Back when Isaac was younger, he showed no interest in what videos can be played on the ipad and his attention span on things was short. Hence, it was easy to keep the tablets/phones out of his reach. We’d also remind our parents not to show him videos on their phones because we were afraid that he’d become addicted to gadgets when he got older. However, in this age of technology, we finally gave in to exposing our child to the use of the ipad. Why? The main reason has got to be because everyone around him is using it. We, as adults are constantly on the phone / ipad / laptop most of the time. Be it work related or not, our kid sees us using some form of technology when he is with us. As he starts to get more curious at his age, how is it fair for us to tell him ‘no’ if he wants to see what we are doing. I remember it actually started with FaceTime. He realised he could still see his gramps or aunt even though they are not at the same place. It was only later on that he got more curious by what his cousins and friends were watching on the screens all the time. Am i guilty about starting him on the use of ipad? No. Here’s why:
- I believe kids learn faster when they are having fun. We are careful about what he watches on the screen. I must say I am a huge fan of the YT Kids app. I can personalize my settings on the app like turning off the ‘Search’ function so it restricts the experience to a limited set of videos. The content that my kid is allowed to watch are suitable for toddlers of pre-school age. Best part of all, I can even set the timer to how long he is allowed to be watching the videos. In fact, he has learnt the words like ‘excavator’,’fire truck’ and ‘garbage truck’ from the videos. We are cool with him watching the videos as long as we are around (next to him) when he is watching them. Ooh yes, how can i even forget to mention how much he loves the Sesame Street?
- Many people think that by giving kids the tablets, it will eventually replace the bond between the parent and child because more time is spent on the device. To which, I think it is not entirely true. That bond is only replaced if parents neglect their kids by letting them watch videos all day long. I’d take the time to sit next to my little one when he is watching and ask him questions like “what is that in the fire truck?” and he’d tell me what he thinks. From that, I actually learn what he is thinking, or his imagination of what is in the fire truck. After that, he’d tell me he aspires to be a fireman or a police when he grows up. Communicating with him is key. Bond is not broken by the gadgets. It is broken by what people fail to do. Quite honestly, I think watching the videos with him is actually bonding time for us.
- I get to steal abit of ME time when he is kept occupied (of cause not all the time we’d occupy him with the ipad). I get to take a slightly longer shower, we get to eat in peace, we get to complete watching a movie. Sometimes parents just need a break.
That being said, we limit the time he is on the videos and try to balance it with other activities. When he asks for the ipad, we’d encourage him to play with his toys or read books with us. He usually co-operates knowing there are other fun stuff to do other than staying home to watch videos. Going outdoors usually does the trick.
At the end of the day, technology is here to stay. I am just going to take a step back from all our parenting book of rules and embrace it. 🙂