Limitations

My last post was inspired by several different discussions/readings this past week. 

One was a discussion among old college mates about technology (specifically, information communication technology), its effects on attention span based on this article titled “Stoooopid…why the Google Generation isn’t as Smart as it Thinks it is: The digital age is destroying us by ruining our concentration) and the merits and detriments of maintaining and/or starting relationships based on social networking sites like Facebook.

The second was an article I proofread about the need for ethical use of the Internet, the ways technology has changed society and the dangers of allowing technology to spiral out of our control.

I’ve decided to severely limit the amount of time I’m on the computer when Miles is around. I know its daft, but I want him to remember me playing with him or reading a book or cleaning or doing something creative, not sitting in front of the computer screen typing away at something.

While much of my computer use is legitimate, the fact remains that I don’t want my kids growing up thinking that the computer is a form of entertainment. Of course it is but I would rather my kids view it first and foremost as a tool not as a source of amusement.

Just tonight I read a blog post about a woman whose daughter knows the difference between thyme and oregano because she’s grown them herself but who gets chaffed by friends for not having a TV in her room (and look!  you can click HERE to read it since your attention is probably itching to wander by now!). That’s how I’m going to be, I know. I kind of feel bad that our little ones might get razzed for not having cable TV or not having a cell phone or an iPod or Lord only knows what else.  But I want to be intentional about cultivating creativity and imagination and dig-in-the-dirt-iveness, not how can I pretend to play tennis with this other person who is standing next to me and we’re both looking at this big box and contorting ourselves (Not that there is anything wrong with Wii, I’m just using it AS AN ILLUSTRATION and you can feel free to buy me one so that I can diss it even further after experiencing it for myself and heaping mounds of scorn thereupon following said experiencing (Beej)).

Anyway, I don’t mean to go on about it but I have noticed in the past several days since I’ve started this that the Tiny Tyrant plays a lot better and longer on his own if I am interacting with him or even just moving about doing my own tasks than when I have to just sit here hunched over the glowing screen.

I’m sure as he gets older and I can explain my need to work I will feel less bad about it but for now I limit it to when he’s asleep (and I use the term “asleep” in the LOOSEST possible sense in that he is in bed with his eyes shut, sort of,  mostly for an extended period except when he needs to be walked or fed).

And who knows? Maybe my own attention span will start to increase again. I may cultivate the patience to wade through Don Quixote after all!

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bejewell
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 14:07:58

    I generally don’t use the computer when the Bean is around – not because I have an objection to him seeing me on it, but just because he’s so much fun and I love spending time with him so much, the computer is completely not on my radar at all.

    But the technology thing in general is a weird one for me. I grew up with a TV, stereo, phone, etc. in my room and I’m actually kind of glad I did. Maybe it wasn’t the healthiest thing but I certainly developed a love for all things pop culture and honestly, I think I’m pretty well-rounded because of it. More often than not, MTV was on the TV in the background while I read a book.

    I really have no idea what we’ll do with the Bean. I DO know he will NOT have a computer in his room – with child predators and all of that, I would just never be okay with that. No reason why we can’t have a community family computer that he can use where I can check in on a regular basis.

    Wow, this is a long comment. Sorry.

    Maybe it just depends on the kid. Or the parent.

    Reply

  2. ~m
    Dec 13, 2008 @ 19:58:27

    Beej, I agree with you on needing at least some access to popular entertainment. My husband grew up w/out a tv and now? if its on somewhere, he is just entranced. It’s like a deer in headlights; he can’t look away! 🙂
    I guess I just want to be mindful about the introduction of technology. I think that most thinking parents do.
    And that is awesome that you love to play with the Bean. I think that parental involvement is the best way to cultivate a well-rounded person!
    It’s a balancing act while I am working from home but I know that it will also be good for him to understand, when he’s older, that at particular times I will need to work.
    thanks for your thoughts tho! It’s good for me to see others out there who aren’t all stressed out and freaked out by the idea that things are going to get all Matrix-y or Bladerunner-ish in the future 🙂

    Reply

  3. Going Green Mama
    Jan 05, 2009 @ 17:04:08

    I agree they have to be mindful of technology but they also have to learn without it, too. We need creative thinkers to tackle tomorrow’s problems!

    Reply

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