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Why "I am NOT a VOLCANO!"

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Book I am Currently Reading: Peter and The Shadow Thief

Monday, May 3, 2010

Touchy Topic Tuesday- Children and Technology

Hey there friends! I guess it's back in the saddle again, huh? I've been excessively busy for over a week getting ready for a fair that flopped for me, but was good for the school, so I guess that's what matters anyway.
Anyway- I'm still recovering, believe it or not. I cleaned all day. I'm exhausted...and it didn't seem to make a dent. I have costume pieces, wings, root beer kegs, and all manner of weapons thrown about my whole house. (Don't worry- the weapons are mostly decorative, unsharpened, stainless steel swords and such. Anything that would hurt any of my children is out of sight.)
So, today I'm going to make it short and sweet- but not as short as last time.
Children And Technology

All over the inter net, in articles, in conversation, I hear parents crying in outrage about their children and cell phones, computers, I-pods, blackberries, and the list goes on.

The majority of parents I talk to seem to be completely against their children having access to technology such as a cell phone, though, in my experience, the majority of children now-a-days have them. So they can't all REALLY be against them.

"I didn't have a cell phone or the inter net growing up. My kid can survive without it too!" passionate mothers declare, pointer finger stretched to the sky as though she is standing behind a pulpit.

The truth of the matter is, yes, we did survive. But we lived in a completely different age.

Back in my day, we had to write our papers in black or blue pen. And it had to be in cursive.

Did you know that cursive is becoming what some consider a 'lost art'? They don't even teach it in school now. The lessons for cursive have been replaced by typing lessons, and some junior high and high schools issue their students lap tops the way they would issue a text book for the year.

When it comes down to it, we survived, but it's possible our children can't. Well, I'm sure they'd SURVIVE, but I'm not sure they'd THRIVE. I honestly think that to deny them access to some of the 'controversial' technology out there really might be doing them a social and educational disservice.

I admit- when my children are around 9 or 10, they will probably get a cell phone. I'm also admitting that it will be heavily monitored- only certain phone numbers will be allowed to be called, only certain people will be allowed to text. There most certainly are dangers. But everything forbidden becomes desirable, and if the thing they want is completely out of reach, the more likely a child is to rebel. A child who is given a thing that they find completely wonderful, and given the responsibility of rules to follow, well, that child will live up to expectations.

My point is that our children are the ones who will be inventing the next big thing. They will be using this technology in ELEMENTARY school. Some of us find that intimidating because we have NO idea how to work it. It was a sad sad day when my brother (12) showed my dad how to put the parental controls on the inter net. But they will use it because they need it. It's the way the world is now.

Why fight it? Why not embrace it and teach your children how to be responsible?

What do you think? When will you allow your children to have cell phones or to access the inter net?


Michelle said...

My 6 year old is in the gifted program at the elementary school, and two of their primary activities are in-depth research online, and creating reports using Power Point and Animoto. They also build robots. She plays with Power Point for fun in her spare time. I love that she's tech savvy and wouldn't dream of dissuading her from her passion for e-creating. Computers are vital to our society and will continue to play a huge role in everyday life.

My oldest daughter goes into middle school next year. She wanders our neighborhood pretty freely, and we're getting her a mobile phone with unlimited calls and texting to keep tabs on her. Plus, she's going to be involved in extra-curricular activities at her new school, which is across post (her elementary school is right across the street). So it'll be more for us than for her. However, I have to say that mobile phones are a part of most teens' lives and that without a mobile phone, kids are disconnected. It's how they're communicating.

I'm fine with my kids using the internet and cell phones and television. I'm fine with them not using cursive writing and I'm fine with my soon-to-be 2nd grader having typing speed tests. It's progress. It's educational evolution. And it's adding greatly to my children's life experiences.

With all that said, it's a parent's job to monitor and guide their children and make sure they aren't abusing their technology. We've already begun talking to our soon to be 6th grader about how we will monitor all call logs and text messages each day. This way, we know she's not using her phone inappropriately. We'll keep track of the number of calls and texts in case she decides to delete ones she doesn't want us to see. If that starts happening, she loses her texting rights. It's not that we don't trust's just that I have seen it happen with other kids.

And now that I've written an essay on your comment screen, I'll quit. :)

esianoyam3 said...

Well, our oldest knew how to type her name on the computer when she was about 2 and a half, so I guess we're okay with the computer thing, lol. With a daddy who works in IT and a mommy who spends too much time on the computer editing pictures, our kids are bound to want to spend time on the computer, too.

I think just like with everything else, it's all about moderation. Right now, I feel like she gets plenty of computer time at school, and since she's only in kindergarten, she doesn't need access to a computer for homework, so we limit how much time she spends on the computer at home. I like for her to explore other interests in her spare time - she loves art, reading, etc, and it's always good for her to get in a bit of physical exertion, too. :)

I think it's going a bit overboard when people give their child their "own" computer or Facebook account when they're 6 or 7 (I actually know people who have allowed this), but that's just personal opinion. My kids might be given a no-frills laptop at some point for schoolwork, but they will be very heavily monitored - they won't be allowed to have computers in their bedrooms because I like knowing what they're doing, and eventually who they're talking to online.

As far as the cell phone, I'm taking a wait-and-see approach. My kids will probably have one by middle school, but again, nothing fancy and lots of limits - I'd like for my kids to actually have in-person conversations with their friends, but that's probably wishful thinking. :)

leaner said...

My kids go to a Waldorf inspired school, they teach them cursive and do not allow them to use computers until 9th grade.

I am totally ok with this. I know that just because they aren't computer literate before preschool doesn't mean they will never be computer literate. Hello, I am pretty good on the computer and never used one (aside from some silly DOS class in High school, talk about obsolete.)

However I think there are places when I computer is a good thing, and when she starts having to write papers, my 9 year old will be allowed access to the computer (under supervision.)

This article explains how I feel about it better than I ever could-

Mimi said...

Just a thought on the cell phones... for a mom with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, they have been a life saver! It has eased my mind as my kids go out and about, to know that I can be in touch with them and know that they are safe. Also, my dad used to send me on dates with a quarter in my shoe so I could call for help in case something happened and I needed him and now, I would NOT send my daughter out on a date, without a cell phone to call for help if needed... it's just too scary these days. Oh well, just my humble opinion.

Lourie said...

Never say never. My girls have phones. My middle girl doesn't technically need one yet, but the oldest one does and let me tell you I am so grateful she has it. Internet usage is closely monitored. TV is an ever changing animal. Sometimes I forget how old they are getting. But I also still have a little one. So I have to be careful for him too. Great topic!

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