As happens in every average household with children, parents are all too aware of the drawbacks of continuous use of gadgets on children. My own daughter was brought up with virtually no gadgets to occupy her in her growing up years. We found ways to distract her and keep her occupied with books and stories and board games, even as some of her friends had a free run of dad’s mobiles or their own I pads.
As a mother I would continuously read up on the ill effects of children being addicted to electronic gadgets and how I could not let that affect my child.
But slowly I was also realizing that we could not completely restrict the usage technology at home. To be fair it was so much easier now to stay in touch, order groceries online, paying bills, etc given our busy schedule. My husband and I rekindled our love for reading with the Kindle.
I was realizing that technology doesn’t always have to be the bad guy! But how to implement a structured and a planned exposure to electronic gadgets was still a problem I was dealing with.
One day, we were visiting our native place and the long and unending drive put my daughter into a boring mode. As a last resort, My 9 year old was given the mobile to play with. It did not take hours but only minutes for her to understand the nuances of the instrument and she downloaded her friend’s favourite game. It was a game where a little girl was running away from the police and she was collecting gold coins on the way which gave her more life.
I noticed that my Daughter was missing out on a lot of coins and as a mom I advised her to be careful about it. She immediately responded by saying “Mom, do you want me to save my life or collect coins?”
A question which was too big for me to answer, gave me more questions to ponder. If my 9 year old is compelled to think about crucial thoughts because a game, why not let her experience it. Critical thinking and problem solving are some of the skill we try to teach and enrich our students with in schools. And here was a perfect example of technology actually helping us out on a boring drive and also making my daughter learn some crucial life skills.
But as I said, even now I am aware of the ill effects of being addicted to technology and I still struggle with setting boundaries for my child.
Please share your thoughts and dilemmas as a parent on the question of electronic gadgets with us and how you maintain boundaries with your children.