Self Expression or Obsession?

If you are a parent you have perhaps seen your children engaging in the above activities; texting, gaming, and living behind the computer screen. In this day and age your status derives from the technology devices you have. Perhaps I am dating myself when I say this, but shouldn’t our children be out socializing with other children their age? How about riding bikes? Playing sports? Signing in the choir? Playing cowboys and indians? Growing up I HAD an Atari Game system, however I played it mostly during rainy days at home with my siblings. I certainly did not have a cell phone, cordless home phones barely hit the market!

 

When did it become a per-requisite for children to have free unmonitored access to all of this technology? When is too much, too much? I was always taught to do things in moderation. A child that my 2.5 year old son attends class with has a cell phone, yes HIS personal cell phone, an iPad, and his own laptop; he is 3.5. Tell me something, what on earth can a 3.5 year old do with all of this technology that it not only warrants the purchase for personal use, but the parents actually bought it for them? In my honest opinion this is exactly what causes children to grow up too soon. They are being constantly exposed to the world that these technologies introduce at a much too young of an age. Again I ask, what 3.5 year old NEEDS so much technology? It’s one thing to allow a young child to use/play on mommy’s and/or daddy’s electronic devices, but it’s an entirely different ball game when that child has ones of their own; not shared with a parent.

 

Children these days are not experiencing falling from a bike, in fact recent reports are showing a steady decline in bike purchases year after year, with an incline in gaming consoles. I can attest for this first hand! This past Christmas we bought our two year old his first bike! He had been asking for one, because grandpa, mommy and daddy all have one and ride them. When my husband and I went to Toys ‘r’ Us to purchase a bike for our son, we had no issues walking right to the bike section, looking at the varieties, having our son sit on them to see which size was the best fit with room to grow. That was NOT the same story a few aisle’s down in the electronics section. In fact there were a few brawls over someone buying the last xBox 360, and a few parents cussing each other out for buying the last copy of some of the highly desired games. It was NOT a pretty sight. We asked for help in getting the right bike for our son, and were told that we would have to wait or do it our self because staff were all tied up helping out in the electronics department. Not to mention the COUNTLESS young aged children throwing fits over not getting the games they wanted. My sons were unaffected by it.

Heck they don’t even play the ONE game console we have for them! In fact they would rather play in the Step two kitchen and dinner we have for them, or the pop up Cars tent. They BLOW past the TV and run straight for the train table and countless (yes I do mean COUNTLESS) varieties of cars and trucks to play with. My 2.5 year old begs me every day to take him to the park and take him out side to play. He even likes coming out to my photography studio to help me and play around with my gear and cameras.

 

So why do we, as parents, allow technology to consume the lives of our children? Is it really a sign of the times, or is it something greater?

I recently had someone tell me that it was a form of self expression, I had to stand back and take a look at it from that angle, and since having done so, I still have to say, I find no form of self-expression in it? What exactly are they expressing about themselves in all of this technology? It’s not so much the technology as it is the insane AMOUNTS of technology they are caught up in.

Again this might be dating me but what is so great about all of this technology? It has made us to impersonal, it has cut out anticipation, it has cut out life. Spending your entire day behind a computer screen limits your ability to experience and live life. I know a few people who go places with their children just long enough to take a photo to say that they were there, but they don’t stay longer than that to experience it. Technology was suppose to aid us, to help us better experience life, and the world around us, now it’s just blocking us from it.

Are your children really using technology as an aid? Is it a form of self-expression as some say, or is it a true obsession? How should we combat it? Cut it off as if it were like alcoholism? I don’t think so, the technology is great, when used right and not wholly obsessed and self absorbed into. Moderation. Key word, in moderation. Limit the usage, put requirements on your children to EARN, yes, I said it, EARN the privilege to use technology. It’s NOT a right to have these things, we as parents and consumers know all too well the steep price tags on these items, so make them earn the privilege to use and have these items. It should not be an automatic.

Although my children as still very young, I dread the day they ask for a cell phone because all of their friends have one. My husband and I have already set up our rules and guidelines, if our children can not, do not want to follow those rules and guidelines, then they will not have those privileges.

Let me put it in a different spin, would you allow your children to eat a McDonald’s burger, fries and soda all day every day for food? No? You wouldn’t? Why? Right! Because that is NOT a balanced and nutritious diet! Exactly! Does that mean McDonald’s should be avoided always? No, not really, but in moderation it’s still good to treat the kids to, like when my two year old decided to use the potty by himself, he got to go on a mommy and him date to McD’s for a happy meal. The point is, he EARNED that privilege, it wasn’t an automatic.

 

So, Obsession or Self Expression?

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