I recently attended a London Drugs Twitter Party (#LDTouchTech) at the fabulous Minami Restaurant in Yaletown to discuss what touchscreen technology means to me and other savvy *grin* tech bloggers in town. And I was like, whaaat? Really? ME? And then I thought, why not me?
I’ve been drawn to technologies of all sorts my entire life and could be considered a tech nerd. But everything I know about social media, web design and writing etc., I’ve taught myself. Does this make me more or less nerdy? I’m not sure but either way I kind of like the moniker.
You might think that’s amazing and want to be my friend on Facebook now that you know that my brilliance is of my own making. Or not.
Sparkly, Shiny Things
The timing of the Twitter party was perfect as we head into the new school year. And because I love sparkly, shiny new technology I was curious. As a mom blogger I offer a unique point of view on the subject and even though my three-year old child isn’t going to the ‘big’ school yet, how to monitor his access to the latest touchscreen gadgets has been on my mind.
As a writer/blogger/mom blogger I spend a ton of time on the computer. Sometimes it’s tempting to show my son the latest educational apps that will teach him to read and write and solve complex math problems. (I’m getting ahead of myself, I know. Work with me here.) But as it stands right now, OLM (Our Little Monkey) doesn’t have full access to any of it. The most he gets is a program or two on Netflix if we’re at a restaurant, or an interactive puzzle app to keep him occupied.
We haven’t crossed the ‘let him use the iPad 1 we don’t use anymore and let him explore on his own’ line. But I won’t lie, when I am tired (or trying to catch up on work as I am doing right this very minute) I really want to.
Kids and Technology
I’m not sure when touchscreen technology became ‘the thing’ but it was probably when the first generation of iPhone came on the market in about 2007. Since then, we’ve been inundated with new technologies that continue to blow our collective minds. From smart phones and tablets in all sizes to the latest MyFordTouch installed in the 2014 Ford Fiesta, which sports a touch screen dashboard it is tempting to say that we’ve seen it all. But that is a mistake. There is so much more to come that hasn’t even been dreamt about.
I’m hoping that there will be an app that will help me sing better, but maybe that’s asking too much.
OLM has never known a world without computers, never mind touchscreen technology. I’m not sure how concerned I should be, but when he sits in front of the TV or plays a game on the IPhone he is mesmerized, and not in a good way. He becomes demanding and throws tantrums if he doesn’t get ‘one more program!‘
It’s a battle I don’t want to fight, but I know I have to so we set limits in the beginning and stick to plan as much as possible.
When he ‘gives in’ he goes back to what he does best and that is to play, to be physical and tactile and learn about his world by experiencing it.
Kids Need to Play
I want OLM to learn about his world by actively participating in it and not getting sucked into computer games and TV programs. Sure, there is a lot to learn doing those things but at his age, he needs to develop his bright, social personality. He needs to engage all of his senses and make friends, to look forward to going outside and to appreciate the freshness of an autumn day. I want him to learn to balance his time exploring all the options available to him, to move through the world and to find new ways to nurture his lovely spirit.
Managing Time, Immersed in Technology
As I mentioned earlier, we (bloggers) are immersed in computer technology ourselves through our writing and tweeting and Facebooking. It is easy then to forget that we already know how to (hopefully) manage our tech time.
As parents, we need to show our kids how to manage their time and to find joy in doing a variety of activities with them. We are responsible for raising healthy, happy and active kids who will make positive contributions to society and to be good people. It’s important then that we be the example by putting the smart phone down when our kids are around and nurture that part of them that is just happy to be with us and to play, old school.
To be continued…
I could go on about this topic, clearly, it is one that needs to be explored further. So, as the kids head back to school, perhaps it’s a good opportunity to pause for a moment to reflect on how technology will impact your child this coming school year.
What are you going to do to guide your children and their use of technologies (like touchscreen) along the way?
I was not paid to write this post but I was treated to a lovely meal at Minami Restaurant in Yaletown. The sushi was out of this world fresh and delicious, and the people, fascinating. And it was great seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones. You know who you are.
Thank you for reading.