Sep 14 2014
I limit online time. Not for me, for my children. Apparently I’m among a fairly prestigious group of people who do so, since many of the C-level execs in Silicon Valley also limit their children’s time with tech. Though it looks like many of them are even stricter than I am about how much time the children get to interact with their computers.
We’ve always limited the amount of time our children can spend on the computer. We found from an early age, they’d spend every waking moment playing games and surfing the internet if they could. I wonder who they’re using as their role model? When they got their first computer, one I’d rebuilt from parts of several of my older computers, we allowed them to have it in their room. We found out quickly that was a mistake, as our youngest had taken to watching videos that contained language we didn’t want him using. Ever. Since then the computers have been in the computers have been in a common area where we could look over their shoulders whenever we wanted.
We have hard limits for when they’re allowed on the computer, which are probably not as strict as many of the parents mentioned in the times article. The children often try to get around these limits by grabbing their iPhones or a tablet, but it’s made clear that these also count as time online and aren’t allowed. We have hundreds of books, scattered around the house, and reading is always encouraged, no matter the time of day. Now if we could only teach the youngest how to treat books with proper respect.
One thing we’re looking at changing is their use of social media. Neither of the children have any social media accounts at all. It’s not just that we don’t want them to have Facebook or Twitter accounts, it’s also that they’ve heard me talk about social media so much that they have decided on their own that it’s not worth it to have them. They do have Skype accounts for keeping in touch with their friends back in the States and a few forum accounts, but these aren’t really ‘social media’ as I think of it, though maybe I’m wrong.
This might change in the near future, as our older has started expressing some curiosity towards social media and would like to experiment some. As long as he understands his parents will be following him and watching who he interacts with, at least at first, I think we can allow him to try it. I don’t want him to be like the guy who keeps a case of soda in his room because his parents never let him have it as a kid. Instead we’ll let our children learn in a relatively safe environment, or at least one where we can intervene if we need to.