A Blessing or a Curse?

I was browsing over on Pinterest the other day (I know, so unlike me) when I came across this quote…

‘I am so thankful I had a childhood before technology took over.’

I paused. I thought. I mean, yes, I get it, I understand the sentiment behind it. But it turns out that I don’t agree with it, which kind of surprised me.

I want my kids to have a childhood full of adventures, running free outside, creating their own imaginary worlds, losing themselves in books, gardening, crafting, painting, playing with trains and Lego – all the usual suspects and the kind of things that I got up to as a girl. I don’t want it to be dominated by TV, Kindles, PlayStations, mobile phones and the like. They need to move, explore and think. They need to be children.

But then, I watched my 5 year old daughter earlier today learning all about dinosaurs on her Kindle. The app was teaching her the names, how big they were, how they lived. It then prompted a conversation about them between us. Technology played a part, teaching and educating, and then parenting did the rest.

My children have the privilege of growing up in an environment where their seemingly never-ending curiosities can be satisfied, where mums still don’t have all of the answers but they’re likely to have a phone that does. And though they’re not old enough yet, I know I’ll feel happier than my mum must have done the first time she let me out into the world alone, as they’ll be able to call me when they want me. I’ll be able to check they’re safe. The internet and phones can help us, though yes, there’ll be caution discussed and advised when the these things come into play for them.

Technology should be there to make our lives easier, it should be used at our convenience. We shouldn’t be a slave to it, it should be serving us. Which can be the tricky bit.

So there’s the job for me, right there. And it is a tough one. Life is pretty easy if I just turn on the TV and get on with my chores and work, letting it babysit my children. I could do that, and of course at times I do, and for that, I’m grateful. But my challenge is to utilise the good in technology and get the balance right for my kids. They can learn from it, use it, and then I need them to put it aside to go and play and create again. Not an easy task when we’re surrounded by gadgets and gizmos that entertain and draw little ones like moths to a flame, but then most things that are worth doing aren’t easy.

There’s also the technology that helps me as a parent. With today’s technology, my housework takes less time thanks to the dishwasher, washing machine, steam mop, hoover and so on, so I’ve more time to actually spend with the kids. And thanks to technology I am actually here at home with the children – oh, to explain how far technology has come and my blogging and social media world to teen me!

I don’t feel we should be bemoaning technology, I think as parents it’s our job to work out how to effectively utilise it, monitor it, and keep that good old fashioned childhood fun going. I know that as my children get older, this will get tougher and tougher to do, so I’m ready for the fight.

What do you think? Is technology a blessing or a curse?

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19 thoughts on “A Blessing or a Curse?”

  1. For me it’s a blessing.Over the last few years my kids have enjoyed a better life because of the internet, connecting with other people who enjoy reading, outside play, gardening and crafts.But it also has become a curse.My kids didn’t get a PS3 until Christmas, from their dad.Not my first choice of toy and it has not been a happy experience.With only two controllers and 3 kids, there is always one child left out and I hate the squabbling.Determined to bring back out family time, I’ve started buying tabletop games.More geekier than traditional board games, I’ve ignited a flame within them.Every night we now play together, no arguments, no crying and no stress.If I hadn’t done something, the PS3 would have become a monster.Although it’s only ever been played at weekends, it has started to loose it’s appeal.

    1. I can see how these things can escalate, especially when they’re exciting and new, too. Sounds like you’ve got the balance back now, though, and I do love a family games night.

  2. Surely it’s just a balance… it’s fab to have all the iPads and tech toys and aids in the world, but nothing beats a day at the beach with a plastic bucket right… 🙂 x

  3. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that I’m totally with you on this. It’s all about finding the right balance-technology opens up so many more opportunities than I ever had and for that I’m very appreciative. But yes, we have had arguments over screen time and probably will continue to do so as the children get older. However, we all love nothing more than being outside together and then coming home and sharing our photo’s of the day’s adventures 🙂 x

    1. I think that sounds just about right and normal. As long as my kids still get up adn take an interest in the actual world around them, not just the virtual one, we’re doing OK!

  4. Absolutely a blessing! We’re very much of the opinion that you’ve got to embrance technology. When looking around schools for our little bear, one of the members of staff conducting the tour said words similar to “technology – ugh!”. To which alarm bells rang, very very loud. What sort of message is that to send to the pupils and parents, by an ‘ambassador’ of the school. No, we embrace technology here and like Boo, our bear loves some of the apps. She can swipe and tap with the best of them. Like you, my (much!) younger self would have been confused at wifi and social media!…

  5. I think that so long as the technology is used in moderation, then it is a blessing. With many of my children’s family living abroad, it has enabled them (and me) to keep in touch with their Grandma, uncle, aunt and cousins regularly which is an added bonus….. 🙂

    1. Yes, that’s it exactly. We have the balance here now, just hoping we can continue to do so as they grow up.

  6. I think it can be both, in moderation and used in the right way it is fantastic, but I think there is also a temptation to let it take over. Boo has just started to take notice of the TV and loves to watch when songs are on, which is great because, a – I can’t sing and b – she gets to have a bit of a dance. When I need to get stuff done the TV is great to give me 5 mins to dry the dishes etc. But I do worry about how much, or how little is too much. I think though that when Boo gets older like you say technology is going to be a great aid to learning =)

    1. When my daughter first ‘discovered’ TV she loved it, which worried me a bit, but now at 5 she can take it or leave it, and would also prefer to be ‘doing’ something, so I’m relaxed about that now.

  7. Very well put lovely. I think technology can indeed be a blessing and I have written before how I think it affects parenting. Things like social media and the obsession with selfies a lot of teens have worry me a little, but who knows what these will be like when our kids are older! Hopefully as parents we will be able to guide them through it. Xx

  8. I totally agree Jocelyn. I often hear people saying how we’d be so much better off (or our children would be) if we didn’t have internet or so many devices. I couldn’t disagree more! The world of writing was opened up to me because of the Kindle, I am able to write every day because of my computer and I can communicate with people that lives hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles away!

    We can’t become slaves to our own technology, we just need to teach our children that there’s a time and a place for the devices. My eldest is 10 years old and he has just got a phone. He doesn’t really know how to use it and the majority of his friends don’t have a phone yet so he doesn’t use it much. I know the battles are coming but I have already taught both my boys they don’t use screens first thing in the morning and just before they go to bed. It’s important to me that they get time to wind down.

    I would never want to be without technology but I do restrict the amount of screen time my boys have. Just as with blogging, it’s all about balance.

    Great post that I’m sure will cause lots of discussion. xx

  9. I think it all depends on whose hands it’s in. You’ve struck a balance, and that is something I do too – we have limits on use and things to focus on beyond the screens. Technology is a toll and we use it as such. But there are people who struggle to find that balance, or don’t look for it at all, and that is when it eats into childhood.

    1. Yes, I think you’re quite right. You need your parents to help you find the right way to use it, to still have that great childhood. Good point.

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