Hi-Tech Ninny

Ok, so I’m just gonna put it out there.  I’m not a fan of kids having all the high tech gadgets you can get your hands on.  I was at my daughter’s soccer game this morning, and had my son bring along a book since: a) he loves to read and b) the game just can’t keep an 8 yr old’s attention for it’s duration.  I was a little sad to see him put the book down in favor of a friend’s iPod touch and the intriguing game she was playing.
Now, I didn’t pull him away from it.  I let it be.  But sitting here now, I’m thinking back over the last 24 hours and this is what I’m remembering:

  • After school, we took the kids to a hockey game.  They made posters, met a player, got autographs, hats and shirts.  We got hot dogs, dough boys and sat and enjoyed the game.  It was Scout night…so looking at the family next to us, the boy was playing on his DS.  In front of us, 3 boys were each playing games on one of 2 phones.  At one point, there was a machine gun on the screen and they were “shooting” each other.  Behind us were more…
  • The events at the soccer game this morning were followed by us stepping over to another field to watch the other U12 girls team.  Sitting on the floor were 4 kids each playing on a iPod touch.  More machine guns.  And they all had siblings playing in the game.
  • And I just read somewhere that someone I know has a kindergartner with a Kindle.  Yes, a kindergartner.

It disturbs me that so many kids have these things, and what is happening to them as a result of them.  Isolation for starters.  Here they are, in a facility where there are games being played, and they are glued to their devices.  They seem oblivious to the world

around them.  They are not even interacting with their parents….who are there with them.  At the soccer games, the younger siblings are being babysat by these things.  Parents then sit and chat, or focus on the child playing the game…instead of encouraging the younger siblings to join in watching and cheering on their older sisters.

What do the experts say?  Well, here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/19/health/19babies.html

Still, recent research makes it clear that young children learn a lot more efficiently from real interactions — with people and things — than from situations appearing on video screens. “We know that some learning can take place from media” for school-age children, said Georgene Troseth, a psychologist at Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, “but it’s a lot lower, and it takes a lot longer.”

So, I’m not wrong in feeling that this stuff is just not good for my kids.

The Mayo Clinic says this:

The effects of too much screen time

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting a child’s use of TV, movies, video and computer games to no more than one or two hours a day. Too much screen time has been linked to:

  • Obesity. Children who watch more than two hours of TV a day are more likely to be overweight.
  • Irregular sleep. The more TV children watch, the more likely they are to resist going to bed and to have trouble falling asleep.
  • Behavioral problems. Elementary students who spend more than two hours a day watching TV or using a computer are more likely to have emotional, social and attention problems. Exposure to video games also increases the risk of attention problems in children. Children who watch excessive amounts of TV are more likely to bully than children who don’t.
  • Impaired academic performance. Elementary students who have TVs in their bedrooms tend to perform worse on tests than those who don’t.
  • Violence. Too much exposure to violence on TV and in movies, music videos, and video and computer games can desensitize children to violence. As a result, children may learn to accept violent behavior as a normal part of life and a way to solve problems.
  • Less time for play. Excessive screen time leaves less time for active, creative play.
And there is one more problem.  Because I don’t allow my kids to have all this, and their friend’s parents do, I have the challenge of helping my kids to understand that I’m limiting TV (almost nothing compared to most) DS and Wii time and won’t buy things like Kindles or iPod touches.  They are kids, they don’t get it.  But I can talk to them, and look at their faces and they can look at mine.  And in that, for me, is victory.
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