Friday, February 20, 2009

Nature vs. Technology

Not being a parent it's pretty easy to imagine what type of house hold I'm going to run when I become a parent! I can look at all the parental roles in front of me, and say: "Nope, nope, nope!" to any part of what I see. I realize, it's not going to be as easy as I make it in my head.... but one thing I feel very strongly about is T.V. and video games.

Do you think it's possible to raise kids with a minimum of these? Especially the video games drive me nuts. I think they cause ADD, they are isolating, and almost drug-like. T.V. at least has a FEW redeeming qualities, like Sesame Street teaching the alphabet. I guess video games can teach hand/eye coordination, but I'd rather my child learn that from sports. Out doors.

I remember when I was growing up my favorite pastime was smashing leaves with a "mortar and pestle" (rocks against concrete) and making "bug poison" (which I never used on bugs because my dad taught me *super* empathy at a very early age). This was the funnest thing ever! To make green juice out of leaves!

Being an only child, I know I had tons, piles, mountains of toys. But I cannot remember ANY of them except my Snoopy stuffed dog. Mostly I remember times I played outside. Bug poison was in the yard in Jakarta. So was collecting Rambutan fruit for my nanny to slice open for me, as I waited impatiently for the white-sweet-juicy-globe-of-tropical-flavored-goodness. Taking a bath in a bucket outdoors (note the Joy dishwashing liquid soap...) Collecting mammoth sized snails was in the village in Abidjan. Shooting marbles into stick-dug holes during recess was at French School. Riding my bike trying to get lost was in Bethesda. Also in Bethesda, I would rake the woods for the heck of it, to make paths!In the woods! In Princeton, I played with the family dogs, Buttons, Saskia and then later Biscuit.

On the other hand, denying a child access to technology in today's world could seriously stunt future job opportunities. I think it's neat my nephew figured out Pay Pal on his own and bought something the other day after hacking his dad's account! Smarty! Computers are a part of growing up, nowadays.

So what do you think... are video games, T.V. and computers helpful or harmful? Can I force my daughter to "go outside and play" when all her friends are indoors zapping Tetris and Wii'ing? Would I be dooming her to "loser-hood" to restrict access to American Idol? I know, "I'm the parent, and what I say goes..." but can I fight today's society and how much?


Sarah said...

I think the key here, like with most things in life is moderation.

We have the Wii, PS3 AND Xbox 360 in our house (not to mention seven computers). We also, don't have cable, don't watch live television and would rather meet up with friends in the park to toss a frisbee than go the happy hour. I can't imagine not raising a technologically capable video game enjoying child since that is who we are too, but WE'RE the parents and we set the boundaries and if I limit my own game playing to x amount of hours a week you can bet I'll do the same for my daughter!

As for looser hood... I'm pretty proud of the fact that I'm not mainstream, I'm scared of popular culture, its so often ugly!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,

Thanks for visitig my blog. I wish you well on your jorney. Saw your post on CHS. Just wanted to say that the skin issues go deeper unfortunately than light is always better. I am light, and was sent home crying on many occasions and am not always accepted by my own ppl. It's a different struggle than a darker person, but not an easier one.

TTYL....trice waiting for eden

The Stephensons said...

Children today do need access to technology, because it is such a vital part of our society. However, I think it would be beneficial to ban your children of tv when they are at home. TV is full of stuff they don't need to learn. I let my children watch a limited amount of tv and I limit video games/computer time to 30 minutes a day.

Kiki said...

I don't think video games cause ADHD. He had signs of ADHD long before he picked up a video game. Most of what I've read believes ADHD to be hereditary. Video games for our ADHD son allow him to concentrate and sit still when we have big family get togethers, which is primarily when you see him, and enables us not to have to medicate him constantly but rather only for school. Also, if there are other children around that are his age he'd much rather do something outside, like sledding or playing in his tree house than play a video game. But when there are just "boring" adults around I don't think there is anything wrong with him playing video games. Also, things are different from when we were kids. There is no way I would allow them to go off on their own into the Institute woods for hours like we used to. The world is a much more dangerous place now for children and you can't let them just run outside alone all day any more. It's very hard to work full time and then come home and try to get dinner done, the house cleaned, the dog walked, the bills paid, homework done and then still have energy to do something with your child, like a craft or board game (because it's too dark to go outside) and not watch tv with them instead. There are plenty of programs geared towards kids these days so there is no reason they have to see anything inappropriate. Many shows actually start conversations and questions which I welcome. I think a lot of parents start off saying they aren't going to let their kids watch tv or play on the computer but it's unrealistic for the most part. Especially if you yourself, as an adult, enjoy watching tv. Also, many schools have computer match programs that the kids do online at their own pace and it records their progress. They need to know how to work a computer to get by these days.

P.S. He didn't actually "hack" into our Pay Pal account...the website he was on accepted paypal and we were stupid enough to use the same password for both sites so that was our fault. He didn't intentially try to get money out of our Paypal account

graceling said...

I have a television in my house... in my guest room closet. We bring it out to watch movies as a family. We have a few small hand-held electronic games, but those only come out for car rides, and even then, aren't very popular. My eldest plays age-appropriate educational games on the computer a few times a week and feels comfortable doing what most 6 year olds do with computers. Other than that, we limit the technology for a few reasons:

1. There is way too much smut on TV these days- too many images of women, people of color, ageism, etc that I don't want my girls seeing or buying into.

2. My daughter is a zombie when the TV is on- has been since infancy. I like her too much to let her turn into a zombie.

3. I believe in nurturing imagination. I think it creats well-rounded people who are able to entertain themselves and think independently.

4. There are far too many good books to read to spend time on electronic games/TV.