Archive for July 2006
When I sent out an email to several hundred random addresses in a database kept by The Spokesman-Review, I was looking for local families who are using the new tracking features offered by several cell phone companies. (I didn’t find any, by the way.)
What I got instead were several heartfelt responses from parents whose kids grew up in the much less technological world that existed just a few decades ago. They’re concerned that the more we rely on technology to keep in touch, the more disconnected we’re actually becoming.
I suspect they were grateful to have the chance to speak their minds. After all, how often do we ask those who raised us what they think of the job we’re doing? Probably not often enough.
Here are a few snippets from the emails I got back:
“You know… thinking about cell phones and kids, I’m glad we didn’t have that technology when raising our children. I think it just complicates our lives. It is handy for emergencies and such but, in many ways the cell phone adds to the tension and separation of the human element. Sound funny doesn’t it? People may be connected by wireless connections but, it seems to me what we require more of is a good old hand shake or a hug.”
“I think it’s a bad idea. Regardless of how much surveillance we place on our children, if there’s a will, there’s a way. I think it just tells our kids ‘I don’t trust you.’ I still remember when I was that age and I was very trustworthy, but still did things I was not supposed to do. My poor parents. Testing boundaries and doing stupid things is part of being a kid. Too bad our world is so much more dangerous now.”
“I … would love to have you tell it like it is in painting the picture of just one more step closer we are coming to a hands off raising of our kids. I hope that the parents of those who carry a new phone with this capability realize that they are deferring their parental responsibility to technology just as the parents of my time let the TV babysit and raise our kids. Look to what we have done, the jails are now full and our hearts are often fearful, empty and broken. Kids need parents and grandparents to monitor what they do and who they are with. They don’t need another surrogate parent that can’t hold, hug, care and love.”
“As a grandparent I can see very difficult trust issues coming out of this technology.”
“I shudder to think of living in a situation where this would seem like a good idea let alone trying to make the best of things.”
Several members of the Parents’ Council recently met with Spokesman-Review Editor Steve Smith to talk about how news decisions are made and how they affect kids today.
After the meeting, during which Smith explained the newspaper’s values that drive news decisions daily, the moms who attended the meeting (dads, where are you?) began a discussion about how parents can manage (or moderate) the media’s influence on kids. Several studies have shown that exposure to news can cause anxiety among children, and that parents must be diligent in monitoring the effects on their kids.
Members briefly discussed putting newspapers with disturbing news and/or images out of reach of young kids or turning the TV news channel quickly when scary news flashes across the screen to using the media as a resource for discussion about stranger dangers, good and bad decisions and values.
One thing the group concluded was this warranted further discussion on this blog. The world is a pretty scary, uncertain place right now. War, natural disasters and various dangers are reported daily through multiple media sources.
So… what do you do to manage or moderate the effect news has on your kids?
A while ago we had a little TV in our 4-year-old son’s room, just for movies as it was not hooked up to cable or anything. We thought this was OK since he would not be watching anything with content we did not approve of. However we failed to see some other bad effects of having a TV in the bedroom, specifically dependency. He became too dependent on it for entertainment.
Now he is an active boy who gets several hours of exercise a day so I did not think too hard about it until the night I realized he could not fall asleep unless he was watching a movie! I promptly yanked the set out, replaced it with an arts/actvities desk and bought him some craft materials and puzzels. He complained a bit at first but I held my ground and now he doesn’t even think about it, he also doesn’t miss it.
Do you let your kids have a TV in their room? What effects have you seen?
At the playground today I bravely took my four young boys age 4, 16month old twins and a 4 1/2 month old. While it is a bit of a stuggle to do things with them all being so young I enjoy getting them out. Another mom made a comment to me( mind you this is a stranger) she asked if they were all my kids and when I said yes she told me she was “Sorry”. Sorry that I had 4 young boys? I am not sorry! When did four kids become a lot? Not too long ago families averaged 6 kids!
What about the lovely parents in the grocery store who ask my kids ages then make a remark about how my youngest must have been an accident. An accident is an unplanned event which has a bad outcome. I prefer to think of him as a wonderful surprise!
So next time you see me out with my kids please keep your mouth shut because I love all my boys and feel blessed to have them!
Now that many women are returning to breastfeeding there have been discussions on the appropriate age to stop breastfeeding ones child. I personally know moms who breastfed, at least part of the time, untill thier child was three or four.
Is there a certain age that kids should no longer be breastfed? Should it be up to mom and child regardless of age? If you object to a child being breastfed after a certin age have you ever said anything to a mom who was doing it after that age?
Now with so many options to school your kids what do you prefer and why?
We will be sending our kids to St. Michaels academy since we are parish members and I know even those who are not members send thier kids there due to fears and concerns over the morals and values being taught in our public schools.
I also have been hearing ads for the new “virtual” public school and wonder if anyone has thought about putting thier kids in that.
With so much concern about our children’s education is the “normal” public school becoming outdated? Now parents who could not afford to send thier kids to a private school and did not feel up to tradtional homeschooling, can sign up, with no cost to them, for this online school. Will one day the local public school doors be closed? Will anyone care?