Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Balancing Act- Kids and Technology

This is absolutely my toughest struggle! I seem to live on my phone. I have everything on there. But when I realized that I spent more time with my phone than I did with my kids (3 of which I stay home with), I knew something had to change. I am limiting my time on my phone and on my laptop. I am drawing a line when it comes to technology and my kids. After all, "Facebook is not a task" as my friend Kayse says in her new book "Undivided Mom".

But you know what, it does absolutely no good for me to limit my technology use if I am not limiting my kids technology use.

I have 2 kids who use K12- an online virtual academy- for school. So a good portion of their day is online. But that is it. Those two are not allowed on any other websites. But they both have DS's and I have noticed a lot of time being spent on them. The new rule for both of them is that Sunday nights at 9 PM the DS goes up until Friday at 5 PM. No DS during the school week. And if for some reason they need to do school on Saturday, then the DS stays up until they are done. There are always exceptions to this rule, like a 2 hour drive one way to a field trip or an unexpected trip out of town. Then the DS is ONLY allowed after reading is complete.

My 13 year old is a completely different story. This kid is at school all day, has online research most nights, owns a DS, a PSP, and a Nook. AND he has a Facebook page. And he tests the boundary lines everyday. His rules are simple. No DS, PSP, or Facebook Sunday evening through Friday afternoon. And the Nook is allowed out only after he has completed everything else. Simple rules that require vigilance because he will break them every chance that he gets. This kid has zero exceptions to his rules. And if his grades aren't up to par then he loses weekend privileges. Oh and he has no phone. He will not have a phone until he turns 15. And then that phone will be a regular phone not a smart phone.  I am the mean mom when it comes to all of this. But let's be honest- I would rather be the mean mom than the mom who just let's him get away with everything.

Now, let's talk TV. We don't have satellite, cable, or antennae at our house. (The no antennae thing will be changing this weekend.) The only thing at our house is DVDs. And that is a good and a bad thing. TV is not allowed to come on until AFTER school is finished each day. And there are some nights that is doesn't  come on at all. I have HULU and NETFLIX. And I am known to go to my in-laws on Saturdays to watch the latest episode of Duck Dynasty. But even during the regular TV show season, we don't watch it that night and my kids rarely watch it at all. I will watch some TV shows the next day with HULU or on Saturdays I will catch up for the whole week. But even then there really aren't that many shows on that I want to watch. TV has to be limited for us. If we don't limit it we tend to go overboard and it can become a problem.
Limiting TV works for us. And I think it is a great idea. Especially now. I mean have you seen commercials lately. And after watching some show on the Disney channel last week (the DISNEY CHANNEL) my 8 and 7 year olds came and asked me what a virgin was and what impotent means. I was SHOCKED! It is time to draw on line. Monitoring only goes so far.

Limiting technology is really hard in our house. There is just so much of it. And as much as I limit, there seems to be no limits when you go to Grandma's. And how hard is it to ignore your phone when it alerts you to every email, text message, and Facebook change? It's hard. And like with everything else you have to be deliberate. I can only tell you what we do at our house. And even that does not always work. Please share any ideas that you have. I will be grateful for it. Especially with older kids as it seems like their worlds are saturated with technology more and more.

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