We can not deny that we are full force into the electronic age. We can not avoid it, nor should we, in my opinion. Currently,it would be quite unusual to see a child that does not know what to do with an iPad or a computer, so we might as well embrace the technology.
I am still amazed each time I see a toddler navigate an iPad and successfully play a game without the aid of an adult.
Is this a bad thing? I think not, if guidelines are clear and appropriate. It could, in fact, be brain building. But for it to be brain building, many lines in the sand have got to be made and consequences need to happen if these lines are crossed, consistently.
Parents often ask me what is appropriate? How much time should be allowed? These are all individual questions that need to be thought about. Go back to my post on visualizing your child's future. Really ponder what you wish your future child/adult to be like. Visualize in your mind how do you see them acting. Will they be self conscious or have confidence? What values will they have? Will they be kind and considerate? What friends will they have? Will they be madly in love and cherish their spouse? Will they have adventure?
Write your thoughts down and visit your notes daily.
This will change YOUR brain to help you make decisions all day everyday that consistently align with your goals consciously and subconsciously. You are less likely to run off the rails and give in to your child's whims. If given a choice, most children will choose to play games all day and not give their own future a thought. So, you must do it for them.
Of course you can not choose their future for them, but you can certainly guide them to learn the important life lessons that will lead them to strive for happiness, joy, adventure, good honest friends, true passionate love, compassion, gratitude, and financial freedom.
So then, back to our question of what is appropriate.
It goes without saying that all devices should have a passcode that you can get into. Not only that, but have it so your child has to ask you for the download passcode for each download. I get complaints that parents don't have time or that it is tedious to check out each new app or game, but so is counselling a distraught self-conscious non-motivated child or teen for years later, and perhaps even into adulthood. You have to put your time in now, or you will be forced to put your time in later. (You signed up for it when you had a child).
When checking each game, see if the game aligns with your future envisioned child.
There are many wonderful, fun, and interesting games that will have a positive effect on a growing brain allowing that future child to shine. Killing prostitutes and car jacking are obviously not part of a game that will have any positive outcomes, even if your child says "all the other kids are playing it". They may very well be playing it, but you are not that lazy parent if you are reading this blog. You are a parent that wants the very best for your child, and are willing to do what it takes even if it is not the easiest at the time. You, and your child, will be glad you did.
Friend your teenagers on facebook. Know what they are up to on all social medias. Don't allow social secrecy until they move out.
Your roof, your rules.
How much time is appropriate? It will vary by day. Ask has your child made their bed? Tidied their room? Completed their homework satisfactorily? Helped with dinner and dishes? Have they read a book? Exercised? All these things should definitely come before computer games.
Games are a privilege, not a birth right.
Make sure your child knows that. Also, games should be played in an area where you could be at any moment, and not in their room with the door closed. This invites trouble.
All in all, electronics can be a wonderful benefit to a growing brain, when used appropriately. It is not a babysitter, and it needs to be very closely monitored. You must make sure you do not fall prey to the "other kids" argument. Your child and their future is your responsibility. You have a very important job to do. Your job is to ensure your child becomes the visualized adult that is......