Technology and children: are you a no technology at the table parent?

Baby using laptop

Technology and Children

As a parent, I am really excited to have a smart-enabled home. Our one-year old can operate the TV and lights. Well, when she punches all the buttons in-app then she creates all manner of havoc, but she can intentionally put Minnie Mouse on which is amusing. But it also raised an intense discussion on technology and children with my better half, who is quite anti-technology in the lives of little ones.

Where do you stand on technology in the home if you have ankle-biters? I am all for it, doing what we do, it's hard not to be. I feel like technology is inseparable from life as we know it, and to have it constantly in the background builds a skill for learning technology, not fearing it and generally being proactive towards it. Technology will arguably be a huge part of our offspring's lives - in a way we can never imagine. It's integrated in the workplace, in education and in the home.

My wife is more or less against technology presence in the lives of small children. She strongly believes we are 'wired' (I believe that's the exact turn of phrase she chose...) to learn in a certain way, we learn by doing. We learn by picking up a pencil and writing. Playing. Talking. Not by staring and tapping. She is dead against iPads in primary schools. Don't hate her - she isn't against technology in general, but she feels children are fast learners and motor skills and relationship building must come first and will do anything to prise technology out of their clammy mitts or drag them away from a screen. Is that because that's how we learned and we don't yet understand the ways our children are to be so different from us? Fear of change and the unknown?

My house is a 'no technology at the table' house. But we do have Control4 in our home, accessible to our kiddy winks. The media library is accessible anywhere so the children can watch their movies in their play area or with us in the living room, or we can watch cartoons and funnys on YouTube. We have video surveillance, which we installed as I wanted to show it off to customers (not because we feel unsafe at home) and there is a high demand for Nanny-cams in Dubai. My wife used it a lot when our girls were small and she was trying to let them settle into sleep patterns, it meant she could feed her motherly infatuation without standing over the cot all night. We have a 'film-night' button which dims the lights, sets the AC to our preferred temp, closes the curtains and increases the volume on our beautiful Tannoy speakers (my pride and joy. Oh and the kids). However, my wife fears all these buttons interfere with their hard-wiring, their experience of life and that our girls shouldn't join the 'touch screen generation' for the moment. I just got side tracked and found this great article on this very subject - it's long but well worth a read, particularly most of the comments. Much more in-depth and referenced than my musings!

I am looking forward to using home automation for all kinds of boundary-setting when our girls grow up; making the wi-fi in the house accessible only at certain times for them (e.g. during homework/after homework), using the intercom monitor to spy on them and see if they are really asleep when they should be and maybe even checking our key pad entry locks to see if they sneak in and out when they shouldn't. But all this is intimidating, our children being so connected and yet sitting alone, tap-tap-tapping when they could be...tree-climbing? Playing with bows and arrows?

Gotta go. My wife just messaged me from upstairs to ask for a glass of water 🙂

1 Comment

  1. redwoodtech

    PS – This is also handy if you’re interested in this subject! http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/screendilemma

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