Parenting in the Age of Technology

Column Day. Today I talk about the joys and challenges of raising kids in the digital age. You can read it here.

I understand why many parents worry about kids and computers. Cyber-bullying is a hot topic right now in Nova Scotia. The Internet is one more area where you gradually lose control of your kids.  But I think it’s like anything else: you just prepare them as best you can, and try not to let fear rule the way you do things.

I think, too, that we’re sometimes conditioned to think new+fancy = bad, while old-school = good. This isn’t always true. A fellow Herald columnist had a very valid comment last week on a study that suggested watching fast-paced TV shows like SpongeBob makes it harder for kids to focus. (Personally, I think the study was hugely flawed: they showed kids nine minutes of an 11-minute SpongeBob episode and then asked them to do other tasks. No wonder the kids were distracted — they were probably wondering what happened in those last two minutes!)

Anyhow, the point Dominik Diamond made was this: there are some great TV shows out there, and some really terrible books. It’s easy to make assumptions in the way we teach and raise our kids, but with apologies to Marshall McLuhan, the medium isn’t really as important as the message.

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One response to “Parenting in the Age of Technology

  1. Good column and blog post.

    My husband and I grew up on TV, video games and computers so we’ve always been .fairly comfortable with them in the house. At this very moment my 13 yo daughter is on the Xbox 360 and my 9 yo son is playing the Wii so yeah, we don’t think technology is bad.

    I think the real danger comes in when kids have a huge vacuum of interests, self-knowledge and/or family time that those things are used to try and fill. My kids will be kicked off shortly for a game of 1 hour Monopoly before quiet time and during quiet time my son will be playing Lego and my daughter will be reading The Illiad. There’s no vacuum that needs filing with them.

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