My 6 month old child needs to be hooked up to an iPhone / iPod Touch? Along the same lines, this weekend I watched the new sensational video of the baby trying to use a magazine like an iPad. (Watch it here.) It was a cute video, and it made me laugh.....at first. But, then I was stopped in my tracks this morning with this "toy," and it made me think.
First of all, I'm not an monster of a mother who doesn't let her children enjoy the technical world. We have Nitendo DSes, iPod touches, and gaming systems in our home. But, my boys are 8 and 4 1/2 years old, not 6 months. Bart will tell you I am a bit crazy about "tech time." It bothers me to see their little minds zoned out and starring at that little screen. (Even though I do the same with my laptop and iPhone. Man, I feel hypocritical.) After I can't take it anymore I deem "tech time" over, and all gadgets must disappear. Whining is almost always the result...."What am I going to do now? I'm sooooooooooo bored."
How about write a story? Play a board game with your brother? Read a real book? Paint a picture? Go outside? Play kickball? Swing on the swingset? Be a kid and enjoy the life you have right here in front of you and not on a screen?!??!
If the fight for my kids' imaginations is this tough now, and I can't imagine if we had started it at 6 months. Those babies need to be seeing the WORLD around them, not a screen. Call me crazy, but I think there is something wrong about an iPhone dressed up with a drool-proof cover and teething rings.
So, here is the tough part. You know the old saying, "Actions speak louder than words?" The same is true with our children. I can say till I am blue in the face that the real world is much more intriguing than my child's DS game. But, if I am plugged in all day long, that is the message they "hear" from me. We have to set the example. Sure, it's fun to stay connected through our gadgets, but we need to have limits. Sometimes, I need to just turn everything off. Every time I sit down to dinner (be it with my family or friends) I need to put my phone away. Let's just say it.... It's rude to text when there is a real human being waiting to talk to you across the table. I'm calling us out on it. (I am guilty here too. No judgments; just a little self-examination on my part.)
I'm not saying quit altogether.....that's silly. Our world is so tech-dependent these days you need to have some degree of it in your life. Our (older) kids would be so lost if we kept everything from them. They need to acquire those skills so that they can function in our tech-savy world when they begin school. Technology can be such a treasure when used the right way. However, I have to admit.....there is a part of me that would like to throw every gadget away and go all Amish in this joint.
There has to be a middle ground.