childrens use of technology 1Technology is a wonderful thing and no one can doubt that we are in an age where communication has never been better.  We have the internet, email, text messaging, iPhones, iPads, iPods and laptops with new stuff coming out almost every month. However, watching us throughout our daily lives almost having to have our communications technology surgically removed from our grasp, what message is this sending out to our children?

Tech engineers limit their children’s use of technology
According to Steve Jobs of Apple fame we shouldn’t let our children use iPods or iPads which is quite astonishing considering his occupation.  His children have limited access to technology at home and many computer and software engineers feel the same way; preferring to send their children to schools where there is no technology.  There aren’t many schools nowadays that are committed to hands on, as opposed to technology orientated learning.

The CEO of 3D Robotics, Chris Anderson, has 5 children and stated ““My kids accuse me and my wife of being fascists and overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their friends have the same rules…  That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology first hand. I’ve seen it in myself; I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.”

Many of us, whilst maybe not aware of it, are addicted to our chosen communication technology and this means that we may unwittingly pass this on to your children. Whilst we might have died for something that would help us study for our tests and exams, that didn’t involve wading through heavy encyclopaedias, our children are missing out on the creativity and imagination we all had to use when we were growing up. We looked for information we needed in books and interacted with other people in order to learn. Our children merely use Google and millions of pages are instantly at their disposal.

Should we feel guilty about limiting our children’s use of technology?
Having to think, be imaginative and creative assisted us to be the balanced people we are today. So should we feel guilty about not giving our children access to a smartphone, so that they can play games and chat like their school friends, or should we feel more concerned that by giving them the latest technology we are effectively stopping them from having a healthier, independent development?

I think if the developers of our technology consider too much access to it is unhealthy we should certainly take that on board.  And we can help reduce their enthusiasm for such things by following some simple rules:

Never have your smartphone or any other technology on the dinner table. At family meals switch off or power down so that technology does not interrupt this important time. This includes any activity where you are spending quality time with you children.  If you set the rules, they will follow them.

Go out with them on walks; take them swimming, play outdoor games with your children or any other outdoor activity that you feel will benefit them, so that they enjoy something other than sitting in front of a screen.

Limiting your children’s use of technology from an early age will make them well rounded human beings and there is no doubt, even if they complain that their friends have all the latest tech, they will thank you for it when they get older.

You Family Coach