As an adult, I’m fully aware that nowadays we live in a digital age where we’re taught to embrace technology from an early age, as this seems to be the new universal language in which we communicate, whether it be calling, texting, skype-ing, face-booking, tweeting, blogging, emailing etc,
But as a mother, I’m becoming more and more conscious that I still I want my children to be ‘kids’ for as long as possible.
Like I did…..
……being outdoors and getting dirty!!!
I especially remember the school summer holidays, which seemed to just last for what felt like forever!!
- The play schemes in the local park – where I remember the building as being huge, but now as I walk past it’s just a garage!
- Muddy knees
- Plaits and dungarees
- Scrapes, cuts and bruises
- Planting up my own flower bed in our back garden with my Daddy
- Bike rides
- Fishing in the water-butt – ok – so the little weird things that seem to live there
- Wheeling our dolly’s around the roads in their prams
- Making perfume from the petals we’d pick from the garden
- Holding yard sales
- Blackberry picking with my grandparents
- Colouring in pages from our colouring book and selling them for 2p each around our neighbours houses!!
- Collecting as many ladybirds as we could find (before releasing them of course!!)
- Setting up our Sindy dolls, Barbie dolls and Flower Fairy dolls to take photos of in the pond waterfall. Especially when they were getting married to Ken or Derek!!!
- Building dens over the swing
- Pitching our very 70’s tent and camping overnight in the back garden – probably only to come in a couple of hours later as we were cold and scared!!!
- Playing outside in the cul-de-sac until the sun went down
……instead of just sitting and watching TV, endless hours of playing video games, or being glued to the iPad on their new apps etc
Granted, my girls are only three and one but it’s actually rather scary how even my 1 year old knows how to swipe on the iPad, or click buttons to turn a channel on the television! (even if it is extremely cute because she gives herself a little clap after she’s done it!!)
Though of course, things just aren’t as they were 30 years ago and perhaps we just need to move with the times, and accept things as they are or are becoming.
Obviously, it’s not that I don’t want my children to learn all of this new technology, of course not, as I fully understand and support the notion that our children should be familiarized with this from young ages to ensure they can perhaps, ‘keep up’ later down the line in their chosen fields of work. Instilled in them from so young that perhaps it’s learnt as a second language. And in a way I suppose, I’m almost envious that they’ll get this tuition, this opportunity; as it’s something I myself struggle with and only wish I could get to grips with a lot more than I’m managing to at the moment!
Personally, being new to blogging, and very much a beginner, I’ve come from a very non-technical background, where it was deemed as good even if you could use a keypad and word!
Although I am still far from understanding it, I’m certainly becoming more and more familiar with terms like Gravatars, widgets, metadata (?) – which like I say is a whole new world for me.
(And also the reason that last night I managed to permanently delete all my photos off all the blogs I’ve posted so far, so I’m now having to trawl iPhoto to search for the ones I think I used and re-install them!!!)
In my last job technology has totally changed the industry landscape in that no more is it the plain old advertising and mailshot letters used to gain more customers, better brand awareness etc, as its now all about social media, online advertising, email shots, online banner and skyscraper ads, websites, forums, web feeds, virtual meetings, augmented reality……
But don’t get me wrong though – as a mum I most definitely still support the odd few hours’ worth of TV here and there, as it sometimes just means I can get things done around the house without having to pull my hair out in the process!!
I suppose what I’m saying is that somehow, in amongst this very digitally advancing world, I just need to find that happy middle ground, where my children can learn for the future but at the same time live, experience embrace and enjoy the ‘now’ of being a child.
As I suppose with all things, it’s just technological progression – and I would expect in another thirty years’ time, things would have advanced further still and perhaps even our children of today may feel as I do right now!!!!
As a family though, we are actually very lucky and fortunate to have a fabulous extended family network with whom our girls spend time with each week, as they do actually get to spend time doing exactly those things I’d listed above.
I suppose it’s just my job now to keep the balance!!
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This is a topic very close to my heart. I want them to have the skills, I want them not to be bored, I want them to grow to be well rounded individuals. But trying to find a middle ground can be tough. Time has moved on. I am sure my mum would have let us watch move TV if it wasn’t just the hour a day on the analogue channels. It is hard to be a 21st century mummy 🙂
I was drawn into this blog because I worry about this everyday! I try so hard to leave my phone upstairs so I don’t keep looking at it when my 9 month is around, but It’s actually really tricky! My little boys first crawl was towards my I phone and everyone commented on it and I felt terrible!
He even came downstairs and squeezed the remote and looked at the television the other morning! I couldn’t believe it!
I’m a teacher and we actually teach children phonics and handwriting on the Ipad now! How scary is that?? I know they have too, but I’m scared he won’t have an imagination, so I try to get out as much as possible!
I have Three children aged 13, 9 and 4. Like you, it amazes me how even my youngest knows his way around the Tech world.
We live out in the countryside so there is so much to see and do right on our doorstep, but getting our 9 year old boy to leave his virtual MineCraft world is always a chore!
I have a constant battle with myself on a daily basis. I fully understand that this is the world we live in and often here the cries of “but all my Friends have it, or do it” so how do I say no. Will they be left out? Yes, they probably would be. But do I want them to spend their lives in a virtual world, no not really. All we can do is balance, like every other area of parenting, balance, negotiate, feel guilty and so on….
I love nothing more than seeing my kids outside in the fresh air enjoying simple non tech pleasures and if I could get them to admit it so do they. In many ways I wonder if they actually have a battle going on as well as us parents. By virtue of the fact they are part if this new Tech generation they are forced to embrace it or be left behind. But secretly I believe they have the same desires as us. The freedom and simple pleasures of the great outdoors, but they sure as hell won’t admit it!
I keep worrying about the exact same thing with my little girl, she’s only 18 months and can swipe on my iPhone, switch over the telly. I always said I wouldn’t let her have an iPad until she was old enough but the way of the world they need to use these things earlier to be like everyone else. It is a struggle because you want them to grow up playing with other kids not virtual ones xx
Michaela, yes it sounds like you have exactly the same worries as me then. It’s really tricky isn’t it. And scary too when they can do things on my phone and I’m like ‘ooh how did you even do that’! But I think they need a bit of all of it, and as long as their time on technology, be it TV or iPads etc is kind of limited, and then you go for a lovely long bike ride, I totally believe they’re getting the best of both worlds, and you’re being a pretty flipping good parent to boot! Thanks so much for the lovely comment. Steph xxx
I by no means have all the answers buy for our family we limit screen time to a certain amount per day. This really improved once the boys were old enough to play out unsupervised. Now they’re equally happy to run around outside scraping knees, building dens and climbing trees as they are to play on the Xbox. Your kids are still so young so you’ll find a middle ground as they get older X
Sorry lots of typos in that comment but I couldn’t go back and edit for some reason!!
Oh I so so sympathise. It have 3 children of 12,14&16 and technology dominates their generation and I try so hard not to spend my life yelling at them to get off of their phones, to stop face timing to stop gaming and just to interact with people how we used to but it’s so hard as their generation communicate solely through a social media network of some kind – I try really hard to try and focus on the positive of technology so that I don’t sound like a total mum bore but Rhee are times that I want to shut my front door on the world and not have my children’s entire school class in our front room by way of facebook/Instagram or snapchat but we don’t seem to be allowed the luxury of just having our own children in our homes unless we make a conscious effort and point of putting the phones down. My oldest daughter recently went to a friend’s birthday meal and the friend asked all of her guests to place their phones in the middle of the table so that they weren’t interrupting the meal – I was thrilled by this and I to have me great hope in the fact that just maybe this younger techno junkie generation may just be understanding the negativity of technology – there’s hope for us parents yet! Great blog though and thank you for sharing! x
Don’t know how I missed this Steph but so true there has to be a Balance, and I loved making perfume from flower petals x
Welcome to one of the big dilemmas (and battles) for modern parents! I think you are right that there are no easy solutions, we all have to find our own way through it and every child is different. As you say, balance is key! Good luck!
Great post! Just found it on Twitter. My children are 11, 8 and 5, and they know much more about technology than me. It is scary, and I am glad my hubby knows tech stuff and how to watch what they are doing. I am lucky though they don’t spend a lot of time on games and things they actually love drawing and playing board games more than being on the iPad. I guess we have to be good role models too. I loved your list xo
Aww – thank you so much – it really dos mean so much to me when people enjoy and even agree with what I’ve had to say. Finding the balance is hard, but we all try don’t we. Thanks so much for your wonderful comment and for reading. Steph xxx
It can be a little bit of a battle with my 6 year old at the moment. I find setting screen-time limits helps too. And it’s easier in the summer when we’re out playing in park and just outside more in general. Fingers crossed that works in the summer holidays too!
I’ve got that all to come, as when my eldest starts school in September, I am certain it will begin to get harder, as all of her friends will probably play on them, so she’ll want to as well. And yes – hooray for summer and lots of time spent outdoors. I have my fingers all crossed for you….good luck!! Thanks so much for commenting, Steph xxx
True – having had my all very nearly grown up children (owning 1 PC in that time) and looking after my mindees, technology is important, however from a certain age, I never had a PC until I had my own children, do you know what I have my own blog, website, converse on twitter etc, we are adaptable, sorry but I don’t believe allowing (young children) technology advances them any more to those who don’t, we are as a species highly adaptable and malleable. I despair at the “what shall we get out 3 year old an iPad or a Kindle Fire?”, sorry but what! my eldest got her first iPad at 17. Kids should be kids, romping around getting grubby and having fun, the odd bit of TV/film, toy laptop sure, this is just my opinion, plus not all children want it, check out my dusty old Wii original!
It’s definitely a case of trying to find a middle ground. We’re determined to ensure our kids enjoy old-fashioned pursuits such as riding their bikes, playing traditional games and so on. But at the same time I think we have a responsibility to them to ensure they are conversant with the technology that is crucial to them growing up in a modern world. They’ve been encouraged to learn how to use computers, tablets and phones from a young age – and how to be sensible in what they do and who they interact with to protect themselves – although we keep a tight rein on what they can do and enforce strict time limits on them.
The hard part now that out oldest is seven is keeping up with him. It won’t be long before he’s far more skilled with technology than I am, and I find that quite a scary prospect.
Totally Tim!! It’s a fine line, but like you, obviously I’m keen to make sure my girls have experience of both. And I dread the day where we can’t keep up with the technology too – it’s just one more thing I’ll add to the list! Steph xxx