The Siren Call of the Digital Tablet & How I choose to deal with it.


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My dad got me an iPhone.

Before that I had phones with NO apps on it.   All I did with my phone was text, track my schedule, look at the time, and keep note of information about people on my phonebook.   I didn’t feel I was missing out on anything.  My phone was just a phone.

When I got my iPhone… everything became different.  It took only about a month to get completely hooked.  Now my phone isn’t just a phone, it’s an entertainment center!

I find myself with my nose stuck to the phone for various reasons.  Instead of just enjoying a quiet moment, I find myself feverishly going through Facebook or playing games.

This bothers me a lot.

I never considered myself as someone who would be dependent on electronics… give me a good book anyday, I boasted.  When we got our iPad, I didn’t even bother to use it that much.  I felt I was probably immune from the siren call of the electronic entertainment system.

Boy… was I wrong.

The degree of attachment I now have to my iPhone scares me.  I find myself checking my phone every few minutes like an uncontrollable tic, when once upon a time I used to ignore my phone until it beeped (before I even used to phase out the beeping when I was busy).

To counter this, I try to take “hours off” from my phone by leaving it behind when I know I’m just going to be with my family for the whole day.

That doesn’t change the fact that I’m officially HOOKED now.

Now, I can’t help but think.. if I can get hooked, how much easier it must be for children to get addicted to this.

Everywhere I go, I see families or friends who act like strangers on the dining table, every person with their noses stuck to their own electronic device.  What kind of a message does that send?

“I’m here, but you’re not interesting enough to give my full attention to as this inanimate object is just a tad more interesting”

I see parents ignoring their children while they read through their Facebook walls.

I see children in the mall or in parties with their noses stuck to their Ipads watching shows or playing games, completely ignoring everyone and everything around them.

I see children who are so dependent on electronic gadgets that they get twitchy and anxious or cry when the gadget is taken away from them.  It’s like they have lost a security blanket that they can’t do without.

If adults (even people like me who used to pooh-pooh gadgets), who grew up without them can get so hooked, can you imagine how much more intense the addiction to gadgets our children can have — a generation born into it.

I have just developed a greater understanding of the fascination for gadgets due to my recent experience.

However, this does not diminish my concern.  I read an article on the internet that proves my concerns are valid as it is a genuine problem acknowledged by experts.

Smart gadgets are here to stay.  I might as well accept it.

I realize all I can do is accept the gadgets as a part of my children’s lives.

Luckily, since we got our first second-hand iPad from my dad, I was able to set strict rules on how, where, how often, and when it can be used so my children are accustomed to rules about their gadgets.

I realized I can’t deprive them of it.  Complete deprivation only succeeds in inciting rebellion after all.  I just need to strategically take the gadgets away at the right times and give my kids a chance to develop interests and the social tools needed in life.  Besides iit can be a handy and useful tool when used properly.

So I came up with these rules:

1.  The kids can play the Ipad or Ipod touch at home AFTER they’ve done all their homework and packed their bags for school the next day.  This usually means they get an hour of playtime, sharing 1 iPad between them a day on weekdays.

2.  The kids are not allowed to play with the Ipad or Ipod touch if there are guests at home… whether the guest is a child or an adult.  They have to give their full attention to the guest.

3.  The kids are NOT allowed to bring their gadgets anywhere with them.  The gadgets’ domain is at the home and no where else.  This follows for trips out of town or out of the country.  The gadgets remain at the hotel room, it doesn’t matter if we’re travelling a lot that day.

4.  Even if other children are playing with their iPads in a social setting, they are not allowed to sit and watch them play.  I push them to find something else to do.

5.  I don’t allow them to use my iPhone outside when we’re outside the house either to play games or watch shows.  The only thing they are allowed to do with my iPhone or my daughter’s iPod Touch are to play music to dance around or sing along.

Sometimes, my children think Hubby S and I are too strict.  I explain to them my reasons behind my rules and I tell them why I feel it’s important for them to find other means of entertainment aside from their gadgets.  For the most part, they understand and they listen to us without complaint.

I find that my kids do enjoy playing with the gadgets if they’re bored but I noticed that they would still rather do other things, like ride their bikes, build legos or play gameboards with me rather than playing with the iPad.

Now that it’s summer, I try to keep their schedules booked as well with activities to decrease the temptation.

I still wonder though if there is another way to deal with electronic gadgets that is better than my style and whether I’m handling this the right way.

Let me know how you’re dealing with this addicting technology.  I could use more tips.

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6 thoughts on “The Siren Call of the Digital Tablet & How I choose to deal with it.

  1. Hi mommyj! As both an advocate of technology AND a person who occasionally also experiences “techno-stress” too, I understand your predicament.

    It’s not too different from the proverbial debate on whether the Internet is bad for kids or not.

    My response to the techno-predicament is that technology/ the Internet per se is not bad. It can even be beneficial if used the right way, and if supervised by parents.

    For handheld gadgets for example, my niece is hooked on her handheld gadget because she can also read her books on it. I read books on my gadgets during idle times as well, it’s definitely better than playing Candy Crush whenever I have a few minutes of downtime.

    I think that bottomline, as long as your kids are introduced to better ways of using technology and the corresponding social etiquette, you can’t go wrong. 🙂

    Like

    • I actually got my daughter a kindle because at least i can be sure she’s reading. But more often than not kids really use the ipad for games or to access youtube and God knows what they’re watching there… Children get a glazed look when they’re in the zone and everything around them fades away.

      Like

  2. Got no kids but I have been reading lots of articles that express the same concern. As for not knowing what they are watching, I believe there are ways to limit what one canaccess on the iPad.

    Like

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