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  • Gadget Free Day
  • Maileen M

Gadget Free Day

Gadget Free Day
Recently I've heard lots of talk about the challenges our kids face in a digital environment, how the iPad has replaced the TV as the nanny of choice, the inherent dangers of the on-line world and so on. I suppose, like most parents, my two boys are just as immersed in this world as most kids and it does worry me sometimes. I know that the best way to punish my 14 turning 15 year old is to take away his phone and for my 10 year old it's to say no iPad. In my day it was "no TV" as our ultimate punishment but in today's connected world that's only one of many avenues our kids watch content.

To say that Gadgets are evil or no exposure is better than any exposure I believe is just simply wrong. Gadgets are used at my sons school to supplement their education tools and at home to help with homework, help being the key word there. They can also be fun and help expand their horizons beyond the community they live in. I know parents who are very restrictive to their kids, no phones, no iPad, no TV and restrictive use of a computer. Are these kids any different or better than others? No from what I've seen. But are they safer - absolutely! There are plenty of sick people in the connected world who prey on the vulnerabilities of kids. So safety always come first. Net nannies are a must and as much as possible I always try to know what sites my kids are visiting. For downloads my eldest son has to approve my youngest son and we approve the eldest. This sense of responsibility makes him much more aware and understanding of our need to review his downloads. All our gadgets are linked to a single user and email so we can check everything that goes on and we talk. We talk about what they have done on-line, what game they are playing and sometimes we join them as well. The school also has a great educational program on being safe in an on-line world and these are great sources of knowledge for both parents and children and I would highly recommend. I think we have done as much as we can, without a no gadget lifestyle.

Anyway, back to Gadget free day. It was a bit of a novel idea, can the kids stop using gadgets for a day? That would really test them I thought. How would they cope? It turns out, very easily. In fact the problem was if this kids had to do it, so did we. Turns out we struggled more than the kids! Our need to constantly check emails was a real problem. How could the office survive if I didn't answer an email within the hour? Turns out, pretty well. Will people think I am in trouble if I don't like a post on social media? Nope.

While the kids kept us honest about not using our gadgets (we thought it would be the other way around) we ended up having a pretty fun day. Was it a wow moment and no more more gadgets ever day, no. But did the children understand they don't need gadgets everyday, of course and apparently they knew that anyway. Did the parents understand they don't need gadgets every day, they do now.

Try it, make it a family experience - both you and the kids might learn something.
  • Maileen M

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