Privilege vs Necessity in a Kids World of Technology
Kids these days are more technologically engaged with everything they do. It is a fast-paced learning and educational environment because of the world of technology. Parents may not know how to balance the time kids spend on electronic devices. This can be challenging for parents because when we were growing up this type of technology was not as accessible.
I can remember hand writing a letter and sending it in the mail. Or, completing my homework on notebook paper with a pen in my hand. Nowadays, kids are using computers, phones, tablets, and other devices for all types of learning and communication. It is a confusing situation for parents to decide how much time spent is too much. Kids these days do not know how to do the basic pen and paper letter. Nor do they rarely read a book instead of watching a video. These things can make a difference in the way kids grow up and are able to function in society.
My seventeen-year-old daughter had gotten into trouble recently. I took her phone and computer away from her. She is currently grounded off all electronic devices that consist of the internet. “I can’t believe you took my life away from me,” she had said. The first week was rough for both of us. She was angry and did not know what to do without her phone attached to her hand. It was a confusing situation for her. Now that it has been over a month she has transitioned better and is finding things to do with her time. I was even shocked when last night she asked me for a book to read. If I had not taken her technological devices away, she would have never asked to read a book.
As parents, it is important to set boundaries for your kids. Limit the time they spend on these technological devices to ensure they are able to spend time doing constructive things. When they are relying on their electronics to maintain relationships, learning, and recreational time; they are not using their imagination or thinking for themselves. Kids rely on groups of peers for information, actions, and communication instead of thinking for themselves. This can be harmful to their minds because they are not learning to utilize their own minds to make decisions. It is easier for kids to google an answer to a problem, instead of figuring the answer out on their own. They are not able to use their minds to the full capacity and are not actually learning to their best ability. When a parent sets boundaries they are not punishing the kids from their electronics, but are allowing them to think for themselves. Kids should have time to play outside and use their own ideas to create, construct, and come up with things to do on their own. They are not able to do that while playing video games or chatting on their phones all day.
I can remember growing up as a kid and playing outside all day. We did not have these types of devices to distract us. Instead, kids in my generation were able to use their imaginations to the fullest in order to come up with things to do. I pretended my bicycle was a race car and my friends and I would play using our make believe games. This helped me grow into a resourceful adult because I had the experience of imagination. It taught me to think out of the box and be creative. If I had not had that time spent using my imagination, I would not have the ability to be creative and come up with ideas for certain situations in life.
Boundaries that parents can set for their children will not hinder them but will help them. At dinner time, there can be a rule of no devices at the dinner table. This will allow parents and kids to communicate verbally and not electronically. Parents can learn a lot from their kids when they are not distracted and are able to communicate. This may take some time if kids are not used to having this type of communication at the dinner table. It is a good way for parents and kids to get to know each other on a more personal level. Parents can set boundaries for their kids on gaming devices. Let them play for a certain amount of time but then have them go outside and get some exercise and fresh air. It will be good for them on a mental and physical level. Another option that could be a good boundary is to have the kids leave their phones at home if you are having a family day. This could be a day at the mall, movies, or a walk in the park. This will allow you and your kids to effectively communicate without any distractions. The kids may not like the idea at first, but will adjust to it.
Imagination is a great benefit for children to be able to express. Kids have been doing this since they were little. I can remember my son playing with his wrestling figures and pretending they were real. This was a great way for him to learn how to express himself and increase his mental capacity. He would sit for hours and play with them and when it was nice outside, he would take them out to play. The action figures would hide in the flowers or in behind the trees. He would spend a lot of time in his own imaginary world without the use of electronic devices to think for him. If kids are interested in certain topics about life in general; let them read a book. This is a good way to for them to use their imagination as they read. The difference is that the book will not tell them what to think or how to think. It just offers the story and lets the kids come up with their own image of what the story is portraying. It will also help them increase their reading ability and utilize their minds.
A privilege is something we allow our kids to take part in. These things can be taken away if they are not behaving properly. These things may consist of after school activities, sports, friends, or other things that kids like to do. Privileges should also include technological devices. They are not a necessity, but are a privilege. If a child gets into trouble, then they should not be able to enjoy those privileges. Kids like to take these things for granted and assume that they are a necessity in life instead of a privilege. This can be a problem when our kid is too dependent on this type of electronic technology. When my daughter lost her devices; she acted as an addict going through withdrawal the first week. I think, she was going through her own withdrawal because she was so used to having these things at her disposal and in an instant the items were gone. Setting boundaries will help reduce the withdrawal effect that kids will have without these devices. When kids get to the point of withdrawal over phones, computers, and other items then this is a problem. “The problem is that we as parents have let our kids not think of these devices as a necessity to live, but instead of a privilege to enjoy”.