As a parent, there is a clear and strong dilemma between how much technology you should allow young children to be exposed to. One part of you wants to say “no!” and make them play with more traditional toys, and the other part of you wants them to embrace technology knowing it will be a massive part of their future and not wanting them to get left behind,
In our house we try to balance it, and if anything we perhaps bias that balance in favour of more traditional things, like playing outside, jigsaw puzzles, writing with a pen, painting with brushes, going swimming, knocking down dominoes, having a story book read at bedtime… and all these are great, but there is no disputing the fact that the future is digital, and kids need to learn how to be fluent in this new language.
We allow Olivia to watch the iPad in bed for around 20-30 minutes on a Friday and Saturday night, and use it very occasionally during the week. Tonight, however, she had been nagging at me to use the computer to do some drawing. I have my swanky new laptop which she is NOT touching, and my old laptop which I wouldn’t really be fussed about if she dropped jam sandwiches all over it.
I loaded up the website of the kids tv channel NickJr, as they have loads of activities for kids, and found a colouring in page, which she had fun messing around with. Using the trackpad on a laptop is something she hasn’t really done before, and a skill she was clearly picking up as she went, but to her credit she quickly got the grasp of it and soon didn’t need my help at all.
She will no doubt be asking for the computer each day, for a few days now, but we’re going to have to go old school for a bit and get her playing with some toys, paints, crayons again, and we can save laptop time for last thing before bed, so she’s not on it for too long.
Parents, how do you deal with, or (if your kids are still really young) intend to deal with this problem?