Julie Green: The Other Side of the Coin


Getting Kids Connected Can Wait

The Technology Race

As parents, it's the conundrum of our generation. Technology: the double-edged sword. It's the future, and our kids need to be fluent in its dialect as early as possible. Yet, on the flip side, how much exposure to 'gadgetry' is acceptable?

Like most moms, I'm fairly conflicted. The new iPad mini is the perfect size for my junior kindergartener. However, does a JK really warrant owning a computer? I tend to think not.

He attends two and a half hours of school a day and every week he has lessons in both computers and Smartboard. Excessive? Probably. Would I prefer he spent at least one of those sessions doing drama or art? Damn right. There is plenty of time to hone his keypad skills but the window for developing his imagination seems to close a little every day.

Already it seems there is this mad scramble going on to ensure that our kids are equally if not more tech-savvy than their peers. Seriously, it's akin to the Reagan-era arms race but for little leaguers. Sure, some apps are educational. Then again, so are conventional toys. I have no objections to my son playing on my husband's phone while we are out at a restaurant or cafe. But does my 4-year-old need his own phone or iPad? 

Though I can understand the rationale behind wanting kids to become well versed in the technology of the day, mostly it shines a great big spotlight on the folly of our thinking as parents. And to the mom who admits to spending the equivalent of $1,500 on smartphones for her six kids. Might be just me, but isn't this a tad excessive?

We don't know the full extent of the health implications cell phones have on children's developing brains. But we do know just how much bullying goes on by children on social media sites. And try as we might, the only way to truly protect them is to keep them offline until they're ready to protect themselves.

Then there's the weight connection. Recent studies confirmed that having electronic devices, including smartphones, in the bedroom led to kids getting fewer hours' sleep which in turn led to a greater risk of obesity. In cases where there were three devices, that risk was up to 2.5 times greater.

I don't know about you but I'm happy for the future to slow down just a little while I catch up, and my kid has a chance to grow up.