We’re not an Ipad-y family..
It’s not that I’m dead set against them and of course we do have them. They come out in full force on the aeroplane and we couldn’t do a long journey without them, but we just never ever remember to charge them up at home. The kids don’t seem to ask for them or care really, they play with their toys and with each other, but last week they both asked me to plug them in. When it was time to leave the house for the day they walked out like this..
They were so tuned out of the real world and quite literally plugged in to those little cracked screens to the point that I had to take them off them because they didn’t hear me ask them to step into the car. They were just stood there, right next to the car, not getting in. Honestly, they were like two zombies, they were even switched off to Rupert quite angrily and repetitive barking “Ipad Ipad Ipad Ipad” right behind them. At first I thought, “see?! I’m glad we never have these damn things out” and then it made me wonder if we should have them more available to make them less of a forbidden fruit??
Maybe, because they are a now a part of everyday life, we should be making them part of our children’s every day lives too?? There are loads of educational apps which they would benefit from and Hattie’s teachers have actually suggested we use some to help her with her maths (although our software is too out of date to load anything on!). Rose certainly seems more engaged when she’s playing on the ipad than she does when I’m reading her a story and she’s hopping around my back and putting her finger in my ear. Just this week Hattie has been introduced to a sweet channel on youtube called Draw So Cute which gives step by step instructions on how to draw. She has loads of colouring books doing exactly the same thing but has never really engaged with them in the same way and she’s had loads of fun building up a little portfolio which she has carried around in her pocket every day this week! She has no idea how to search for the channel or even how to get onto youtube on my phone or lap top so has to ask me to set it all up for her every time. I wondered again if I was doing her a disservice by letting her be so clueless??
I also don’t want my kids to be like those friends I had over when I was young who were never allowed to eat sweets or watch TV at home and who went crazy when they were at at ours.
As much as I convince myself of all these reasons, another part of me hesitates. We were camping at the weekend with no wifi, not even any 3G. As much as Robert and I desperately missed our phones, and were gutted to not be able to place a bet on the grand national (him) or check instagram (me), we definitely felt more present and had more time for each other and the whole family. We are never going to be ‘tech free’ household as we would fail miserably. If our phones are there we cant resist the urge to pick them up. We are addicted. It’s an inevitable part of life which we are all sucked into now. I just think if we can buy our kids a few years of life before this addiction kicks in, we’re doing them a favour..
I’m also not saying we don’t have “screen time”. We most definitely feel there is a time and a place for TV, it is daily in our house, for both me and the kids. Sometimes I just need to keep them in one place so I can get on with something and sometimes they need to calm down or need a distraction. I’m talking about Ipads and tablets which are solitary and just different. My kids have always hated the car. Hattie and Rose both used to scream on every single journey as newborns and haven’t really improved. We actually have tv screens in the car now and they’re amazing for long journeys. But there is something different about watching a movie together and playing a solitary game on an ipad. I want them to bicker over which film to watch and sing along together and lose interest and start bickering again together.
I don’t know what the right answer is really, so I’m wondering how you all feel? Do your children have their own? If so, can they take it or leave it? or are they addicted? Parents of older kids, what are your experiences and opinions? I mean, at this stage I’m only worrying about child friendly clean apps and games, not social media, which is a whole new terrifying ball game that I can’t bear to think about!! Fellow mummas, please impart all wisdom on this matter and tell me what to do.
Playing a proper game together last weekend 🙂