The "i" Generation

toddler2

I wish the above weren’t so true. Although, she is figuring out a fork. Just not as fast as she did my iPad.

There is a ridiculous amount of guidance out there on how much “screen” time you should allow your children to have.  For the longest time, children under two weren’t supposed to get any. Even if they had older siblings.

We tried to follow this with our first child, and I swear she could smell the iPad. She could find it tucked away in the back corner of a dark room, and she hated dark rooms. She would find it and come toddling out with it triumphantly clutched in her tiny fingers.

Our saving grace was that she loved being showered with attention more. Loved being read to, “helping”, anything that put her front and center of our world. So, we could get the iPad away from her without a complete meltdown.

I know, kids cry, etc. But when you work, you’d like your few hours with your child to be as nice as you can get them without a tug-of-war over an electronic device every day.

At a neighborhood block party, I asked some of the other moms how they kept their little ones away from their TV and iPad. They offered me a cocktail, told me to sit down, and then explained that they didn’t. If the pediatrician asked them about it, they’d lie.

Wait, what?

Most had older children, and they said it just wasn’t possible or reasonable. They then informed me our school district gives kids an iPad starting in kindergarten to do all of their homework, reading assignments, etc.

Still, I tried to keep her away from TV and the iPad for a while longer, but the realities of making dinner, doing laundry, and washing the dishes won out, and we allowed her to have Sesame Street.

That mostly made her happy, and she would drop TV like a rock the moment we could again give her our undivided attention.

DD2 is an entirely different child. She likes attention, but on her terms. She laughs, gives hugs, and even pets you to soothe herself, but she wants “alone” time. We were terrified at first that this was a sign of autism, but our pediatrician reassured us. DD2 was normal. DD1 was exceptionally high maintenance.

However, this means that if DD2 gets a hold of an iPad, there is no getting it back without screaming. It’s like stealing her favorite toy. Which, in a way, it is.

toddler

So, we compromised, as parents so often do. She’s at a formal daycare all day, so she gets no screen time during the day. We figured a little at night while we’re making dinner won’t hurt anything. And if I’m truly honest, I’m concerned not introducing kids to technology early enough puts them at a disadvantage to their peers.

We took our old iPad and removed almost everything from it except some games specifically designed for her age group that her therapist recommended. These were games she was only allowed to play while she stood on uneven surfaces, for example.

She loves them, and they do seem to be teaching her things.

We still have story time and snuggle time. Playing with Fisher Price Octonauts time, Duplo time, and Magna Tiles (Magna Tiles are amazingly fun, even if you’re a grown-up). To that, we have added TV time and iPad time.

Everything in moderation.

How about you? Did your kids know how to work an iPad before a fork? Did you allow them to have any TV?  Could you lure them away from an iPad with books?

7 thoughts on “The "i" Generation

  1. For reference, my sons are 8 & 10. We didn’t have an iPad until they were older so it wasn’t an issue. There were televisions but not really electronics. And it seems most of the anti-electronics professionals we’ve encountered are either childless or had their children before the digital revolution. They also don’t have the considerations modern parents do with the nanny state. I mean, by this, how often parents are harassed for letting the kids just play. Locally we had a mom face the wrath of the state via CPS (Child Protective Services) for letting her kids play in the front yard by themselves at 6 years old. I think this fear mongering and lack of time to be kids is going to be harmful for society in the long run to be honest.

    1. Omg, yes on the over protective police. We have a park at the end of our block. Large field kids play soccer in, play park with slides, whole bit.

      But, even people with older kids don’t let their kids go down there to play alone after one mom got in trouble letting her 10 years old daughter walk the block down there to play and gave her a cell phone to call in case of trouble.

      When I was a kid, we roamed the neighborhood on our bikes. And the neighborhoods weren’t any safer than ours is now.

      It’s no wonder why kids are inside more these days.

  2. For reference, my son is 26. 😉 So for us, it was stopping him from watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so he would stop kicking the furniture when he was very young.

    I’m a computer programmer that worked his way up to that from systems engineer, (No college, just Army electronics training.) so my son tended to have hand-me-down computers that were still better than what most adults had.

    We were able to control his “screen time” pretty easily early on. There were a few times that I had to take the power cable off of the computer, but that was rare.

    Back then, the trend was making sure kids were computer literate, not trying to get them away from them. I’m glad we made the investment because the school he is teaching leans heavily on the teachers to be tech literate and he has remarked on how some of the older teachers still have problems.

    He’s also adept at calling BS when kids claim their email etc. is not working. 😉

    I too dislike how housebound kids are and how parents are terrified of kids being outside and alone. I have an older blog post about riding my bike to the next town to buy comic books when I was 10 years old. That would be the lead story on the local news these days.

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