Children and Technology: Who Is Really Ruining Who?

Another mother, whose boys were building a friendship with my own through a structured extra-curricular class, discovered that I am far more lenient on my son’s technology usage than she.

Recently, she learned that my son has a Facebook page. The next day her children were enrolled in a different class.

Apparently, my son’s lifestyle is contagious…. Who knew?!

I sat for a long time bothered by this. A new addition to the mass of insecurities about raising my children now tormented my mind. Do I let him play too many video games? Should he really have a Facebook at his age? Should I stop letting him watch movies to fall asleep?

There is a constant battle attacking the very core of my soul. Always wondering, hoping, and praying that I am doing the right thing, making the right decision, raising them the right way.

Of course, these are entirely due to society’s tremendously critical opinions of the right way to raise a child. No tv, they say. Read to them 24/7, they say. Video games will rot their brains, they say. Facebook will get them kidnapped and murdered, they say.

Well… my Facebook frenemies are still alive….  So much for that theory.

I think my son’s private, selectively allowed friendship, Facebook account is safe for the time being. Sure, I let my son have a Facebook, rather than hide him in fear, trapping him in a bubble of ignorance. I teach him internet safety. I regularly check his online activities. I let him know what not to do online and why. Plus, Facebook allows him to have contact with relatives that would otherwise be non-existent to him. It encourages him to develop proper typing skills, computer skills, and reading and writing skills.

In fact, this whole talk of how ‘plugged in’ our kids are and how it is so horribly detrimental to their growth and intelligence is just ridiculous.

Studies go on and on about the negative effects of technology on our children.

In fact, studies go on about the negative effects of EVERYTHING on our children. Always hug your children. Don’t hug them too much. Put them to bed early. Let them sleep in. Don’t co-sleep. Co-sleeping is best. Don’t vaccinate your children. Vaccinations save lives. Don’t be a helicopter parent. Protect your children.

Protect them from what?!! Ourselves?

Frankly, no one really knows what they’re talking about. Every generation has had some horrible thing at the center of all that children do wrong. Rock and roll music. Spanking. Media. Television. Even Beethoven was on the list of things that we blamed for ruining our children!

Clearly, your children end up doing horrible things because they are influenced from an outside source, NOT because they are responsible for their own actions.

The internet was founded in the 1950’s, it was not released to the public until nearly 50 years later. In 1990, less than 15% of households owned a home computer. It wasn’t until the 21st century that the idea of owning a personal computer was an interest. That was only 15 years ago.

So… the OLDEST child that “grew up” with technology at their fingertips is ONLY 14-15 years old.

Tell me again about these studies that prove our technological children will become floundering idiots as adults, unable to cut it in the real world.

It took over 50’s years from the initial development of the internet to grow enough to become a popular household resource. In 15 short years, it blossomed to the point of having internet access virtually anywhere you go, communicating with others around the globe, and the many other seemingly endless possibilities that lay at the end of our fingertips on computers, laptops, IPads, and smart phones.

Imagine, what 15 more years will do….

Granted, I have full intentions of setting my son free and watching him fly bravely from my nest, about six years shy of that time frame. But still…. We can’t even begin to comprehend the world we will be sending our children into. I imagine though, based solely off of history and intuition, not studies, that the world our children face as adults will be very integrated with technology.

My son has a Facebook. My son plays video games. My son watches movies; real life, parental discretion advised, movies.

My son might grow up to be that loser guy; living in his mom’s basement when he’s 40, surviving off of Doritos’, mountain dew, and video games. But, I doubt it.

I think it’s more likely that he will grow up to be the guy who invents a world changing device, after mastering the use of a computer at such a young age.  He won’t be unemployable in the future. He will have years of experience in the various levels of technology that will be a desirable skill across all job fields.

But that child, the one who wasn’t allowed to have a Facebook, who wasn’t allowed more than 30 minutes a day with technology, who was never talked to about the real world, who was never given the trust of making their own choices,  never experiencing the truth of responsibility for their own actions. That child, who was so sheltered, so protected, from the real world, will be unable to function in it.

Technology is the future.

And to THOSE moms, the moms that sacrifice their child’s friendships in order to protect their ignorance, my son’s lifestyle is NOT contagious… unfortunately.

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Categories: 2015

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