“Time to turn off the iPad. Put away the smartphone. And just enjoy being where you are when with your FAMILY!”
Christmas is a time of reflection.
A chance to look back at the year with all the good times shared with family and friends…
….finishing in a flurry of parties, family ‘get togethers’, and large quantities of alcohol and food.
Just before you batten down the hatches for the Big Day, you rush to the shops to grab the latest ‘must have’ toy for your kids. (Because you only just received Santa’s list!).
Whilst shopping, the spirit of nostalgia continues, and I cast my mind back (not to the dawn of time, but not far off!) to when I was a child and what it meant to have the latest gadget.
Essentially it was all about fitting in.
Boxing Day was the day all the kids in my neighbourhood gathered in the street to show off their latest chart-topping toys. (The ones our poor parents moved heaven and earth to get).
Trailing round the shops, I see many of these toys still fill the shelves. (They’ve stood the test of time – except for Lola Balls – which doesn’t surprise me).
I feel the need to linger slightly longer around these toys, as if in some way making my last salute to a time almost forgotten.
A time when using your imagination to arrange a tea party for Barbie and Ken, or arguing with your mates as to who was going to play ‘Splinter‘ (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) was the norm.
The sad truth is, I realised these games and toys no longer enjoy the appeal they once did.
Kids Christmas lists have been overtaken by one thing – Tech!!
Today, your child hopes Santa will deliver the latest iPhone, iPad, Tablet, or Gaming console.
And these ‘gifts’ are not cheap! So what do you do as a parent?
Do you give in, telling yourself your child will never be able to progress in life if they don’t have a tablet or smartphone, like the kids next door…
…or do you stand your ground desperately trying to force your childhood on to your children?
In reality – you give in (you have to). We live in the age of technology.
Just because it wasn’t around when we were kids, doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have wanted it, if it was available.
Times change – you have to move with them – for the sake of your kids.
But, there is a very big BUT…
You are now faced with a whole set of new problems.
Whole weekends pass without ever seeing your kids emerge from their bedrooms as they are immersed in the virtual world of Minecraft. (Building entire cities without ever donning a hard hat!).
Girls ‘mime music videos’ and post them on YouTube…
Entire conversations and meals with no eye contact as your child is glued to their screen. (The screen is more important – and engaging – remember?).
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Kids and technology, how do you manage a generation lost to Tech?
My parenting style is entirely credited to my parents, but I have nothing to go on when it comes to managing tech addiction.
Every parent wants their child to get lots of fresh air and play with their friends. (You want them to develop their social skills).
I want my kids to learn to be self-sufficient, like taking responsibility for feeding the dog or learning how to wash up. I don’t want it to come as a complete surprise when they do have to do it for themselves.
What do you do?
You cobble together a plan. One consisting of dishing out chores and confiscating devices, with the romantic and naïve illusion you will attain the family life you have always dreamed of.
Once again, reality pops up and slaps you in the face as your plan of attack is not received well…
…and daily battles followed by constant nagging ensue.
‘If you can’t beat them, don’t give up!’
Time is precious.
As we race through life (and Christmas), family time should be just that – time spent with the family and not losing your kids to a virtual one.
I work, so making cookies with my kids is a pleasure of mine, or taking the dog for a walk together as a family.
I want my kids to remember their childhood with the fondness I do of mine. I don’t want them to look back and regret ever being given an Xbox One or an iPhone, or wishing they had spent more time with their Mum and Dad.
So, 2017 will be the year I make more time for my family with the determination to beat the Tech monster away!
What’s your New Years Resolution? And will it feature Tech?
Go ahead and share your resolutions with the community below.