High Tech, Low Tech, NO TECH
Conversations in real Life
This past weekend I went to dinner with a friend. As we were waiting to be seated, I noticed a family of four also waiting. A Father, Mother, and 2 Daughters ages 3 and 4 (about). The Mother and Father scrolled aimlessly through their phones, while the Daughters watched an ipad. The only communication I witnessed was the older Daughter said, “Mom” and pointed to the ipad and the Mother said a one word reply.
Later that same evening, a woman and an early teenage girl sat at a table near us. Before even looking at a menu, the teenager is looking at her phone. She continues to look at her phone while the woman (maybe her mom), figures out what she wants and then stares into space. Not until the waiter comes does the girl quickly look at her menu and orders food and then, goes right back on her phone.
Why did these people come out to dinner?
This made me think of my students and why so many of them have a hard time expressing their thoughts and paying attention and why I have confiscated so many phones in the classroom. When they leave school, do my students ever put down their phones?
I have 2 simple things that parents can do to help children be less addicted to technology.
1. Make dinner a NO TECH Zone
If you are not waiting for an important call, put the phone away. Games, tablets, and phones should be turned off and put away. Children develop vocabulary through conversations and if everyone is just staring into their phones, what vocabulary are they learning? Teenagers need to begin preparing for life without their parents and learning conversation skills is extremely important. If you really have nothing to talk about and you are all just staring at each other, play 20 questions, make up a story together, ask trivia questions…Just be creative.
Plus, it’s just plain rude to be on a phone at dinner. Even if there are no children present, you should still be present for whoever you are with. That means no scrolling, texting, or clicking. It’s only an hour. It can wait.
2. No internet for children at night
This sounds simple, but if your children have their own phones, laptops, video games systems, or tablets, they will be accessing the internet long past the time when you are fast asleep.
Have your children (this includes Teens) turn in their technology after 8 or 9pm (or earlier if they are young). Yes, turn it in. Your child will text and surf the internet if they have their phone in their room at night. What kind of text do you think 13 year olds send at midnight? I have many of my former students as FB friends and believe me, the ones that are on the internet late night are always talking about being bored, asking anyone to text them or ovoo them (video chat). Asking if anyone if they thinks they are cute, and posting sexy pictures of them laying in bed.
Have a spot for laptops, phones, tablets… to be stored in the evening. Unless your child is writing a term paper, there is no need to be on the internet in the late evening. The internet is a breeding ground for porn, bullying and sexual predators. Phones, tablets, and video games all give your child unlimited access to the internet.
Yes, I am trying to scare you. Parents should be scared and take precautions. Instead, play board games or have them get prepared for the next day, or have them read a book.. I mean read a real book, not one that your child reads on a tablet. That tablet may have books, but it also has the internet. Unless, you use an old school book only e-reader or have some way to block the internet, they will be fine with an real book. Plus books are free from the library.
Remember technology is a privilege, not a right. It is a super highway full of information and social interactions, but no one needs access to all that information or social interactions 24 hours a day. You may in fact be more active and socialize with “real” people if you put it away sometimes.