Mummy Buzz


Kate Winslet Pulls Plug on Kids' Tech

Parents can't have it both ways


Kate Winslet may play Apple marketing exec Joanna Hoffman in the new Steve Jobs movie, but as a boss in her own household, she is happy to pull the plug on tech when it comes to her three kids.

"They go into a world and parents let them do it," she said in a recent interview with the Sunday Times. The solution, she says, is simple: "Take the device out of their hand."

Call her old-fashioned, but the British actress has a hankering for board games.

"Don't let them sleep with [tech]," she advised. "Play Monopoly. These things are not rocket science. Do drawing games. If we go to the pub we always take paper and pen."

Homework comes first, then my son gets tablet or TV while I cook. We play at least one family game every night after dinner. We are fairly rigid about this ritual because I've realized it's a slippery slope. We have so little time to connect during the week, it has to be about quality.

Yet it's the effect of social media on our daughters that is of particular concern to Winslet. All those girls driven to post images of their hair or whatever in order to warrant a 'like' from their peers...

That desire to be admired for their appearance - a la Kardashian - Winslet says, will have a "huge impact on young women's self-esteem because all they will ever do is design themselves for people to like them. And what comes along with that? Eating disorders."

I'd go one further. Depression. Anxiety. All kinds of mental health concerns stem from the selfie addiction. Selfies should be fun; they should be silly. They shouldn't exist merely to elicit validation.

There's a time and a place for social media and tech in general. But interestingly, this article claims the reason parents aren't patrolling their kids online is because we ourselves are at the mercy of the very thing we want to control.

How many of us tell our kids in one breath to put the tablet away while firing off a "quick text" or while scanning for Facebook and Instagram updates?

If we expect our kids to lay down the tech and be present, then we must lead by example and do so first.

We can't thrust the iPad in their hands to buy ourselves a break, then complain because they spend so much time glued to a screen.

We can't have it both ways. We just can't.

Image Source: WikiCommons