Saturday, January 25, 2014

Technology Takeover - How it helps and hinders your home, your family, your children

I have been seeing a lot of social media memes or someecards lately talking about "kids these days" and all the technology that they are inundated with. (That statement just made me feel super old, for some reason.) Anyway, this is a real issue, people! Our kids are learning how to play with a tablet before they learn how to stack blocks. Some kiddos spend so much time in front of a screen of some sort that they don't know how to play and, more disturbingly so, don't want to. Being told to go play outside is viewed as some sort of punishment or an unwelcome interlude to whatever technology gadgets they have tempting them to be immobile inside the comfort of their own home. 

But, this technology thing.... it's complex. It's not just the kids that are inundated with technology, it's EVERYONE. I know this comes to no shock to you, as you read this from your computer, iPad, or iPhone. I have spent the better part of today looking at my phone or a computer screen. Y'all... this isn't good for us!!!! 

I am an 80's baby, so my generation and one's below me can proudly say that we played outside, used our imaginations, and were even sometimes (brace yourselves) BORED. We scoff at kids these days who just flat out don't get it. You tell Tommy he has to turn off the TV and go outside, and it almost resembles a punishment. We don't understand why children these days don't have childhoods more like ours were. 

Well, I have an eye opener for you (or maybe it's not) - OUR parents weren't looking on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram half the day. Maybe all of these kiddos who don't play like we played when we were little are taking a cue from us, as we sit in the other room on our iPhones or watching TV.

I know that I'm guilty of this. 

Am I the only one? I sure hope I'm not. 

I have hesitated on writing on this topic of technology for awhile. I'm extremely opinionated about the negative affects that technology has on the development of our children. I'm speaking on this subject from the point of view of a speech-language pathologist, not a mother. So, please understand me when I say-- I haven't been there, done that with Beulah yet. However, I foresee an issue, and I don't want to see Beulah go down the path of technology-dependence that I see so many other people, children and adults alike suffering from. 

I'm making it my mission to tackle my personal issues with technology before it becomes an issue with Beulah. What issues with technology do you have, Tara? You may ask. Well, where do I begin?

I check my phone first thing when I wake up, and last thing when I go to bed. 

I find myself obsessively checking my Facebook and Instagram, often before the news feed has even had time to get anything new on the feed.

Am I the only one? I sure HOPE I'm not. 

The few friends I have who aren't on social media have been left out of big events and announcements in my life at times, because I have forgotten to contact them personally to have an actual conversation. 

I overshare on Facebook. I post often. Pictures, feelings, whatever. I feel myself being annoying about it. And I do it anyway. 

I take video and pictures of my baby about a million times a day. That is a slight exaggeration, but it's alot. and while this isn't a bad thing, sometimes I feel like I'm not living in the moment as much as I'm worried about capturing the moment.... and sharing it. With 600+ of my closest friends. 

My hobbies of reading, crafting and writing come second to my favorite hobby of all. Surfing the internet for whatever. The internet (social media, blogs, websites, shopping, AMAZON) is my new favorite reading material. 

Sometimes I feel so bored with the internet, but I still feel drawn to it. 

Am I the only one???? I sure hope I'm not.

If given the choice, would I rather sit inside and watch HGTV home makeover shows, or go play outside. More times than not, my answer will be HGTV baby! or Food Network. Or the Travel channel. 

I know I'm not the only one. I see videos created documenting this, people talking about their issues with technology. 

I'm saying this: if we expect our kids to be active, imaginative and playful, we need to be the ones to teach them from example. Now, that being said, I also think that parents and children are not equal. We do not need to abide by all the rules and guidelines that we set forth for our children. Because after all, we are the adults, and we are the boss, and if we were equal, we could go play outside all day instead of going to a job all day or cooking, cleaning and making dinner. But we do need to set the example. We don't want to be complete hypocrites.

As I stated, this is a personal journey for me. I feel like technology is slowly taking over our home, our families, our children, our lives. And I just don't like it. So what do I do about it? Well, that's what I'm going to spend some time figuring out and writing about here and there in the weeks and months to come. 

I hope you will think about how technology plays a role in your life. Are you okay with it? If not, what are you willing to do to make a change?

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