We live in a world where technology takes precedence. As the human race has evolved, so too has our dependence on all things computerised. Technology exists throughout our day to day lives, from cars to phones, laptops to tablets and games consoles. Even our washing machines involve some form of technology. So how do we manage Technology when it comes to our children?
I have always been the type of mum who has thought, “Yeh, my children will not be the type who spend 24 hrs a day attached to a tablet or phone”.
Then I had boys!
Granted, they still don’t spend all day, every day hooked to it, but they definitely have an obsession with it. I believe this is down to how human beings as a whole have progressed throughout the years. The key is to set rules, limits and expectations.
When I was a child, life was completely different. Phones were the kind with curly cords; computers were not the small portable objects we see today. I’ll bet my son has no idea what a floppy disc or a video tape is. We didn’t have luxuries such as Sky TV, Netflix and Amazon. Growing up we had 4 TV channels. That was it. As a child you had to occupy yourself by playing outside, or playing in your room. Nowadays, they have access to a wide range of technology that distracts from what a childhood should be. It should be messy, a little bit dirty and it should be an adventure!
We are quite strict parents but when you really need 5 minutes piece, a tablet or phone can come in very handy. This is totally ok. Parents need time to recharge too.
With the Hubby working away through the week, I usually let the boys have an hour each night. I need my me time too or I would end up being taken away by the men in the white coats. I restrict their time and control what they have access to. Although, all rules go out the window when they are at Gran’s house.
The problem with this though is that once they have them, they do not want to relinquish ownership once the hour is up. It takes quite a bit of coercion on my part before they are sitting pretty again. I also find that their behaviour can be affected if they have had an unusually large amount of time across the week. Tink has been known to seriously spit the dummy out and has resulted in some extremely physical altercations. This just re-enforces the fact that an hour a day is definitely enough.
Schools have also progressed in how they teach. They have certainly moved with the times. Instead of black boards, they use electronic white boards. Life is certainly different and goes to show how humans have progressed.
During the Covocalypse, we have benefitted from this as everything has been digital. Parents have access to various apps which are used for sharing information; homework, school updates, various communications. Tink’s homework gets issued weekly via email. I have added his account to mine for ease of access. He then does it in a jotter and I send photos back, either via the Seesaw Family App or email. This is a great way of saving paper and also encourages Pup to want to join in too.
This has also enabled the teachers to issue work during lockdown. Since returning to school it has allowed them to share what my 2 have been doing in class. It really brightens my day when I am by myself and I receive a wee pic on my phone of them having fun.
There are also various resources online, if you have access to the internet, such as SumDog and Teach Your Monster How to Read. As a parent these are fantastic tools to make use of and give us additional opportunities to encourage educational pad time. The school issued Tink with logins but Teach Your Monster has recently become free to download.
Unfortunately, this has encouraged Tink’s imaginative responses on how to get pad time. He will claim that he is just going to go on Teach Your Monster, 10 minutes later he has switched to Minecraft. Yep he’s a fly one.
There are so many positive view points to allowing children access to iPads, Tablets and Phones. It encourages creativity, independence and lets them build on sills they wouldn’t normally develop in the “real world”.
Games are one such example. Tink loves Minecraft. He is totally obsessed but it allows him to focus and zone out. Sometimes he also just needs to relax. In this crazy world we currently live in, we all need some form of escapism.
Personally, I am so sick of hearing about Noobs, Preston, Jelly and Diamond Steve. Another pet peeve I have is that every time Tink logs onto Minecraft, he feels that he needs to give me a running commentary. He never stops talking at the best of times. Does he really feel that he needs to rabbit on during that too?
His interest in Minecraft has also extended to YouTube. I usually give him an option: Pad or YouTube. I don’t understand his fascination with watching other people playing Minecraft. Would he not rather just play it himself?
I will secretly admit I quite like Preston and Brianna. They are quite entertaining and kid friendly. Some of the others though can be quite aggravating. When you find some YouTuber’s that are child friendly it’s always worth taking note of them.
Overall, I think Minecraft is quite good for him as it lets him work on his creativity. He loves building and designing, as is evident from his Lego creations. When it comes to our children we want them to develop and hone the skills they already have and some games, like in Tink’s case with Minecraft, can enable them to do this.
Pup has also become interested in this type of game; though he plays a more basic free one on his Amazon Pad. It basically just lets him build houses and things. Boys love to build.
Pup is still very much the baby and will only ask for his Pad if Tink has his. He would quite happily just sit and watch Blaze and the Monster Machines, Paw Patrol or Blippi on YouTube.
YouTube is a gold mine of information for children to explore, just make sure that the parental controls are on.
Through YouTube, we have been introduced to the likes of Blippi.
Blippi! He drives me bananas. Pup loves him so much. We will quite often be wandering down the aisle in the supermarket, or anywhere for that matter, singing “Choo, choo. Here comes the Train. Chugga Chugga Chugga Chugga Choooo Chooooooo. Here comes the Train.” Yeh! Blippi has a lot to answer for. Being a mum is certainly fun.
YouTube has opened up a whole world of possibility for kids. If well controlled it is definitely a very useful tool. During home schooling the teacher directed us to various videos to help with maths and spelling. I would highly recommend Jack Hartmann and Mr T’s Phonics with Geraldine the Giraffe. They are highly engaging and educational. Both boys loved watching them over and over again.
With both Minecraft and Youtube we are very careful with what our children have access to. We have Parental Controls on everything. Tink isn’t allowed to play online with anyone else; we switched that functionality off. In this day and age you have to be so careful. Technology has progressed so much but with that there are also so many risks. Children are vulnerable to those risks. It is our job, as their parents, to protect them from anything. Some things we do not have control over, such as school bullies, but, in our own home, we make the rules.
A good place to find information is through CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection). There are plenty of links to help on how to keep your children safe online. It is scary that through technology someone could do them harm. This is the world we live in though. As parents we must educate ourselves on the risks of online activity and take the necessary measures to protect our kids.
Some helpful links:
Please note, all external links in this post are not affiliate.