I knew from the beginning that I didn't want Gwen watching TV until she was older. Numerous studies have show that waiting until after a child turns 2 before introducing television is better for their imagination, concentration, etc. From personal experience, I know that television can be a little... addicting seems too strong a word, but you do get so used to turning on that picture box and zoning out to your favorite characters.
However, on the flip side, I also knew that Gwen was growing up in a technological world, one with gadgets I didn't even dream of as a child. More then ever, you have to be tech savvy, and I wanted her to enjoy that too.
We did hold out until she was 2 before allowing TV time, though we ended up having some computer time before that. Specifically, she loved watching us check our email or do other things online, and she wanted to try the mouse herself. So, I pulled open paint for her.
Before she was even born, I knew what show I wanted to be Gwen's first. I can't even remember at this point what made us decide she "was ready" or we were ready, but at some point we turned on Sesame Street. She loved it, still does. Since then we've added more shows, but not much more time allowed. Sometimes a 30 hour show in the morning if she is ready early, and a video clip (5 or so minutes) before bed, if there is time. On the weekend she gets a little more, but our goal is always for TV to be a temporary break (a relaxing, snuggly time while waking up in the morning!), and active play to be the vast majority.
Other then television and occasional computer time, Gwen loves taking and looking at pictures on my iPhone. She has picked up on how to use that thing so much quicker then I did! She will occasionally play a game on there, but mostly its all about the pictures and home videos. However, my phone has a password on it, and she will not know it.
I know that the older she gets, the more Gwen will need and want to use technology. Luckily for her, it seems to come to her naturally, after all she is growing up with it in a way that I didn't. This is also a reason I'm not in a rush to give her too much access to it now. I want to use this time to give her a love of books, the outdoors, and the ability to use her imagination to take her farther then TV or the internet ever could.
Technology can be a powerful tool, helping us accomplish things we never thought possible, and learn about anything our heart desires. But it is also exposing us in ways that we weren't exposed before. A childhood mistake, instead of being lost to playground gossip, can now be etched online, permanently. As Gwen gets older and asks for more access, we will be having a lot of talks about what is or is not appropriate, and there will be plenty of restrictions in place.
As she grows and her capacity to handle such responsibilities grows, so will we let her access to grow. I will be happy, as long as her imagination gets put to more use then her internet connection, and she spends as much time on her feet (preferably outside) instead of in a computer chair. In the meantime, I'm happy to tell her (politely), No more Gwenie.
How do you handle technology in your household?
Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be updated throughout the day on October 8):
- Has Technology Taken Away Childhood? — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama worries that technology is intruding on the basic premise of childhood - active play in all forms! Join her as she takes a brief look at how play has changed as technology becomes more integrated into the daily lives of our children.
- Fostering a Healthy Relationship with Technology — Jenn at Adventures Down Under describes her children's love of screen time and how her family implements their philosophy and policies on technology.
- Kids Chores for Tech Privileges — Crunchy Con Mommy shares how tying chore completion to iPad privileges worked in her house to limit screen time and inspire voluntary room cleaning!
- Screens — Without the benefit of her own experience, sustainablemum explains her family's use of technology in their home.
- Screen Time - The Battle of Ideologies — Laura from Laura's Blog explains why she is a mom who prioritizes outdoor natural play for her kids but also lets them have ample screen time.
- The Day My iPhone Died — Revolution Momma at Raising a Revolution questions the role technology plays in her life when she is devastated after losing her phone's picture collection from her daughter's first year.
- Finding our Technological Balance — Meegs at A New Day talks about how she finds balance between wanting her daughter to enjoy all the amazing technology available to her, without it overwhelming the natural parenting she's striving for.
- Raising kids who love TV — Lauren at Hobo Mama sometimes fears what children who love screentime will grow up to be … until she realizes they'll be just like her.
- No Limits on Screen Time? Is that Natural? — Susan at Together Walking shares misconceptions and benefits of having no limits on technology and screen time in their home.
- Screen Time — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares what is currently working (and what hasn't) regarding screen time in her household.
- Positive Use of Technology with Kids — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her family's experiences with early technology, shares helpful resources from around the blogosphere, and speculates on what she'd do as a parent with young children today.
- why i will never quit you, TV — How Emma of Your Fonder Heart came to terms with the fact that screen time is happening, and what balance looks like between real and virtual life for both her toddler AND herself.
- Technology Speaks — Janet at Our Little Acorn finds many uses for technology - including giving her child a voice.
- 5 Ways to Extend Children's Screen Time into Creative Learning Opportunities — Looking for a way to balance screen time with other fun learning experiences? Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares 5 fun ways to take your child's love of favorite shows or video games and turn them into creative educational activities.
- What parents can learn about technology from teachers — Douglas Blane at Friendly Encounters discusses how technology in schools enhances children's learning, and where to find out more.
- 5 Tips for a Peaceful Home — Megan of the Boho Mama and author at Natural Parents Network shares her favorite 5 tips for creating a peaceful home environment.
- Technology and Natural Learning — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling writes about the importance of technology as a tool for natural, self-directed learning.
- Babies and Technology — Jana Falls shares how her family has coped, changed their use of, relied on, and stopped using various forms of technology since their little man arrived on the scene
- Kids and Technology — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about the benefits of using technology with her preschooler, and includes a few of their favorite resources.
- Using Technology to Your Advantage: Helping Children Find Balance — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses how technology can be used or abused and gives a few tips to help children learn balance.