I was browsing over on Pinterest the other day (I know, so unlike me) when I came across this quote…
‘I am so thankful I had a childhood before technology took over.’
I paused. I thought. I mean, yes, I get it, I understand the sentiment behind it. But it turns out that I don’t agree with it, which kind of surprised me.
I want my kids to have a childhood full of adventures, running free outside, creating their own imaginary worlds, losing themselves in books, gardening, crafting, painting, playing with trains and Lego – all the usual suspects and the kind of things that I got up to as a girl. I don’t want it to be dominated by TV, Kindles, PlayStations, mobile phones and the like. They need to move, explore and think. They need to be children.
But then, I watched my 5 year old daughter earlier today learning all about dinosaurs on her Kindle. The app was teaching her the names, how big they were, how they lived. It then prompted a conversation about them between us. Technology played a part, teaching and educating, and then parenting did the rest.
My children have the privilege of growing up in an environment where their seemingly never-ending curiosities can be satisfied, where mums still don’t have all of the answers but they’re likely to have a phone that does. And though they’re not old enough yet, I know I’ll feel happier than my mum must have done the first time she let me out into the world alone, as they’ll be able to call me when they want me. I’ll be able to check they’re safe. The internet and phones can help us, though yes, there’ll be caution discussed and advised when the these things come into play for them.
Technology should be there to make our lives easier, it should be used at our convenience. We shouldn’t be a slave to it, it should be serving us. Which can be the tricky bit.
So there’s the job for me, right there. And it is a tough one. Life is pretty easy if I just turn on the TV and get on with my chores and work, letting it babysit my children. I could do that, and of course at times I do, and for that, I’m grateful. But my challenge is to utilise the good in technology and get the balance right for my kids. They can learn from it, use it, and then I need them to put it aside to go and play and create again. Not an easy task when we’re surrounded by gadgets and gizmos that entertain and draw little ones like moths to a flame, but then most things that are worth doing aren’t easy.
There’s also the technology that helps me as a parent. With today’s technology, my housework takes less time thanks to the dishwasher, washing machine, steam mop, hoover and so on, so I’ve more time to actually spend with the kids. And thanks to technology I am actually here at home with the children – oh, to explain how far technology has come and my blogging and social media world to teen me!
I don’t feel we should be bemoaning technology, I think as parents it’s our job to work out how to effectively utilise it, monitor it, and keep that good old fashioned childhood fun going. I know that as my children get older, this will get tougher and tougher to do, so I’m ready for the fight.
What do you think? Is technology a blessing or a curse?