Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mean Mum

Yep thats me. A meanie Mum!! Hmm well maybe not, but I tell you what, sometimes I feel like it!!
And the feeling is growing and increasing daily!
Lately I have been feeling a bit torn with the idea of technology for our children.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not anti technology. Hell I have the iPad next to me, my iPhone on charge and I am tapping away at a laptop.
However our kids have not really been introduced to technology and I am happy about that, and hoping it stays that way for some time to come.
Please don't think I am bagging you if you have different views than me, because I am not, but simply stating my dilemma.

It feels like, more and more these days, that most kids own an iPod, a Gameboy (DSI or whatever) or even iPads. Technology right at their fingertips, without a want or need for anything more.
I understand the value in these, that they can be great educational and co ordination tools, the entertainment factor etc but I am still not sold. Call me a sceptic, call me silly.
Even though my decision and feelings sit well with me for keeping these from our kids and in the way we are choosing to raise our children,but I can't help but feel .... almost guilty.
Are we , in a way, outcasting our kids? Are we depriving them of something that nearly every one of their peers has?!

To be honest, I just want our children to be .. kids.
To use their imagination for games and role play, the independence to know when they are bored and create something for themselves to do that doesn't involve batteries or sounds.
To know that Mum and Dads phones are just that... Mum and Dads. Our phones , our toys and things they are not allowed to play with.
Its almost like a Pringles packet, once you pop, you can't stop. Once you hand over that precious smart phone or tablet/iPad, and they get a taste of the excitement and games, you might as well say "Sayonara" to ever gaining that control back, or trying to justify to them that they indeed, belong to you.

I don't know about you, but I would not hand my child an envelope with $700 in it and trust them that it will be there, untouched, unscathed and the package all intact, in an hour or 2.
Yet schools are putting these tablets on their student book lists. Parents are handing these precious devices to their kids to play with. These 'toys' shatter to within an inch of their lives with a slip of the fingers and yet 2 and 3 years olds throw them around like they are rag dolls.

Our eldest, who is 4, has played on my iPad a few times. It is a VERY rare treat for her, when the young ones are asleep etc, but it hasn't happened for quite a few months, and she never asks for it either. Even when it is right under her nose, she never looks twice.
We have set rules that these are adult toys and they abide by them.
Are certain kids drawn to technology out of personality or out of habit? I'm curious, what do you think?
I find it hard to allow and introduce these technological devices into our lives and home, when I prefer wood toys over plastic and organic products over normal.
Mean Mum, I know, You can say it!!

But as I said, the guilt may be starting to set in.
Her cousins and friends own iPods, DSI's and those Leapfrog things.
I am sure that one day (I hope in the distant future) she with ask for one. Put one on her Birthday or Christmas list and I am sure , one day, we will have to succumb to the pressure.
I hope that day is years from now.
I hope that She can continue to happily play doctors and hospitals with her dolls. That she can play blocks and trains with her Brothers and Sister.
That when bored , they can head outside to play , and when travelling they can stare out of the window at the scenery.

That's another thing!! Do you allow your children to have car DVD players?
Are they reserved for long trips? Or just running around town?
I am curious. We have DVD players that strap to the headrests of our car but only ever use them for long trips. To Shark Bay (5hrs) at Easter or the occasional Perth trip (4 1/2 hrs). And even this is out of habit. Again, once you start using them, its hard to stop.
But on a trip to my sisters house on a farm (an hour away) we don't use them, and the kids still have a ball. Constantly singing, searching for cows and sheep and admiring the countryside.

All these dilemmas parents are faced with on a day to day basis.
All these decisions we have to make on behalf of our little people.
All these things that could potentially go wrong. Could backfire.

Oh well, I guess , in the end, as long as we are all happy and confident in our decisions for our family, that's all we can ask. We can't compare and judge upon others.
Each to their own and all that jazz!!

But tell me, if I was to take the technology route, where do we start?
Hypothetically..... of course!!


  1. Liz, Im a long time reader and Mum of 6. I dont allow my children all of this technology either. Hell, my 15 yo wasnt allowed a phone until grade 9! I believe children need to use their imagination to develop their minds. Even their school doesnt press these issues within the school. I own a simple taptop and a $24 dollar phone! There will be no ipads, iphones etc here LOL. Besides who could really afford to keep up with the forever changing technology. We love the librabry and my children have developed a passion for books.


  2. Liz, I feel exactly the same way about this issue! I think you have done an amazing job that miss 4 has got to that age without one! I don't think you are mean at all, it is nice to know there are other people out there who have similar views about this.
    From one "mean" mum to another ;)

    Beck Scally :)

  3. I don't think you're mean at all!
    While my kids do get to play on the ipad and Noah does own a leapfrog explorer - we are very strict with their usage. My kids get ipad time once a week (25 mins for noah and 15 for chloe) and they have that on the couch, supervised. The explorer is limited to once or twice per week also - 25 mins usually.
    They watch about 2 hours of TV a week and Noah does reading eggs on the computer 1 x per week and I think this is PLENTY and bordering on too much.
    They do ask for ipad / tv time but I think that's normal. There is usually no complaint when they are told no, which is most of the time lol.

    We don't have a wii or anything like that yet, and don't have a dvd player in our car etc.

    It's just about finding what you're happy with, you're not mean xx

  4. I think technology for kids is something to embrace. Both of my children (grade 3 & prep) require internet access every day for their homework. They've never broken anything, although I have. LOL

    My eldest received a Very High for technology at school and I think her mark is reflective of her familiarity with a range of technology. Rather than refuse access, we decided to teach them about balancing their activities and time. Even at their young age they manage it very well, they know when they've had enough computer time and want to move in the sunshine.

  5. OK I'll admit it, we've got all that crap and I know I my kids play it too much.
    Problem is we introduced it after much begging. We made our oldest wait until she was six. And now number three follows suit so at 2 years old can navigate the ipad with his eyes closed. I'd never have allowed this with my first born, but I caved and I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I know I'm not helping much. I guess what I'm saying if they're not too fussed don't go there, once you do there is no looking back.

  6. Liz I've had much the same attitude as you with introducing technology to my boys. We don't own ipads/iphones so it's something our kids really don't see. If we did, they certainly wouldn't be given free access!

    Our 4yr old did receive a leapster explorer last xmas, though he rarely uses it and ususally only if I've got it out to take away with us.

    And I have a leappad put away for this xmas...I'm not sold on the idea of it yet. I hoping with the touch screen it will mirror the ipad idea. Would love to hear others' thoughts on these!!

    Both purchases took a lot of thought. At the end of the day, I feel that technology has become such a social tool, that I don't want to keep it from them completely.

    Oh and we do use a dvd player on long trips too and it is packed away again once we get back home :)

  7. Liz I think it's great that you have set rules in your house and you follow them in regards to technology. I am a teacher and I let my kids use all the technology available to them. The things Hayden (5) can do on a computer, iphone, ipad or DS are amazing. Saying that he is 'interested' in all those things.
    I think it would be useful to teach your daughter to use the mouse a little so that she is more confident at school if they are using computers. Quite honestly makes it easier for teachers if the students are a little computer literate. Its the same idea as reading - holding the book up the right way, holding the mouse the right way. Literacy is viewed in many many forms not just books.

  8. We have a DVD player, but yes for long trips only, pth, shark bay, but not trips to the farm, an hour and a half away. We have an iPad as a family and my nearly 5yr old uses it for a special treat, it has educational games on it, matching pairs, etc, but only uses it occasionally. My 18 month old tries to tap on it, and can easily scroll on a iPhone.

  9. It is all about balance. Kids can easily have access to technology without compromising on life experience.

    We have an ipad and a wii and they can be wonderful tools as well, used correctly. My kids can quite easily sit in the car for 5 hrs amusing themselves and have done many times, and they can also sit there playing happily on the ipad or watching a movie as well (and the amount of trips I do with 2 kids on my own long distance, I am all for them being amused so I can chill out sometimes).

    The educational apps are fantastic and we have been given many from school to help with learning difficulties our son has. Many disabilities are having marvellous results with ipads.

    I am all for access to technology as I also know I am in charge with what they can access and in my life it is all about balancing technlogy with other pursuits.

    My kids love the outdoors, books, riding their bikes in the street and they also love time playing games on the wii with Dad and the ipad.

  10. I don't think you're a mean mum... or if you are, I am too! =o)

    We decided a while ago we were going to resist the leapfrog/ipods/Dsi etc for as long as possible. A DSi is fine for a 12 yr old but it just wouldnt sit right with us to give it to a 5yr old.

    My girls love, LOVE, LURRRRVE music and dancing so Miss 5 got a little boombox for Christmas. I had a choice between two at the same price- a pink one with ipod connectivity and a Wiggles one with an inbuilt microphone. I went with the Wiggles one. I know she'll outgrow it quicker but then she can pass that to her little sister and get a more 'tween' one later on.

    And for her birthday she got a Wii "just dance- kids" game. Oh my goodness, my girls LOVE it! They sing the songs and do the dances even when the wii isnt on.

    They also have their own little eMac and they have one game (educational- has a workbook that comes with it) and they play it sometimes but mainly they use the eMac to look at photos of themselves and family that we have on there and to play music from itunes. They're learning to navigate a computer, use a mouse, scroll etc but they're not glued in front of the screen.

    I'm no screen-free champion, I love plonking the kids in front of the tv for ten mins in the morning while we finish getting ready for work. But I don't want to introduce distractions to them unecessarily.

    And on weekends or their Monday home with Dad they play outside, do painting, make kites, go to the park, play pirates, bake, play dolls and just do normal kids stuff.

    We don't have a car dvd player but we live less than 10kms from the Perth CBD so it would be pointless anyway! But we borrowed a portable DVD player when Bella flew up to Broome last month.

  11. I believe its all about balance. My boys love running, playing and being outside. They are active, healthy and full of energy. Both of them have some time on the Ipad nearly every second day. We have apps that are educational and age appropriate. Our 4 year old also can have a turn on the computer, with mum or dads help about once a week. There is some awesome things for our kids in this technology world. Its when they are using these devises too much and lose the energy, creativity and inspiration of just being a kid that its too much! I think what is more important is having SAFETY on our computers so that nothing can be opened or discovered or 'accidently pops up' that is inappropriate for our kids. Computer protection.


Thankyou for taking the time to read and more importantly comment on my blog. They are all so appreciated! Liz x