Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tech Junkies = Bad Parenting?

Is it bad that my kids are obsessed with ipads, ipod touches, Apple tvs, laptops, and cellphones?

Is it bad that when they role play it is often as Zombies?

Is it bad that my four year old and two year old know every single character name of Super Mario's world? And that when I do an "underdog" for my little girl on the swing she says, "Mom, say under bob-omb?" (the little bomb guy on Mario. I didn't even know that's what he was called).

Yes, I realize it means they're going to be major nerds, but is it more dangerous than that? Calvin loves watching YouTube. Mostly he loves the home movies that people make with the Mario, Rio, and Angry Bird plush toys, which seems like they would be fine, but there are some really messed up kids out there with too much time on their hands and not enough adult supervision. The other day I was with him watching trailers for the new Despicable Me movie and someone had dubbed the cute little yellow guys to yell Mother F----er at each other. I was horrified.

Tonight Calvin told me about a video he watched with Mario and Princess Peach. Again, horrified. I try to keep an eye on him, but I guess I shouldn't assume he's playing a fun little preschool spelling game when he's really watching awful crap. Tonight I turned off all of the internet connections on the devices and tomorrow when the kids get up, we're going to talk about a technology crack-down. What do you do though? I realize the first step would probably be not having ipod touches for toddlers, but since we've already moved past that... I mean, when I was a kid (here I go sounding old) we didn't even have internet, let alone little handheld devices that kids knew how to operate. What do you do? Not let them play them? Sit with them the entire time? Block YouTube? I have no idea. Mostly I feel like a crappy parent.

Also fun today, Autumn started yelling "it's not fair!" any time I tried to dress her, change her, feed her, touch her, bring her inside, etc. I have no idea where she heard it. She has always been the sweetest little thing, but today she would arch her back and stiffen all of her limbs and fall backwards like she was going to crash into the floor, the whole time yelling, "it's not fair! it's not fair!" I saw a whole new little monster.

When I talked to Andy on the phone tonight, I recapped the day and he said, "oh great, our girl is acting like an over-emotional drama queen, and our boy is sneaking off to look at smut. It's like they're teenagers already."

So what do you do to UN-mess-up your kids? I play with them. I keep a close eye on them. I read to them. I pray with them. I talk with them about things. I'm a present and available parent. But apparently I suck at it. They're growing up too fast. I'm not equipped to deal with any of these things.

You know something is up when it's way too quiet and you find two big lumps underneath a blanket:

Uh-oh, there goes their perfectly contrived hiding place:


Forced out of hiding:
(you'll notice my ghetto ripped bedskirt. The kids use it as a ladder. Someday I will fix it.)


Margaret said...

My cousin's kids have ipods, and you can put parental blocks on them to limit the type/amount of internet access your kids have. I agree that it's really shocking the crap that is so easily available to those who aren't even looking for it.

Good luck!

The Boone Family said...

Hey Emma lou,
David is a techy addict. We do a couple of things. 1. Everything has a password that only we know. That way if they want to get on they have to ask. 2. They also have to earn tech time. I admit I'm not always good at this, especially when I'm on a conference call and someone comes in screaming, but usually they have to do some tasks to earn minutes to play. Some of our tasks are putting certain things away (like the shoe pile), emptying the dishwasher, feeding the animals, etc. Then we set a timer for how long they've earned. Once the timer rings they're done. Not sure if that helps. Love you. Happy graduation!!