Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Let's Talk: Kids and Technology

My generation I'm sure has heard a lot of jokes growing up about how we knew more about computers than our parents did. I'm sure some of us are still hearing the same old jokes, but now it's moved onto the next generation. My kids generation.

My mother came over today to play with the girls. We were having a great time playing with blocks and other games when I thought to show my mother pictures. Now I'm not sure how everyone else does it, but I'm sure a large portion of us mostly have their pictures on file instead of in albums. I edit the pictures and almost never print them. There doesn't really seem to be many reasons to print them these days.

The cycle is 1) Take way more pictures than necessary 2) Have way too many pictures to edit in a timely fashion 3) e-mail, Facebook, blog etc. When no. 3 comes, there are a few exceptions like my parents who do not do anything online. They have a computer mind you, but wouldn't know how to navigate Facebook if it meant their life.

Now, back on point. It came picture time at my house and I had to use the restroom. Between my mother and daughter who do you think I put in charge of showing pictures? My three year old daughter. She jumped up there and started navigating her way through pictures like nothing else mattered.

My mother almost in shock watched as I excused myself to the restroom. The shift has changed. It's not only my three year old out lapping my mother with technology know-how, but me. Between the many v-tech systems the girl has, navigating pictures on our desk top and even using my iPod she just about has me beat. It takes me longer to figure something out than her.

I was always picked on as a kid because I grew up in the calculator generation. Using it for tests instead of long hand. Using spell check and having the thesaurus at my fingertips made me lazy, but I do believe my kids technology will benefit them in the long run. The technology now teaches kids instead of doing it for them. Sure, the spell check and the calculator do still exist and are there to help them when they became of age, but v-tech teaches them to see things, think, understand, explore.

Here's a bit from CBS News' website:

(CBS) Teens aren't the only ones who need limits on media use. Pediatricians and researchers warn that parents need to set strict guidelines about how much time their younger children spend using televisions and computers — even if the programs are educational. And they say toddlers and screens shouldn't mix at all.

After a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics linked television watching by toddlers between 1 and 3 with subsequent attention problems including ADD, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that children under 3 should not spend any time at all in front a computer or television. For those 3 and up, they suggest no more than two hours of screen time per day for non-homework activities, even if it's educational.

I am all for technology, but in moderation just as a good piece of chocolate or sucker needs to be monitored and controlled in the amounts of intake. The occasional sucker is fun and puts a cute little smile on their face, but suckers all day will rot their teeth and leave them plump and tired just the same as too much technology will leave them lazy, mentally exhausted and plump from lack of exercise let alone missing out on what life has to offer.

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