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I just saw this article today about not allowing young children the use of handheld devices at all. As I was reading it I’m not going to lie, I was rolling my eyes a little. I don’t pretend to hold degrees in child development or anything but I have been a parent for fourteen years and have a lot of opinions. Use and abuse are two very different words and moderation is key.
It’s like cake. If I eat a cake then my pants won’t button, I’ll feel like garbage, and I might get “the diabeetus”. But if I eat a piece of cake it might not be the best choice for my daily calorie allotment but I will have enjoyed it and no long-lasting harm will be done.
Do I advocate the use of excessive use of handheld devices? Of course not. In fact my toddler hardly ever plays on our cell phones and may play a counting game or what have you a few times a month. I do have apps on my phone to keep him occupied if he gets antsy in a restaurant or waiting room and I don’t see anything wrong with it. However he is not allowed free rein either.
Then there’s my fourteen-year-old. I do believe that bad habits are developed early on and while banning is extreme, I do think that we should be mindful. Despite our always having very strict limits with my teenager in terms of his cell phone, computer, and video game time, his bio donor did not when he was little and all he did was play video games with him 24/7 on his weekends. Because of that and probably just his personality I will say that I believe he has an unhealthy view of electronics that has been hard for us to break. Any time he gets in trouble it is usually one of these three things that are the culprit and we have to bring the hammer down on them, so to speak. If he keeps it up then it might end up being literally.
In fact he just got himself banned from my laptop again for repeatedly using free game sites loaded with spyware (even after he has been told umpteen times not to) and breaking the internet. Yes, he broke the internet! Okay, it could have been a coincidence but the fact that my laptop was jacked when he gave it back to me, I’m going with it. I had to sit on the phone with our internet provider for almost 45 minutes the other day and we ended up having to create a whole new wireless connection to sign in to. So yeah, he doesn’t have the new password for that yet.
It’s a fine line we walk as parents sometimes but in my humble opinion that you didn’t ask for: I am pretty strict with electronics with my kids but I am not all or nothing where they’re concerned. I believe that there can be benefits as long as you’re careful and if my toddler wants to practice his ABCs on my phone once in a while then I will let him and I won’t feel guilty about it.
What about you? Do you let your kids play with your cell phone or tablet? Do they have their own?