The Kid-Tech Conundrum

My hubby and I just got home (about 10 minutes ago) from a trip to North Carolina to visit his sister and her family. I got to love on my beautiful nieces and enjoy the amazing scenery of NC.

I couldn’t resist sharing a picture of myself with these two little cuties!

So the beautiful 4 year old is very inquisitive and quite brilliant (I’m completely unbiased, of course). She saw me snapping some pictures with my iPhone and she wanted to give it a shot. She caught on immediately and proceeded to take about 100 pictures. Then she wanted to know what else the phone could do, so I showed her how to navigate it and showed her how to find the few games I have. She was completely hooked and played on it until the battery ran down. That night, I sent out a tweet asking for game suggestions for kids. I got some great responses (how did I function before my PLN and Twitter??) and downloaded several. Being the fun aunt, I was able to spoil her and let her have lots of Fruit Ninja game time. And I was completely and utterly amazed at the speed with which she picked up on mastering iPhone use. The love that she quickly formed for the iPhone really got me thinking…

I completely believe in finding a healthy balance with technology and your life. Do I actually put this into practice? Not really. Technology is one of my passions and I let it have more than its fair share of my waking hours. However, I (usually) know when to stop, unplug, and spend time with loved ones and doing non-techie things that I love. All in all, it’s my responsibility as an adult to be a good steward of my time and manage my technology usage accordingly. I’m not a parent, so at this point in my life I have influence with my students and their tech usage but I am not wholly responsible for a child. Just a few days ago on the plane ride to NC, I was behind parents who brought their two children on a flight with no form of entertainment. My immediate thought was, “If I have a child, we will have an iPad for times such as this.” It’s so much fun to see what kids can do with technology, so how could giving them an iPad NOT be a good thing? After seeing how absorbed my niece became with the iPhone, though, I’m having to think about this in a different way.

First, how do we help our own kids (or help other parents help their own kids) learn to be balanced in the amount of tech time they have? We all know kids who are obsessed with/addicted to video games, the internet, texting, etc. Everything else in life becomes secondary. Obviously, allotting certain amounts of time for tech use and time for non-tech activities is a must. But how do you get them to see the importance of unplugging and enjoying other activities?

Second, how do we as educators teach technology within a context of balance? Is it one of our responsibilities? Is it something we can/should realistically incorporate into our lessons and activities?

This is something that I really haven’t given much thought to before, but I can see it becoming a major issue as time goes on and technology imbeds itself into our lives even more. So what are your thoughts on this? Please share!

AND tomorrow I should be able to get back into my library after nearly 3 months of renovations. If you have any shelf elves or magic library dust, please overnight that to me — I’ll need all the help I can get with a week to move back into the library before school starts!

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