Like many modern families, the Beloved and I have faced the issue of how to integrate all of these cool new devices into the lives of the kids.
I won’t deny it—they find today’s uber-tablets to be extremely compelling diversions. As a teacher, I have taken advantage of the iGadget love to roll out reading programs to boost the reluctant readers in my school. But as an aunt and step-parent, I’ve grappled with the best way to set limits at home, and I know I’m not in that boat alone these days.
So I was delighted to find this fascinating article which looks at the issue of family device limits from the perspective of kids. It reports on a study of 249 families where the kids were surveyed on what technology rules their families have, and what makes these rules easy or hard to follow.
The children itemized over 500 different technology rules their families followed, which fell into broader categories such as rules which limited the quantity of time spent on technology, banning of particular sites/games/activities or use of technology as a currency which could be earned or taken away in exchange for chores or good behaviour. Again, I admit we have used these principles ourselves. I remember taking away an iPad once when someone was too engrossed in their game to talk to Grandma.
But what I found interesting about this particular survey were the things which annoyed the kids about their parents’ tech use. They expected their parents to practice what they preach—if they had to put their devices away at certain times, they expected their parents to have to do it too. And they were critical of parents who over-shared about them on social media. Kids care about privacy too.
I expect issues like this to become even more complex as the technology develops even further. Is it fair to say ‘Mom is using her phone to read, not to game, so there are no restrictions?’ Is it fair to say ‘The phone is actually a safety device and so cannot be taken away’ or ‘As long as Mom is paying for the phone, she can access your text messages?’ These are all questions with no perfect answer, and each family will have to negotiate these as they come up. But one thing is for sure: it is not as clear-cut as it used to be.
What are your family’s own rules on gadget use? And do you give your kids unlimited time with their gizmos if the use them to e-read?
Photo credit: Here.