We live in a technological age where we have smartphones where we can’t go five minutes without checking Twitter, Facebook, email, or Words with Friends, and the list goes on. I know I only have a 2 year old & one on the way, but Lboy is getting to the stage where he wants to use my Iphone to watch Netflix all.the.time. He can be distracted by the TV if it’s on, even if it’s not a kids’ show. Combine that with the fact that Todd & I spend a lot of time online (obviously.) Todd plays video games, he’s on Twitter, Facebook, & has a blog. I blog on 2 different sites, have a personal & 2 blog Facebook pages, 2 Twitter accounts, a Blog Frog Community, & numerous other accounts online.
Growing up, I was allowed an hour of TV during the weekday, my parents didn’t buy video game systems, we were required to spend all our free time outside before starting our homework, & in the summers it was go outside & play or come inside & do chores. Technology was no where near as advanced or accessible (& inexpensive) as it is now. We were one of the first families to have a computer & even then internet use was nothing like it is now.
I really believe that it’s important for my kids to be active like I was when I was little. But, at the same time, they are going to have to use the internet for homework & I’m not going to keep them from doing what other kids their age are doing by not allowing them to have Facebook pages or a cell phone. Besides how can I keep my kids off the internet when I spend so much time on it?
So what’s the healthy balance, is there a healthy balance, or does it even need to be balanced?
According to poll cited Parade Magazine’s article, Generation Wired, “51% of American teens log on to a social media site more than once a day & 22% log on more than 10 times a day […] and kids ages 11 to 14 spend, on average, 73 minutes a day texting; for older teens, it’s closer to two hours.” (Hello, I send up to 2700 texts a month. How do I tell my kids they can’t text all the time?!)
One of the biggest concerns that parents have is that their kids are “texting, checking Facebook, & chat” while they are doing their homework (also from Parade Magazine.)
Some things that we already implement in our daily lives, is Todd & I do not bring our computers or our phones to the dinner table (or any meal for that matter.) Todd doesn’t play video games when Lboy is awake & now that I’m not designing, my computer isn’t on if Lboy is awake.
As he gets older, our “rules” or guidelines will ebb & flow with Lboy’s (and other kids’) age & needs. For the time being, I will be happy with where we are at, pay attention to what we might need to change, & we’ll keep assessing what needs to be done.
What kind of balance do you think, if anything, your family has or needs?
To find out what kind of internet parent you are, go to: Parade.com/wired