How much time do your kids get with an iPad/iPhone/computer?
Lately I find myself having this conversation a lot with friends and other moms at my daughter’s school. Everyone seems to be wondering what’s enough, what’s too much, and how everyone else is dealing with preventing the wave of technology from completely overtaking their homes and kids’ minds. And like every parenting decision, it’s not easy and not black and white.
I have spent the last ten years of my career working in technology and I am big enough to admit that yes, I am quite inseparable from my iPhone. A lot of it is for work but a lot of it is for things outside of work: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and a bunch of other time-takers. We have an iPad at home and a laptop in the office. My husband and I often spend the evenings sitting next to each other working on our respective work laptops.
Do I like that technology is such a huge part of our life? Absolutely not. I think there are ways in which it is bad for our family. We try to be as disciplined as we can - no phones when we are eating, no background TV, etc. - but we’re absolutely not perfect. It is a core part of our daily lives and while we can blame it on work, the reality is that that’s not the only reason we’re attached to our gadgets.
You can, I guess, call me a hypocrite, because when it comes to my daughter I have taken an extremely firm stance on the amount of iPhone/iPad/computer time she has. She is allowed to play a few kid games on my phone when we are waiting for something. Computer is only to look up something she needs for a school project or to do some math or reading stuff (there are special websites her school uses). She plays a few games on the iPad, but maybe for 20 minutes a week, tops. And I refuse to download stuff like Angry Birds even though she is talking my ear about it.
Here’s what I figure: She is going to live with all these gadgets and technology as a core part of her life, for the rest of her life. So for as long as I can limit it, I will.
This is becoming harder and harder as many of her friends get a lot more time with gadgets. It’s become routine for her to come back from a playdate and ask why so and so can have her own iPad and she can’t. She asks me to download games and apps I’ve never heard of almost every week (sometimes I do, most of the time I don’t.) I know this is an uphill battle.
What about you and your kids: How much time do they get with all the various technology gadgets? Do you have strict limits or think that they are fine as long as your kids are playing games that are appropriate?