Last week I reviewed three of the workshops that I attended at the Nebraska Christian Home Educators Conference. Check out my previous posts if you missed them! The workshops were not just for homeschooling families and can be applied to any family with kids.
Today I am going to write about a fourth workshop that I attended called: Parenting in the Interent Age: Taming the Techno Beast. Like my other three reviews, this one was also presented by Todd Wilson from www.familymanweb.com. The comics in this blog post are his as well. It really hit home for me and hopefully I will be able apply some of the things in this workshop into my own life and the life of our kiddos.
1. Do not minimize technology.
Technology is all around us. Video games, tablets, computers, Television, phones etc. It is everywhere. It seems like everytime we turn around the next biggest and greatest thing is out. We as parents need to not just take all of this lightly. Our kids....and ourselves can easily spend all of our free time on one of these devices. We shouldn't minimize the impact that technology has on us.
2. Remember the goal.
It isn't about right now. It is about the future of our kids. Do we want them to graduate from highschool addicted to a device....Todd presented many real life stories about adults who are addicted to gaming. He told us about a story of a wife who left her husband because he played on a fantasy video game for 20 hours....20 hours each weekend day....40 hours over the weekend. Every weekend. Her husband chose the game over their marriage and she couldn't take it anymore. I have seen this first hand...I have a friend who complains to me all of the time that all her husband and sons do is play video games...she feels all alone. Such a sad situation...yet very common in the world we live in today.
3. Check your own life to see if the beast is reeling you in.
I admit...it is. Last week I made a point to not have my phone and ipad with us at the table while we were doing school. We do use my ipad quiet often to watch Youtube videos for Science and World studies, but for other subjects like spelling and math...it isn't necessary. It is easy to just check facebook really quick...and then think I need to respond to something...or a not so important e-mail needs attention...then I get distracted and next thing you know the kids are off task. I have made a point to just put things down and focus on what is happening now...in our real world here...instead of the virtual world of facebook, e-mail, texting etc. I realized no one really cares what we are doing on a daily basis...except probably my mom.
4. Do what you have to do.
Set limits if you have to. For yourself, maybe have a schedule and say I will check my e-mail, texts, facebook etc for 15 minutes at this time or 30 minutes in the afternoon. Something. Once the timer is up then you shut the device down.
For the kiddos, set limits for them as well. We don't have a video game problem in our house yet. I HATE video games. Always have, probably always will. One day we may have to figure out how to limit our kids with video games, so I have a game plan that I can set in place if that comes.
We have had ipad problems. I noticed it when we were sick for two weeks here. I was sick and then the two girls were sick. We didn't do much of anything for those two weeks. Not even school. So guess what the kids did? Watched a lot of TV shows on their Ipads. I then noticed when we were alive and well...ready to rejoin the real world...one child...who shall remain nameless...would cry when I would ask them to put the ipad down. So we were done. We put the ipads up.
After a few days....I realized we could survive without the ipads. They weren't dying, but wanted them to be able to have a little chill time if we didn't have something else going on. I made up a new little system for them to earn ipad time. They had daily chores...pretty much just random things. They are always eager to help and chore charts have never worked with us. I would just divvy up jobs each day and everyone would go to town. Now each morning they pick 2-3 must do chores to earn 30 minutes of ipad time. Some examples include brush the cat/dog, clean cat litter, set tables, do the dishes, laundry, wash 2 sinks, clean 2 toilets, feed pets, vacuum wood floor etc. This has been WONDERFUL for us. Now "that child" who had a problem letting go has taken ownership in her must do chores and we haven't had a problem since.
5. Replace it.
Sons want to be warriors with dad. Looking at my two boys, they want nothing else than to hang out with dad or grandpa. Even if it is just driving around in dads truck to go to the store. They would be much happier than being on any type of technological device.
Daugthers just want to talk to you. With my daughters...I have totally noticed this. They are very social and want nothing more than to talk to me...with both eyes...not just one on them and other on my phone.
6. KILL OR TAME THE BEAST.
This was a great workshop....and as I said such an eye-opener for me. My kids don't want to watch me on my phone or ipad. They want me....focused on them.