The Use Of Electronics To Occupy Children

Posted by Elle  |  at   8:11 PM No comments

Today on Facebook a friend of mine shared a blog post entitled 
My blog post today is inspired by Renee Robinson's blog post.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the title of Renee's post was the image of two of my nephews on their electronic gaming devices. 
 This was before I even had my own children. 
My brother and sister-in-law allowed (and still do allow) their boys to take their gaming devices to family functions.  
I remember two specific events which were both birthday parties. 
 One was at my in-laws home and the other was at a very nice restaurant.  
The first time it happened I remember my sister-in-law making a comment about how it keeps them occupied and they'd just be bored anyway.
I don't remember replying to her justification.
What I do remember is that my nephews had no interaction with anyone in the room and when asked a question by their mother my one nephew was too involved in his game to even answer her.  She just shrugged it off as 'they're too into their game.'  This is unacceptable in my opinion and I knew right then and there I did not want to foster this type of behavior when I had children.

Back then they were probably playing Gameboys or Nintendo DS's, as my nephews are now 13 and 16.
  There were no tablets and not a lot of kids had cellphones as they do today.   I find it extremely rude to go to a function and have kids constantly attached to electronic devices.
Especially at a grandparents birthday party!

Unplugged-  vickyratcliffephotography
Unplugged- vickyratcliffephotography (Photo credit: vickyratcliffephotog)
A few months ago we were visiting my in-laws and my kids did bring their tablets, but they barely played with them.  My seven year old actually showed her  grandmother a game and they were playing it together.  My daughters would much rather talk with their grandparents and listen to stories about when they were young.  My in-laws are in their early 80's, much older than my parents who are in their mid sixties, and my kids don't get to visit with my in-laws as much as they do with my parents since they live closer.  When they visit with my parents they also don't bring their tablets.  Instead they play games, (card games/board games,) paint their nails together, bake together, watch movies together and sometimes just sit out on their deck and talk to one another.  Imagine that!!!!

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My eleven year old does not have a cellphone and she will not be getting one this year when she goes to middle school.  
I actually wanted to get her a flip phone for emergencies, but my husband is adamant that she is not responsible enough and does not need one.  We shall see what happens this upcoming school year!

My daughters got tablets for Christmas 2013 and although they use them quite a bit, they don't use them nearly as much as I thought they would.
They would rather do a craft, read a book, watch a movie or play a game with one another.  And now that summer is upon us, mostly what they want to do is go swimming.

Three points of interest that I can't agree more with in Renee's blog post are as follows:

 "I want you to be able to look people in the eyes and speak life into them. If I allow you to live behind a screen, you get little practice relating eye to eye. To truly know someone you have to look into their eyes. It’s a window into their heart. You see what can’t be seen in cyberspace.

"I want you to grow up knowing the world doesn’t revolve around you. I want you to learn to give selflessly of yourself….to give away your time, your talents, your treasures. If I distract you with electronics when you should be cheering for your brother, well, I’m simply telling you that your happiness is more important than giving your time to someone other than yourself.

 "When you pack up and leave for college, I want to look back with no regrets over the time I spent with you. I want to look back and remember how your eyes sparkled when we talked. I want to look back and remember how I actually knew those little quirky details of your life because we had time enough to be bored together. It’s ok to be bored. We can be bored together. And we can discover new things together."

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I do realize we as adults also need to be setting an example for the children around us. 
 The adult in the grocery store line talking on their phone while they're checking out, the adult who is out to dinner with their family but on their phone surfing the web, the adult in the movie theatre on their phone during the movie.  These are just a few examples of rude behaviors that are being portrayed to children and young adults as being acceptable.

I'm sorry if you find this post as a put down if you allow your children to bring electronics to the places I've mentioned above.
  Everyone has a right to choose how they bring up their children. 

 In my opinion I feel it is a disservice to teach children to be so self involved that they cannot even attend a family function and interact with family members.  Children need to learn social skills and to understand that the world does not revolve around them.  They need to be taught respect for themselves and others.

Although we live in an extremely technological world, that does not mean we should forget about the core values we should be teaching our children just because it is easier to put an electronic device in their hands to help them behave or settle down in public. 
 Be strong and let them learn these essential life lessons.

About the Author

Elle is a 45 year old HouseWife/SAHM/Kids-Taxi-Service from the Northeastern part of the United States. She enjoys reading, watching TV/Movies, blogging, social networking, crafting, recipe collecting, beaches and summer. She is not fond of laundry, cleaning bathrooms, washing floors or grocery shopping. Feel free to follow her on the social networks listed on the right hand side of the blog. Real life names have not been used in this blog.

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