As a lot of you already know, the Pixel Bandits house is a pretty tight family unit. We are lucky that Bandits and Nymph agree on most parenting decisions and one of those is about young people and technology.
Everywhere I look (and I’ve seen it again this morning) people berate technology, not just in regards to children but even with adults, telling us we should spend more time “in the real world” than on devices or watching television etc. People are lambasted (online, never in person) for being on their phone and somehow being antisocial when they should really be sat in awkward silence on the tube and not knowing where to look.
In many cases, the people being described as “anti-social” or “zombies” are not just staring blankly at a screen. Mobile technology has come a long way since the Nikia 5110 which I used to have. No longer are we relegated to Calls, Messages, and Snake, we now have phones which connect to the internet and to quote David Gorman, “the internet contains everything in the whole wide world ever”.
It seems, technology is seen as a bad thing, when in reality these devices people are looking at are connecting them not just to the internet, but to friends around the world, loved ones who have moved to another country, their best friend’s facebook where she’s just announced the birth of her little baby girl. With the software available on devices these days, even without jail-breaking them, there are countless things people could be doing. Playing a mobile game, sending work e-mails, even going so far as to read a book.
Strange though how people who are reading a book on public transport don’t get the same leveled at them. You won’t find tweets or posts saying that we’re becoming a zombie nation because everybody has their nose buried in a book. You won’t find the same regarding children who are “constantly reading their book” yet if you let your little one use a device many will label you a bad or lazy parent.
We let our little boy watch TV. We have bought him his own mini kid’s tablet. And he loves them. He also loves pretending to be a dinosaur, playing with his doll’s house, pretending Luke Skywalker is living in a house with the crew from fireman Sam, and driving his cars and trains around the floor, but he does love his tablet.
His tablet, and TV shows, love him back. They don’t speak down to him, they teach him, tell him stories, and when he gets it wrong they don’t shout at him, or tell him he’s stupid. As adults we rarely go for a few hours without interacting with technology ourselves, even in the workplace we’re using laptops, or PCs, our till systems are touchscreens, our phones are smart and even the cars that we use to get there can have it all built in, so why should we deny our children these devices when they are at a formative age, where they can learn and take all this in.
Everything in moderation, as is the golden rule, but don’t take a resource to learn away from your children, or yourself