• michelle

The best gift of all?

Updated: Dec 27, 2018

With 10’s of millions of new electronic devices sold each quarter, we expect that the Holiday 2018 numbers will not disappoint. And typically, Christmas Day excitement doesn’t end on the 25th, sales of technology continues on with Boxing Day sales for those looking for a technology bargain or picking up that one gift that Santa left off his list ;)

On a personal note, Santa spoiled our household with an iPad upgrade, a new computer and DJ-BOT, a programmable Bluetooth speaker for my youngest daughter. She has already been busy teaching it new dance moves through basic coding.

But, even as I sit and watch my girls play an excited dice game of Left-Center-Right with their grandparents, I can’t help but start thinking about how my husband and I are going to manage technology in our home in 2019.

With our kids now reaching an age where technology is a staple to support school work, play music to practice their dance choreography and recall music lessons or just texting and Facetiming friends and family – new discussions are starting about how they will need to use their own judgement to make good decisions about technology usage.

As a treat to myself, I have spent Boxing Day curled up by the fire reading Digital Kids, How to Balance Screen Time, and Why it Matters by Martin L. Kutscher, MD. Like Dr. Kutscher, I am not against technology - it is an important and integral part of our children’s lives. What his compilation of research studies provides is understanding and context on what to be concerned with and what not to be, and some healthy choices on how to manage.

“Technology by itself is neither good nor bad. Rather… … the uses and limits of technology are what determine whether it has a good or bad effect on society.”

Dr. Kutscher goes on to say that “It is not our children’s fault if we, their parents and teachers, have failed to teach them how to balance screen-time use. But, then again, we are the first generation to have to teach this stuff.”

I often have discussions with my young kids about the impacts of screen time, how the brain works differently when stimulated and when let to be idle (i.e. when they are bored) and how intense games and media seem to affect their moods when they are done. As much as I still have full-out battles over devices, at the same time – my kids have been heard to say ‘Mom, my brain is clearer today – I wasn’t on my iPad’.

Helping them recognize when they need a break from technology is the most important gift I hope to give them in this coming year, but that includes making sure I learn how to do it myself and become a positive role model for them.

So on that note, we will sign off for the rest of this year – enjoying some well deserved family time and even hit the slopes with the goal of getting lots of fresh air and laughs, mostly at my expense as I once again attempt to learn how to snowboard while my kids ride circles around me!

Happy New Year 2019!

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