My parenting is experiencing technical issues


We had parent-teacher meetings last week, where it was suggested my kids spend more time on the computer.

This was a tricky one because I’d prefer them to spend less. Their current exposure is limited to the occasional session of Mathletics or Literacy Planet. And, while they wait for each other to start/finish their swimming lessons, they might get 10-minutes on an iPad game.

And that’s it. No iPhone. No iPod. No DS. No laptop. No game consoles.

I think computers steal childhoods. So I intend to keep my kids away from them for as long as possible.

I want them to read. Actual books with pages, not Kindles.

I want them to play board games, not Playstation ones. (Their delight at being introduced to Scrabble this week was so divine.)

I want them to play real sports, not Wii.

I want them to paint with brushes, not “share” on Instagram (especially after reading this story on ivillage).

I want them to have a rich imaginary lives, unassisted by the virtual world.

Critics insist I’m disadvantaging them, that they will be “left behind”. But I don’t believe them.

I think I’m putting them ahead, in so many ways. I reckon those technical skills can be picked up pretty fast, when they’re really needed. In the meantime, my children’s creativity is being given a chance to thrive.

Just look at me, the 45-year-old luddite, working in the digital world.

And I hope that keeping technology at a distance will protect them – for just that little bit longer – from the ugly side of the internet, the bullying, the bitchiness, the tween sexualisation.

What do you think? Am I denying my children the advantages of a digital education?

6 thoughts on “My parenting is experiencing technical issues

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  1. once they’re exposed too the digital world, there is no going back… believe me… i hate that my kids were bought some of these gaming consoles & try & limit it…
    the plus side is, expecially with the boy-type creature that i can use it to control his behaviour – 1 threat of ‘no screens’ stops his behaviour escalating & actually makes him think b4 acting… i also let them write their speeches on the computer – 1st time ever zac has been doing homework, then they get time on it as a reward…
    there is a program that they use at school called ‘studyladder’ that they can use at home – the feral actually likes to work further on this…

  2. So much to talk about here…Actually, I wish there were more 45 year old Luddites around the place! Firstly, I am simply amazed that the teachers have suggested more technology for your children and I wonder why – is it because they’re not proficient in technology in the classroom? As an English teacher, I am constantly recommending wide reading at home – even with very competent students, not just ones with poor literacy skills. I’d prefer paper books of course (being a bit of a Luddite myself) but I’m not averse to e-books – anything to get them reading:) I think bans are tricky, I’ve tried it with my daughter, having a mid-week curfew (no social media Sun-Thurs) so she’ll do her homework and read but it has limited success and she feels like a social isolate! My son was a Simpsons and Nintendo junkie and I tried to limit it’s use but it was an ongoing strain and battle. I think balance is the key – sounds a bit cliched I know but I don’t think we can avoid our kids embracing technology and all its advantages, and there are some excellent programs out there, eg. Mathletics (which helped reduce my daughter’s disdain for Maths:) but there are also lots of negative influences. Those mindless computer games where your avatar crushes, kills and destroys everything in sight (with quite graphic blood bursting out) are horrible. Scrabble sounds great – a brilliant way to strengthen vocabulary and foster a love or words. Take a photo of you all playing together and Instagram it! Haha, I’m serious, it might spread the word faster and it’s definitely worth spreading!

    1. They felt that doing more Mathletics would strengthen their poor maths skills, same with Literacy Planet. I meant to get a photo of the Scrabble game in action and forgot!

  3. I hate computer based homework as I need to police it so carefully or mathletics will be switched to some gaming site in the blink of an eye. My son definitely has the potential to be one of those technology addicts, ie, you just can’t reason with him when he is into a computer game. We have to set very strict limits or it gets totally out of control. His iPod is confiscated more often than he actually has it. Phones all have to have pin codes on them and parental controls on all computers. Wii remotes have also had to be hidden.

  4. Good on u. I’m very much the same. It comes down to that flow theory where you can either watch others have all the fun (as in tv) or do it in a virtual worldmie wii etc, which isn’t real, or actually engage in living yrself. I’m not sure it will protect yr kids from cyber evils though. I’m sure they will use a lot of pester power to get on fb etc. it’s how they socialize. Teaching them how to manage it is probably a better way, at least that’s what I think. You can’t teach a child road safety unless you cross the traffic …

  5. I totally agree with this. I had my own computer from about age 11 (divorced parents, Dad bought expensive gifts). I was given pretty free reign with it but I studied a lot. I read thousands of books, though. I still prefer paper ones over e-books. Much easier to read… And it’s real! If I have kids one day I shudder to think how tech-obsessed they will have to be due to this consumerist, materialistic society that just wants to upgrade every 5min. You know there’s a problem with the world when gen Y starts to hate the way things are going.

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