Thursday, July 26, 2012

I don't know what to do.

Pretty much every study tells us that kids + screen time = detrimental. Imagine my horror. Not only do my children have zero interest in the things I enjoy*, they seem to love only one thing: the screen.

You may be saying, "Oh what's the big deal? Many kids, left to their own devices, will spend the whole day on the computer. You have to set limits! Simple!" Sure. If I want to police them ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY. Which I do not.

Uno truly has an ability with computers/systems/technology whatnot. I'm 99% certain he'll end up working in the field. How to temper a burning desire? It's his thing.

This week is fairly schedule-free, so I decided to see what they'd do. Sure enough, all day.

When I was 9 (and/or 11), I did not need my mother hovering over me, prying me from a crack pipe. I did not need my mother to ENTHUSIASTICALLY LEAD ME IN MANY ACTIVITIES! Or GIVE ME SUGGESTIONS! I did the things I liked. I read books, drew pictures, played with friends, wrote stories, climbed trees, stared at clouds, whatever.

What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks has happened? I feel like a terrible mother for not figuring this out. I feel like failure on my part has allowed them to become computer addicts. What does this mean for them down the line? If it were only a pastime, I'd put the kibosh on it. Take it away from Uno, though, and he'll spend all his time thinking about it: ways to improve things, ways to modify things, things I don't understand. It's not just a pastime for him.


I hope that this is just a bad day and my perspective (questionable) will return tomorrow.

*P.S. I do not think kids have to share the same interests as their parents. I merely mentioned that because it's been a hard realization recently. That plus the crack computer issue has resulted in a small dark cloud coming to visit.


Deb said...

I'm sorry. Some weeks are just a struggle, aren't they?

Unsolicited Suggestions: Is there any way you could expand his horizons, but also keep his technology interests in mind? Would he like a programming class? Maybe learn how to write code for his own video game? Movie Making software? To be given an old POS computer and a screwdriver to take it apart? A visit to Radio Shack to build his own thing with circuits and capacitors and all those fiddly little things?

My hubby is a professional computer geek, with a degree in Electronics Engineering. For the first two years we were married, our kitchen table was littered with tiny little electronic parts while he built his own answering machine for his Senior Project in college. I'm not unfamiliar with the geeky leaning male.

Maybe you can find a way to make both of you happy. Good luck!

Ellen said...

Those are all awesome suggestions. Getting him involved in something related to what he loves to do but is more interactive in the real world.

I think a lot of the "screen time is bad" stuff comes from the fact that adults tend to ignore kids when they are watching tv or playing a game. If you could do wii games that are more active with them then that alleviates some of that.

Maybe teach him photo editing on the computer so he can participate with you in something you care about?

Hi Kooky said...

We have, indeed, provided him lots of techno learning opportunities and he does do a fair amount of "creative work" on the computer. I think it just got to me that day. I go back and forth between letting him do what he loves (and is good at) and encouraging him in other directions. It's all the cliched balancing act.

tami said...

i feel your pain!

we have a schedule in our house. that way, they are less likely to keep asking and asking when they know the deal.

they are allowed to use screens (wii, ipad, iphone, computer, etc) for 1-2 hours on wednesdays and 2 hours on both saturday and sunday. they are each also allowed 1 half hour of tv each weekday (of course, the olympics don't count!) :) and a movie or two on the weekend.

seems kind of complicated, but actually simplifies things.

argh, 21st century parenting!!!

Eddie said...

Don't beat yourself up over it.

Mine go through phases where I want to bang my (their?) head off the table because they seem to have no ambition/enthusiasm/interest in non-electronic devices. Just when I'm ready to throw in the towel they blow me away with something they've learned.

Anyway, all this rambling to say that I'm sure that you're doing fine and they're learning even when it looks like they aren't. I suggest you hide in a quiet room and have some chocolate.

Hi Kooky said...

Thanks, Eddie - for visiting and the kind words! Yes. CHOCOLATE.

kyooty said...

I'm married to mr computer, and he was very much like this, 2am? apparently and he was hacking games for vic 20's and Commadore 64s. I have a very hard time getting my boys to "go and do" something other than computers. Mr 13 got a ipod (used ) for his birthday? it hasn't elft his hands/pockets sense and the things he can do with that thing?
we did sign mr10 for baseball this year, but he too loves his screen time. It's here in the house, it's what keeps us in food so it's in their blood I think?
Also drummers, I live with drummers.