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Could a lack of tech gadgets be hindering my children's growth??

Updated on July 20, 2009

When I was a child, I did not have a computer in my house.  No one I knew owned a cell phone and only my "rich" friends had an original Nintendo game system. My days consisted of going to school, reading books, using the Dewey Decimal System at the library, and playing outside with friends and neighbors.  If I was out and about and needed to phone home, I walked my butt to a pay phone and hoped to heck I had a quarter. Boy how things have changed.

Today, we are living in a technology obsessed world. Every one has atleast one computer in their home, children in grade school have cell phones, and if a child needs to learn about something, they simply Google it! As consumers, we are obsessed with getting the newest technology--the new "hot" thing that is smaller, faster, and more convenient. Naturally our children are following in our foot steps.

They HAVE to have the newest cell phone or video game system because, well....everyone else has one. If they don't keep up with their peers, they will just die!! They will be ostracized and picked on. No one will want to be their friend. They will be a nerd and uncool. Okay, this seems a little extreme to us adults, but this argument came from the very mouth of my oldest daughter while trying to convince me to get her a cell phone.

Now, this discussion with my daughter really got me thinking about today's technology and whether allowing our kids access to all of this helps them or hinders them....

 CELL PHONES:

My oldest daughter is ten and a half and just graduated from Elementary School.  She will be going to Junior High (5th grade) in September.  While she was still in Elementary school, there were dozens of kids with cell phones!!  I was flabergasted!!  We are talking about kids in Kindergarted through 4th grade!!!  Is this really necessary??  Other than being in school, how often are your children going to be away from you that they need a cell phone to stay in contact?

Now, I love the convenience of having a cell phone but I think at such a young age, it is pointless.  I mean, what kind of message are we sending to our kids?  That they can have something that carries a such a big responsibility just because it is cool and everyone else has one? I don't think so!    I've gotten a lot of justifications from parents such as it teaches them responsibility, it teaches them how to use a phone, or I will always know where they are.   Okay, teach them responsibility by giving them household chores or get them a pet!  Teach them how to use the home phone!  C'mon....

VIDEO GAME SYSTEMS:

My kids do not own any video game systems. That's right! No Nintendo DS, no Nintendo Wii, no XBox 360, no Playstation, not even a Plug 'n Play game.

{ I can hear jaws hitting the floor. } 

Why you may ask? Well, first of all, I think they are too expensive. Secondly, they can beome very addictive. It is very easy for children to become consumed with playing and winning games. 

Third, the games offered are very violent in my opinion. Shooting, decapitating, stealing, fighting....What happened to the good ole games like Super Mario Brothers?? 

And finally, they promote laziness. Allowing a child to sit in front of a TV playing video games for hours on end prohibits them from being active.  It also encourages them to eat more--usually unhealthy food choices.

 COMPUTERS, EMAIL, & SOCIAL NETWORKING:

We have one computer in our home.  It is located in the living room where it is visible to everyone.  I do allow my children to have computer time every night but it is very closely monitored.  They are allowed to play games if they like or they are allowed to use the Internet.  They are NOT allowed to have an e-mail account, they are NOT allowed to use MySpace or Facebook, and they are NOT allowed to visit any websites that I have not approved.

The reason for this is very simple:  SAFETY!  There are so many predators on the internet just waiting for unsuspecting children to come along and I look at it this way....if my kids are not there, they won't be vicitimized. 

 Now that my personal feelings are known about these common tech gadgets, the question remains:

Will my children be technologically retarded because they don't have free access to these items?

I would like the answer to be a resounding NO, but I don't think that may be the case.  Technology keeps evolving at an alarming rate and if you don't keep up with it and evolve with it, you will more than likely be left in the dust.  Alas, I guess it is time to stop being an old fashion parent, loosen the reins ( a bit ) and enter the 21st century.  However, for the personal safety of my kids, I will still be overly vigilant.

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    • NYMiskovic profile image
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      Kara Leigh Miller 8 years ago from Oswego, NY

      yamanote -- That is my biggest fear losing parental control especially with all the sexting that happens and the cyber bullying. It's just too scary for me!

    • yamanote profile image

      yamanote 8 years ago from UK/Spain

      i think is a really tricky decision, but overall i'd say you lose important parental control when your child has a cell

    • NYMiskovic profile image
      Author

      Kara Leigh Miller 8 years ago from Oswego, NY

      Thanks Common Thred! So many people criticize me for these choices. It's nice to have some one in my corner : )

    • profile image

      Common Thred 8 years ago

      What a great hub! And I think you are doing the right thing by your kids; if your oldest is 10, then you obviously have very small children in the home. I think you're doing the right thing and maybe should wait until they're older to let them have more free reign online and with techno-toys lol. Props to you!

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