Read a tweet on an article ( http://www.greenchildmagazine.com/children-technology-addiction/ ) by Green Child Magazine related to what my husband and I had discussed some time ago- Will our daughter have an iPad of her own next time? ( I dont even own any!) As a tutor, I have heard from parents whose kids can hardly put down their tablets, usually iPads. Besides addicting to it, they have myopia earlier and their eyesight deteriorates even more rapidly. They could play from right after school till mealtime and still playing while having their meals, have to be nagged to go get a shower and then do their homework. Once the tasks are done, they play again till they go to bed.
Parents, however, praise that these iPads work like magic to hush them when they bring them out on the the public transport or to other places. They dont monkey around and they wont disturb or call for your attention. The kids play with their tablets, parents fix on their own phone screens and hardly any communication takes place. Aren’t these scenes a norm on the trains and buses now?
Personally, I am not against tablets or any of these brilliant innovative compnies. I think they are awesome and indeed have brought much convenience and a whole new level of entertainment at our finger tips.
Back to our discussion, we will probably not let her have her own tablet and that she must seek our permission if she wants to play with our phones or his tablet. I applaud for companies that develop great game apps with the best intention to educate but when these kids into these “educational apps”, it becomes a form of gadget addiction. I believe many parents started with the positive notion that it is fine to let them play with the gadgets as these apps really do teach them some songs and ABCs. But, they later then realize it is hard to stop them when the kids got lured to other apps eventually, through app advertisements, of course.
I find it a pity that when kids go out these days, they miss out many learning and discovering opportunities surrounding them as their faces are buried in the screens. In addition, because of the fast motions and thrills of the games, it can cause children to have lack of attention span in other areas, such as reading a book, slower paced games involving toys and probably affecting their academics performance because they can’t concentrate and stay put staring at static stuffs. Parents will later then resort to confiscation and the kids will have the cold turkey effect, begging older siblings to lend them their gadgets. Older siblings will then restrict their usage time or forbid it, another reason for siblings squabbling. I have seen these happened.
The article discusses some of the ways we can discourage being addicted to gadgets. One of them is having parents set as a role model and not a technology junkie themselves. I am kinda guilty here because while I watch my 8month old play with her toys, I get bored after awhile and have this thing in me to reach to my phone to check on my social media accounts or Whatsapp messages. My baby then realized I was engrossed with my phone, she stopped what she was playing with and crawled over and checked out my phone too. She too, stared at the glaring screen and wanted it for herself.
There and then, it hit me that I was sending her a message that my phone seems more interesting that whatever toys she was playing with. Imagine she is only 8 months old and she is already aware of this gadget that Mummy is so engrossed with. Come when she is older, she will want one for herself too! Well, afterall, most of her peers would probably have one of their own too.
The thing is this, be it adults or young children, the gadget is an extremely seductive tool that captures away our attention in a snap. It steals your attention away to what may be more important and priceless; communication with your loved ones, watching your children play and achieve some milestones, studying for exams, appreciating the environment and jeopardizing lives . As a driver, I have deliberately honked extremely loudly at jaywalkers who have earphones on and eyes fix on their gadgets, to shake them out of their virtual world and back to the road.
I appreciate this article very much as it sends me a reminder to keep my phone away while I enjoy my moments with my child. It only takes blinks of eyes and they will be grown. And when that time comes for my child to be conscious enough of wanting to have her own tablet, we will probably question her what is her objective of having her own tablet and what does she want to do with it? Reasons related to peer pressure is not enough to propel me to buy her one and I have no qualm about her being at the ” losing position of being outdated” so she could be in the group of friends. If she is going to use our gadgets, rules do apply.
Like how the article ends, ” There’s no app that can replace the importance of play and time spent in nature.”