Saturday, November 7, 2015

Why I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love My Kid's iPhone

For your consideration, I would like to offer up the following:

Can we please not blame teens for living in the world we created for them? Can we stop with the trite "when I was your age I had one toy and it was called OUTSIDE" statements?

If you look even a little bit beyond the surface you will see an entire generation of alternative thinkers, skilled typists, talented researchers & adept self-soothers. The exact opposite of what is usually spouted off about 12-20 year olds-- that they are lazy, can't get their faces out of their phones, that they don't know how to interact socially.

I live with two people within that population and based on my anecdotal evidence they are outgoing & funny. Opinionated and proud. And they also happen to be on their devices ALL THE TIME they aren't doing homework, sports, drawing.

And when their friends come over, I witness the same behavior. Yet they all appear to be healthy, happy and well adjusted.

A theory I have on this: Social media is an outlet for them, not the end game. Kids who in past generations who may have been to shy to interact well can use platforms like SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter to expose their very cool, very unique personalities.  Smart phones and tablets and my blessed internet allow them to investigate interests that their parents may have not had the resources to provide access to, so they get "sucked in" and guess what? They learn stuff! Amazing stuff! And they talk about it! At dinner! With their families!

Downsides abound. In everything. But that's where we come in. As guides, as parents and mentors. We check the devices and see what they're looking at,  set up ground rules for what can and can't, should and shouldn't be posted on sites open to the entire www. We remind them that reading the Dictionary is the ultimate nerd pastime, that if you finally want to beat your mother at Scrabble, you'd better read a book or two. We meet them where they are and start conversations about the things they are watching, seeing. We do our job and when that balance happens, we can stop seeing a bunch of anti social, rude, disconnected teenagers.

I cringe and then I get sad every time I see and hear someone from my generation negate and vilify the world we have offered up for our kids. It's in an incredibly shocking slap in the face to them, to us!

Smartphones are not making our children rude little introverts. The internet is not robbing away childhoods right before our very eyes. With even the slightest shift of gaze, it's obvious the exact opposite is happening.

Technology is a gift, an effect of our brain's continuing evolution that has had overwhelming positive affects on our world. Why, when it comes to our kids do we hold it, them hostage?

1 comment:

George Mann said...

Nice read, exudes a level of confidence in the job you are doing in raising your children. No need to raise your voice, just quietly express your position and the results you are seeing to date. You get out of the project in proportion to what you put in. Nothing magical happens, you recognize the likes and dislikes and nurture the heart, expand the horizons as their interests grow. We all have fears for our children but if they have an inkling as to how to figure things out, if they know how to use the resources around them they can then navigate their world and greet, not just meet, their fears with confidence.