Talking about parenting: Drawing the lines in the battle
Published 11:49 pm Friday, January 31, 2020
Lately, I have been struggling with balancing the kids’ access to the internet.
Trying to do this with six kids is a full-time job. I honestly feel torn on the issue.
On one hand, they can turn into zombies and the minutes they are playing on their tablets turn into hours. But on the other hand, their use of the tablets does help prep them for technology use later in life and they do pick up other skills from the content they view as well.
But where should the line be drawn in the battle of useful use versus extreme or excess?
I make every effort to ensure my kids spend a significant amount of time playing outside.
I want to ensure they receive the exercise and social interaction with the kids in the neighborhood.
I feel that this is crucial and not something that I should waver on.
We also make every attempt (please note the use of the word attempt) to complete all homework prior to accessing any electronics. Some days the truth gets bent a little as to whether or not they are actually done with their homework though.
I focus on utilizing time spent on electronics and Wi-Fi as a privilege and a reward.
As I shared above, my biggest challenge is policing all of the kids.
The truth is that it would take a few more parents in our household to do it effectively.
In order to combat technology, I plan to use technology. We have used the first edition Disney Circle in the past with varying levels of success. I plan to roll out the second edition one next week. Reviews on its ability to manage device time by kid and across both Wi-Fi and cell phone use have been good.
I tell my kids that two can play this game.
At the end of the day, I don’t think there is a perfect answer to this scenario. I think the fact that parents make an effort to balance the scales is the real answer.
Tablets are not meant to be parents. I think this is where things start to break down.
Take time to unplug, both kids and adults, and discuss what a healthy balance is for proper use.
Addressing the issue on the front end can save many headaches down the road.
Chris Kovatch is a resident of Orange County. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org