More Radio

Yesterday I was contact by the lovely Fiona from ABC Mid North Coast to do another radio interview.

This time the topic was mobiles, computer and TVs in bedrooms of very young children. Recent statistics show children as young as four having their own phones, texting friends and interrupting sleep patterns because of the need to stay connected. ( What the....? ) We also spoke about the difficulties and dangers of kids having unsupervised access to computers and televisions.

I believe that there are no rules when it comes to parenting. What may seem right for one family may be unsuitable for another. Does an eight year old need a mobile phone ? My first thought was "of course not", but I am sure that if my child was in a shared parenting arrangement, for example, then further consideration would be given.

I guess the issue is not so much the phones or the computers/televisions in bedrooms it is the parenting that goes with. Using television/computer games as a babysitter or buying a mobile phone because of a nagging child, or an attempt to keep up with a peer group seems to say more about parenting than about the phone or computer to me.

Personally, I limit access to particular things because I think childhood is sacred! There is plenty of time to grow up and I certainly don't want to hurry the process. I don't want a tv programme (that airs in a 'family' time slot of 7pm) highlighting issues of divorce, drug taking, teen pregnancy, suicide, domestic violence to be seen by my children at this stage. There will be so much exposure to those themes in 'real' life before too much longer for them, that I don't think they need to experience a 'simulated' version of the issues just yet! I will try and hold out a little longer.

Having said that, my strategy is more 'distraction' than anything else. I don't 'ban' things, I just subtly offer alternatives or make other things seem more attractive.

I am sure as my boys get older this will become harder and harder, but for now, I will extend the joys of childhood for as long as possible.


Michelle said...

My 2yr old grandson has a portable DVD player. My daughter lets him watch it in the car(whatever happened to looking out the window?) and in his room before he goes to sleep. He is so over stimulated that it usually takes over an hour for him to fall asleep, and she wonders why!!!
The TV in my daughters house is on about 16hrs a day!
My grandson is addicted to TV, he watches it far too much and even when he is not in the room if you turn it off he has a tantrum.
He has delayed speech which I believe is because of the TV but it is a convenient babysitter so it just stays on!
I would love to say something to her but don't know how to go about it without offending her. The last thing I want is to create a family rift, especially now that she is pregnant with grandson #2.
I have always thought I watched too much TV, sometimes wasting up to 4 hours a day mesmerised by all the pretty colours(lol)but have cut back recently and am planning to eliminate it completely by the end of the year.
Children and even teens with mobile phones is one of my pet hates. It is all about image and has nothing to do with keeping in touch. When my girls were 16 and allowed to go out with there friends my hubby would make them take his phone with them so WE felt safer being able to get in touch with them but it was never used, not once!

libby said...

What a great post and so very true. My 10 year old has use of a phone - when she's going to the shops or for a walk with a friend - to contact me if needed. We have computers downstairs where they can be supervised and no TVs in bedrooms. I know it'll be a battle because my dh doesn't really see this as necessary but I've put down my foot so far. Like you, we'll see what happens when they get older.


Joanne said...

Lovely post. I too try to hold back many things. So far, my boys are with me on many issues, but I know that with the teenage years will come new challenges, including the questioning of parental values.
We've never watched the teen soapies for the reasons that you suggest. Also off the menu are music videos. I love music, including some modern songs but the videos that go with them are just so visually powerful and send out some really mixed messages that. It makes me sad to see little girls gyrating to the sounds of popular songs, not knowing what those movemetnts are meant to simulate. I wonder why more parents aren't worried.
Our computers and telly are in the family room that is where our kids spend most of their time, with the family.

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