First let me say, Bill and I own plenty of technology and don’t really understand or know how to use most of it. We have smart phones, IPads, IPods, laptops, and fancy things on our television but barely tap into the depth of their capability. I’m sure the computer in my car could get us to the moon – and back – but I’m still surprised when my car channels the voice of the person on the other end of my phone call. And just who is Siri?
As far as apps on our tech devices, we use and appreciate the apps that are purposeful, but I’m sure we are still quite lacking. Games, not so much, ever. So this new discovery my hubby made over the holidays is a whole new thing. The game Bill started playing, that shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, seems to have a lot of value. It’s interactive, globally interactive, has great visuals and involves the building of community, relationships and a great deal of strategic thinking. At the same time, we can see this kind of game involvement includes some risk. A risk of being more involved in fantasy than reality, in building cyber relationships at the expense of real ones and of lessening time spent involved in one’s own life.
Now think of your kids. If it’s that easy for us as adults to be drawn in, think about 6, 8 and 10 year olds. Think about our teenagers!! There are huge red flags here. Studies have clearly shown that while there are benefits to technology and video, too much screen time can hinder a child’s personal development, social interaction and the development of social and relationship skills. Watching is also NOT doing and too much watching can severely limit the development of an overwhelming number of critical learning skills.
It’s great to expose children to technology that includes exciting, age appropriate visuals, online adventures and ideas that stretch the imagination. But we must be sure we turn things off and encourage our kids to create their own adventures, make their own fun, live their own lives and be their own people.