The screen on my iPhone had been shaking for a couple of months and it got to the point where I couldn’t even call or text anyone anymore, so I finally put on my big girl pants and headed out to the Apple store.
Let me begin by saying that I have an enormous dislike for how fast our world is progressing in the way of technology. Just when I figure something out, they go and put out a new thing that is bigger and better and faster and more expensive and I have this unsettled feeling in the pit of my stomach that I just. can’t. keep. up.
I left the Apple store ready to have a drink – and I do not even like alcohol.
I may or may not have muttered to myself on the drive home that I was not meant to live in this century.
The 1950’s sound good to me. You know, milk delivered to your doorstep. Poodle skirts. Frank Sinatra. The simple life.
All this to say that my 5 year old son understands today’s technology better than me.
In fact, we were at the supermarket several years ago and I couldn’t figure out how to turn the volume up on my phone and he snatched the thing out of my hand and said, “Let me take care of this, Mommy.”
He was 3, people.
This year on Black Friday my dad scored an incredible deal on an Android tablet and asked if he and my mom could give it to Happy Buddy as a Christmas gift.
The hubs and I figured that this day would come eventually, so we agreed – albeit a little reluctantly. I know my boy and while I love seeing his pleasure and natural skill with a tablet, I also see how quickly his little heart gets a little too wrapped up in it all, so I knew we needed to come up with a plan on how to monitor his use of such an attractive, addictive thing.
**All the inspiration for this idea comes from sweet Ness of One Perfect Day.**
We decided an hour a day of screen time would be allowed. This might vary from family to family. In fact, hubs and I were just talking about maybe cutting it down to 30 minutes now that Happy Buddy is back in school.
He has little cards in 10 minute increments to help him keep track of his time. He starts with the 6 10-minute cards every day and can turn them in based on a few conditions –
- He has to ask Mommy or Daddy before using the tablet.
- Chores must be completed before using.
- No more than 30 minutes of screen time in any one sitting.
- If 20 or more minutes of screen time takes place, then there must be a break of at least 1 hour before next screen time.
- Unused screen time does not carry over into the next day.
So far the system is working well. Some days he uses all 6 cards (like on the days I try to hoof it on the treadmill while Happy Baby is napping), some days he uses only 1 or 2.
I like this system because it allows Happy Buddy the freedom to work independently and responsibly within the limits we, as the parents, have set.
I also have the right as the mama to take the iPad away whenever I see that he is becoming too attached, too distracted, too consumed… I think it’s good for our children to experience a ‘fasting’ from something they really enjoy. It sets them up for a future of healthy choices and an awareness of idolatry. This is also something I practice in my own life.
We need to be engaged with our children and technology. We need to teach them how to be wise and discerning with these things that are so much apart of the age we live in -whether we like being in the 21st century or not.
Because instead of poodle skirts we’ve got Angry Birds.
– Julie 🙂