Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The need to unplug

I'm not a gadget person. I have a basic cell phone that I use as an alarm clock and to make and receive phone calls and send an occasional text message. It is Internet ready, but I don't subscribe to the service. Why? 1) It's a waste of money and 2) There is nothing so important online that I need to be able to access it 24/7. When I need to go online, I open up my laptop. If my laptop's not handy ... oh well.

I don't like seeing people at restaurants texting away or surfing the web while their sitting across the booth from other people. If they're alone, fine. But I find it rude to neglect the human being sitting there in lieu of some kind of electronic communication. Then again, I was never the mom that let her kids sit in restaurants playing with their Gameboys, either. When the family was out to eat together, we talked to each other. Kids included. And don't even get me started on kids playing any kind of video games or texting while at church! Seriously?!

And I don't get the whole DVD setups in vehicles, either. Call me old-fashioned, but I always enjoyed long car rides with my kids. It was a good time to talk, play games, sing silly songs, etc. If your kids can't handle the ride home from school or to the grocery store without some kind of electronic entertainment, I feel sorry for them. Really, I do.

Okay, now that I've stepped on a bunch of toes and come across as a bit self-righteous, I hope you'll forgive me and consider what I'm saying anyway. Our kids don't need more gadgets ... they need more conversations. Face-to-face. And, just because "every other kid has a cell phone" doesn't mean you have to give in and get your youngsters one. Remember, you're supposed to be a parent, and parents don't always make popular decisions ... nor should they.

Do our kids need to keep up with the electronic world they've been born into? Perhaps. But don't lose any sleep over worrying about them falling behind if they don't have their own Kindle Fire or iPad by the time they're 8. They'll survive ... and catch up with their peers when you, as a parent, decide they're responsible enough or otherwise ready to have such things.

I really feel for parents of young kids today. Your choices are so much more complicated then they were when I was raising kids. But that doesn't change the bottom line. You're mom (or dad) and you get to set the rules. It will be their turn when they have kids of their own.

So, grab some kids books or magazines and sit down and read to your little ones. Or pull out Candyland or Monopoly (the board games, not the electronic ones!) and have an all day tournament. Head outside and throw an old-fashioned football around. Leave your cell phone at home, go out and take a walk. Go to the park and ride the swings. Build a snowman. Let your kids (and your spouse) know that nothing is more important to you than family. The message gets a bit muddied when you're reaching for your phone during family time. Turn it off. The rest of the world can, and should, wait. You're tied up in a meeting ... the really important kind.

Old-fashioned and loving it,


No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog