I guess this is definitely the biggest challenge of parenthood. How to control your child’s time with gadgets. I have seen plenty of kids pretty addicted to gadgets. I mean I even saw a little girl continuing to stare at her i pad in an icecream parlour. She was least interested in what was being ordered for her, just wanted to be left alone to continue what she was playing/seeing.
In the beginning, with my daughter, we decided, absolutely no gadgets at all. So although we owned two laptops, two kindles, two smartphones as well as a Samsung Galaxy tab, we tried to keep her away from everything. We wanted her to interact with the real world and not get lost in the virtual.
I also read a lot of articles which spoke of the need to protect children from too many gadgets. It was supposed to lead to all kinds of repercussions. ONe article even earnestly urged to you to forbid use of any gadgets and get the child out to play, no matter how much she hates you for it. For a little while, I thought that was the way to go.
The problem with that was that what we perceived was virtual, was still a part of her reality. How could we really deny gadgets to her, when we were ourselves so immersed in them. And it was not realistic to expect her to not look at them, since her world is very much about gadgets. It would be unrealistic to expect that she would not pay attention to them.
And so slowly and surely, the tablet became one of the instruments of daily play. And it does have its uses. It does engage her attention for a decent length of time. When you want her to sit quietly when the aircraft takes off or take a breather in a long train journey, the gadgets are useful.
And it is not like Migu is overly addicted to it. Yes, she expects to use it while having her evening fruit, but that is a routine we got used to because it was convenient for both of us. Sometimes when she wants to use it, she pretends she is hungry and wants to eat fruit so that she has a legitimate excuse to use it. And most times, when we tell her to put it away, she does put it away.
I think the problem with gadget addiction is not for the child but for the parent. There are times when she is so bothersome that giving her the tablet seems to be the best way to manage her. And when she has that, then she does not demand attention, which leaves you to do what you want to do. There are days when I have managed to finish a story I was reading or catch up on some other work, after handing over the tablet to her. And I realize I am getting into a bad habit here. Like I said it is not her getting addicted to it, it is me getting used to her getting dependent on it.