Digital Detox


We’ve created digital monsters. I’m not a gadgets person per se – but I can admit I like stuff. I gave up on PCs after buying myself a Mac as a graduation gift. So now I am one of the Apple faithfuls. I now have an iPhone (who doesn’t?) and iPad (again who doesn’t?). But of course when you’re a parent – “your stuff” is really their stuff. When I first got my iPad, it had a code on it and at the time Kura couldn’t unlock it. She’d always bring it to us – gesturing for us to unlock it.

But as I write this – it’s kind of wild that I’m just now realizing she’s had an iPad in her hand pretty much before she could even talk. Once she learned to unlock it, she was unstoppable and she in turn taught her brother. Here recently, her school had a contest and she won a Kindle. We were super excited and of course I saw this as an opportunity for her to brush up on her reading skills. Which she did. But she also brushed up on her tech skills. Next thing I knew I was getting email after email about Amazon.com downloads. These kids were downloading games nonstop.

My son is especially a gadget head. He’s gotten in trouble for getting out of bed in the morning and going straight to his sister’s room and taking her Kindle off the charger. To hell with the morning routine for school – he completely A) forgets or B) doesn’t care. Both of my kids know how to turn on Netflix on both Playstations (yes, we have two) as well as both tablet devices now. Last summer when Pokemon Go was such a big hit, I downloaded it to see what all the hype was and to battle it out with my husband. My son got to the point where he acted like my phone was his – so much so I had to tell him I deleted the game off my phone. But I really didn’t. Hell, I’m grown and I’ve got to have my own life, right?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a whopping HOUR (ONE) of screen time for children between ages 2 and 5. My daughter just got over the 5-year-old hump and I will admit she nor her brother have only spent ONE HOUR total for the ENTIRE day with screen time.

It’s like kids nowadays don’t even go outside to play. Now part of that is the world we live in. My kids are only 6 and 4, so they’re not ready to be outside alone.. but I don’t even know IF there will ever be a time when they are allowed (maybe $5,000 and a fenced-in yard later).

But for now. I have to go outside with them. And let’s be honest.. a sister be tired. But I now see I’ve actually WE –I’m not taking all the blame –created some digital monsters.They are practically glued to their screens.

And let’s face it for parents – its quiet time. It’s time when they forget they are hungry, thirsty and nope, they’re not bored. EVER.

But I’m also noticing my son is getting addicted.

Seriously.

It’s to the point where he doesn’t know what to do if he doesn’t have a tablet, game controller or TV remote in his hand. But I can’t blame him.

Before he could walk, he had an iPad. My husband is a huge gamer… so it’s only natural my son will follow. Because of it, he’s starting to have a huge imagination and rather large vocabulary and very good memorization skills.

How many 4 year olds do you know who can name every Pokemon or can actually play a Playstation game and pass a board? While the things he can do electronically is amazing, I don’t want to forget about the basics.

I want my kids to be able to bounce a ball, skip rope, play with sidewalk chalk, blow bubbles and ride a bike. All things they’re doing now – but I’m afraid if I allow the screens to take over they will eventually lose interest in that. I want kids who don’t mind the smell of fresh cut grass or the feeling of being sweaty from being outside all day.

Have you ever tried to do an electronics detox? Its hard!

So the other day I tried it with my kids. And this wasn’t even the real deal because I had allowed them to use their tablets and play the Playstation earlier in the day. But I had decided it was enough for the day.

Kayden looked at me as if he’d lost his best friend. He asked me, “What can I do then?” as if his fun in life was limited to electronics. I threw out indoor friendly suggestions. Of course I picked a detox day on a rainy day but hey – I’m not perfect.

You can color.

No.

You can read a book.

No.

You can make some arts and crafts.

No.

Then Kura suggested hide and seek. But that lasted all of 10 minutes or so. Once Kura didn’t count long enough for Kayden to “find a good hiding place” it was pretty much over. They argued and fussed about how long to count and where to hide.

And by then – I wanted to yell out in my best Oprah voice “You get a tablet! And you get a tablet!”

WE ALL GET TABLETS!

But I held firm this time. No way was I letting them get a device.

So I decided it was bed time.

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