“And they lived happily ever after. The End.” The reassuring sound of my mothers voice is one of my favorite memories from childhood. With technological advances these days, more children are possibly hearing these words on an audio recorded computer than on their parents lap. Kids more and more are leaving their favorite books on the shelf. Sitting in front of a computer, video game, or cell phone is becoming increasingly popular. This idea is demonstrated by a study that shows many kids excel at high-tech skills more quickly than standard life skills, such as tying their shoes or riding a bike.
The technological craze continues throughout the day, not just at home. Back in the day, we were all faced with distractions at school, daydreaming of when recess will start or watching the class clown make us laugh. But Generation Z has a whole different set of distractions to avoid. They have never known life without the intranet, computers, and mobile phones. The constant dilemma in their heads is how often to check their cell phone, answer or send a text, keep their Facebook status updated, and refrain from giving in to the bombarding amount of time-attractive options on the intranet.
So, what to do? Like so many resources in parenting, there are pros and cons and a variety of opinions surrounding the use of technology with our children. When figuring out how to balance technology time, here’s something to think about. Kids today spend an average of seven hours per day using technology-related devices (television, computer, phone, etc) and less than ten minutes outside in unstructured outdoor play time.
So, obviously, one of the best ways to balance media and technology time is to send kids out to play. Spending time outdoors makes kids grow and build muscles, enhances their imagination, and, don’t forget that getting dirty builds character. Encourage a reward system where kids can earn technology time after they play, run outside, do chores, and read. So, good luck with whatever decision you make.
Oh yeah, we almost forgot! When it comes to teaching basic life skills and tying shoes, everyone at Zarbee’s uses the bunny ears technique!