quoting Lynette:

Makes me think of the movie Bridge To Terabithia (yes I read the bk but the movie conveyed it a little better).  Have you read The Plug-In Drug by Marie Winn, loved that book!  Another inspiring one is Living Simply with Children by Marie Sherlock.  Last Child in The Woods by, Louv.  ....... The big reason we went off it was only partly for the children.  I have trouble w/ being glued to the TV and tuning the world out and I didn't want to pass that on to my kids.  ....  I want to have a home that inspires learning and creativity.  ... The kids get along better and their is so much more time in the day now.  Lol, Christmas & Birthdays are tricky though because the kids don't know what toys they want, no commercials to tell them! 

Thank you, Lynette.   I will put these books on my reading list.

We actually stopped watching TV two years before the kids came along because we realized how much of our time it was taking up.  I do feel that with DVDs only that the amount of time is almost automatically limited.   Also, all three kids are voracious readers and have other hobbies and interests.  

My kids (public schooled) seem to absorb enough popular culture that they are aware of the latest consumer goods etc, but I still feel that reducing exposure to advertising has helped them have a more balanced, less consumeristic life.

A great quote (wish I could remember who this was) "Karl Marx was wrong:  religion isn't the opiate of the masses - television is".  I would amend this to be "screens are the opiate of the masses".

Here's to less screen time and more life!  (I am going to log off this site now)

FelipesMom Leticia
by on Apr. 19, 2011 at 10:00 AM

I know this quote in a different form from a Calvin and Hobbes comic strip published on Jan 9, 1995. Calvin says "It says here that 'Religion is the opiate of the masses.' What do you suppose that means?" and the TV thinks "It means Karl Marx hadn't seen anything yet."

A great quote (wish I could remember who this was) "Karl Marx was wrong:  religion isn't the opiate of the masses - television is".  I would amend this to be "screens are the opiate of the masses".

 

 

LETICIA
(kind of rhymes with Patricia)

Group Owner - Unconditional Parenting
Admin - Loving Alternatives to Mainstream Parenting
Mom to Felipe, born 11-24-2006
Felipe had successful heart surgery on 5-14-2007
My idiot husband left us on 1-21-2009

Imamom4sure ♥Kim
by on May. 18, 2011 at 9:20 PM

Leticia and Rama, that is funny and true joke about TV (but I would include video games as well)

anyway, I thought I replied to this post last month, but I must have lost it when trying to post, I remember my computer was breaking or broke and my phone jams easily.

anyway, my first born didn't have any tv (videos etc) until his second birthday, and I do place limits at time on computers and tvs in my home (but not consistant, comes and goes on what feels okay and balanced, and what doesn't)

anyway, my son picked up on speaking and reading super advanced.

all my kids seem to get computers and tvs (well, not regular tv with commercials but lots of movies from netflix, or PBS back in the day were I had tv reception, but I get PBS in other ways now, old shows or on line)

sorry, for poor typing, what I wanted to say is that I must be gettting more and more lax because my kids are exposed younger and younger, and all my kids are very smart and all, but I used to read way more to children than I do now, and that concerns me.

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