I will preface this post by saying that my wife and I are busy working parents, are both educated people and logically, are very aware of the concerns of exposing our 2 young children to excess technology –whether it be TV, iPads, etc to simply keep the kids busy/occupied.
Of course we should only be exposing them to educational shows & apps and in very limited amounts. And of course nothing is more important than spending as much quality face to face time with our kids as possible. We do not disagree at all. But, did I forget to mention that my wife and I are also busy working parents of 2 young children so sometimes as a parent you simply have to do what you need to do to makes everyone’s life easier?
We are a household of technology – 3 TVs (w DVR), 2 iPhones, 1 iPad, 2 netbooks, 2 laptops and 2 DVD screens in our family vehicle… I would argue this is probably relatively typical. Clearly our children are going to be exposed to all of these whether we want them to or not. They're there and as parents, we use them every day. And honestly, so do our kids.
They love Disney Jr & Treehouse on TV. We are ok with that. And YouTube is their new favourite online site – my son, who is almost 3 and is fascinated with trains and planes right now, would watch hours of videos of random airports/planes flying and trains around the world if we let him. We do limit that time but we believe if he is truly interested in these things, what harm is there in exposing him to this as another way of visual learning?
And yes, there are times that to get our kids to sit at the table and eat with us like a family, we have been known to bribe them on occasion with a Disney movie on the netbook or an iPad app. Are we proud of this? No. But as 2 busy working parents, sometimes you have to do what you have to do to keep peace. Do we feel guilty about how much technology our kids are using at such a young age –sure, a little – but we choose to fight certain battles. And if watching a video before bed settles them down enough to make that process easier for everyone, we are going to roll with it on occasion.
We still read books to them, play outside, have quality old-fashioned play time like kids should have, we just also incorporate technology as a tool to make our crazy lives just a little bit easier for everyone.
And honestly, I have to say there is nothing more amazing than seeing how quickly a toddler can master an iPad. :)
By Scott Taylor
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